For the first time in the largest province of Canada, Ontario has six candidates from the Filipino Canadian communities who won civic seats during the provincial elections on October 24, 2022. It is quite a political record, indeed.
Six out of 11 Filipino Canadians in the winning circle are from different ridings in the Greater Toronto Area( GTA), They are Herman Viloria, Alvin Tedjo, Rowena Santos, Liza Abarquez -Bower, Garry Tanuan, and Luz Del Rosario. Viloria and Tedjo won their posts for the first time as School Trustee and City Councillor, respectively, while Councillors Santos & Bower, and Trustees Tanuan & Del Rosario are reelection winners. ( 5 other Filipino Canadians, namely Councillor candidates Grant Gonzales- Toronto-Davenport, Kristian Santos- Etobicoke North, Erlinda Insigne- Vaughan & Ramon Estaris- Ajax, and Elvira Caputolan, Toronto mayoral candidate, ran unsuccessfully.)
Herman Viloria. A long-serving Catholic high school principal and educational leader in Mississauga and Brampton won the election as Separate School Trustee for Wards 2 & 8 of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board (DPCDSB). An educator by training and profession, Herman Viloria has been in the classroom and administration for 37 years having served for 7 years as Teacher and Department Head and for thirty years as high school Vice-principal or Principal at DPCDSB. His community work included being 1) an active member and eucharistic minister, since 1986, 2) a 4th-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and 3) a speaker and resource person at teacher forums. In a statement, Viloria said: “Many challenges face the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board I wish to bring to the Board of Trustees a current and fresh perspective from someone who has been in the classroom and administration for 37 years interacting with stakeholders, schools, and communities.”
Alvin Tedjo is the new City of Mississauga Councillor for Ward 2. A lifelong resident of Mississauga with his wife, Rebecca and three children, he has spent his career as a champion for education, the environment, and better government services. He is currently the Director of Strategy and Communications at Toronto Metropolitan University, has previously worked for municipal and provincial governments, and as the Director of Government and Community Relations at Sheridan College, he chaired the Policy and Government Relations Committee on the Mississauga Board of Trade. Alvin served on the Board of the Sheridan Homelands Ratepayers Association, and the Board of Young Professionals for the Trillium Health Partners Foundation. He is a frequent political commentator on CP24, CTV, CBC, and Global News. Alvin completed his graduate studies at Harvard University and his undergraduate at Queen’s University. “I have always been an advocate for communities, affordability, and families during my career and I know I can put my experience and passion for public service to work for my neighbours here in Ward 2, Tedjo promised..”
Garry Tanuan is the longest-serving Filipino- Canadian Trustee at the Toronto Catholic School Board(TCDSB), Canada’s largest Catholic
school district. Garry was first elected as Trustee for Ward 8 in the 2012 by-election and has been reelected twice in 2014 & 2018, and again this year 2022. He has served and serving in various capacities as Chairman, Vice-chair, or Member of the Catholic school board’s several important committees. He helped formed the TCDSB Filipino Advisory Committee, and currently is the Chairman of the Special Board Advisory on Race Relations Committee. Garry Tanuan, an electrical engineer by training and profession, is continuously advocating for effective diversity, inclusion, and equity policies, and practices in the School Board. Ward 8 includes 20 Catholic elementary and two high schools in Scarborough, Toronto.
Luz Del Rosario was reelected as Trustee for Wards 6 & 11 in the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board. Luz was elected Vice Chairman of DPCDSB in 2020, the first Filipino woman to serve as Vice-chair of DPCDSB, one of Canada’s largest Catholic school boards. She is a Certified Human Resource Professional( CHRP) and has completed a Bachelor in Commerce degree from the Philippines. First elected in 2006, elected again in 2014, and reelected in 2018, Luz Del Rosario will be serving her 4th term as Trustee for Wards 6 & 11 in the City of Mississauga. “We have more work to do to ensure our children receive a high quality of education” Del Rosario pledged.
Rowena Santos is the first Filipino woman City Councillor of Brampton in the Peel Region. A proud Bramptonian, Santos was first elected in 2018 to the City Council for Wards 1 & 5 and is one of few women on Brampton Council. Rowena holds an H.B.B.A. degree from the Schulich School of Business, and a Master’s in Sustainable Development and Environmental Planning from the London School of Economics. Rowena was born to Filipino parents and raised in Brampton. She is mom to her son Lennon and adopted dog, Stanley. She worked hard and was re-elected Rowena said: “She ran to continue serving her constituents and Brampton for a brighter future.”
Lisa Bower, the first woman Councillor of Filipino heritage in the Municipality of Ajax, a suburb of Toronto, was reelected for the first time.. Lisa was first elected in 2018 representing Ward 3 in the Town of Ajax. She was born in Ajax and is a single mother of 2. As a member of Ajax Council, Lisa established the Ajax Homelessness Task Force which continues its work today through Community Development Council Durham. Lisa has also served on the Ajax Heritage Advisory Committee, Ajax Accessibility Advisory Committee, Downtown Ajax BIA, and Ajax Pickering Road Watch Committee. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences as Ward 3’s Local Councillor for over 4 years. I could not have done it without your support and I am happy to for my re-election “, Bower said.
Historically, in Ontario, at the municipal, provincial, and Federal levels, the recent records of Filipino Canadian political candidates showed “not-so-encouraging” performances, except for last month’s election results. Pinoys and Pinays in the province are hoping and praying that with determined unanimity and collectively, future elections would result differently, that is, making expected successful inroads and electing more Ontario Filipinos into political service and community representation.