Premier Christy Clark issues statement in advance of Philippine Independence Day

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      Premier Christy Clark's office issued the following statement to mark a major holiday in the Philippines.

      "This weekend, Filipinos throughout British Columbia will be celebrating the 118th anniversary of Philippine independence.

      "We are fortunate to have so many Filipinos who chose to make B.C. their home. Our communities are richer and more dynamic because of them.

      "Last month I had the honour of visiting the Philippines, where we opened a B.C. Trade and Investment Office in Manila. It was an opportunity to build on our strong cultural ties and grow deeper economic links across the Pacific.

      "I wish everyone celebrating Philippine Independence Day a joyous weekend."

      The Philippines is comprised of more than 7,000 islands and has a population of more than 100 million.

      In 1898, revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo declared its independence from Spain, effective June 12 of that year. It was ratified by 190 municipal leaders in provinces controlled by revolutionary forces.

      However, the United States and Spain refused to recognize this declaration and Spain ceded control of the islands to America in the 1898 Treaty of Paris following the Spanish-American War.

      The Philippines finally secured independence 48 years later after the conclusion of the Second World War. At the time, the Americans ensured that the Philippines independence day fell on July 4, which matched that of the United States.

      It wasn't until 1962 that Philippines president Diostado Macapagal ordered that June 12 become a national public holiday.

      The 2011 Canadian census reported that there were 664,000 people of Philippine ancestry in Canada, including 94,000 in Metro Vancouver. The only person of Philippine descent to be elected to the B.C. legislature is Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA Mable Elmore.

      The former transit operator and union activist was first elected in 2009 and was reelected in 2013.

      NDP MLA Mable Elmore (left) has been advocated for migrant workers and live-in caregivers, including Hessed Torres (right).
      Charlie Smith