Valdez, Zahid pay tribute to Paulina Corpuz at House of Commons
By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez
Women Members of Parliament paid tributes in the House of Commons to Filipina community leader Paulina Jocelyn Balisi Corpuz, who passed away recently.
Rechie Valdez, MP-Missisauga-Streetsville, Ontario, called her “an inspiration to all of us, leaving a legacy behind in the community.”
Valdez, the first Filipino woman elected as a Member of Parliament in Canada, also enumerated some of Corpuz’s accomplishments.
“Paulina arrived in Canada in 1993 and was a champion for advancing community causes. She co-founded Philippine Advancement through Arts and Culture (PATAC) and worked with many organizations, like the Filipino Workers Network and the Canadian Cancer Society,” Valdez said in her message.
“Paula is best known for her advocacy to have the City of Toronto recognize the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month. Her work and efforts at the city level paved the way for provincial and federal legislative bodies to follow suit,” she added.
Corpuz passed away at Toronto’s Sunny Brooke Hospital last November 6. She was 59.
Fellow community leaders in Toronto described her death as a “big loss to the community” and a “loss of a champion for local arts and the Filipino community.”
Salma Zahid, MP-Scarborough Centre, Ontario, who said she was paying tribute to “a pillar of Toronto’s Filipino community and a friend,” remembered Corpuz as someone who had “the goal to inspire the younger generation to get involved in public life and public service.”
“For Paulina, she was undeniably successful in this goal, and her legacy will live on,” she said in her message at the House of Commons.
Aside from co-founding PATAC that would help fund cultural initiatives that would benefit Filipinos, particularly the youth, she co-hosted a TV Migrante Canada program that focused on local and Philippine national issues and beyond which was able to reach out to viewers all across Canada.
A native of Isabela, Corpuz came to Canada to follow her husband in 1993 and worked in various non-profit orgzanizations. She had a Psychology degree from the University of the Philippines and continued studying and learning in Canada obtaining certificates in Business Analysis and Change Management, Internet Marketing, E-business and Web Marketing, Life Skills Coaching, and Non-Profit Sector Management among others.
She is survived by husband, Ben, and their children Belinda, Isabella, and Benson.