By: Tony A. San Juan, OCT
Good news and good tidings. Proudly and honoured, the Filipino Canadian community in Toronto has enviable reason to rejoice with great hope, enthusiasm and expectation regarding the critical decision made by the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the largest Catholic school system in North America, to establish and employ a Filipino Advisory Committee( F.A.C.) with Terms of Reference to meet its goals and mandate.
At a penultimate session of the incumbent Board of Trustees held on October 9, 2014 at the Catholic Education Centre the Trustees, after 3 hours of serious deliberations, gave the green light to the organization of the Advisory Body. This was realized after numerous representations and meetings, initiated and led by TCDSB Ward 8 Trustee Garry Tanuan and the charter officers of Filipino Canadian Parents Association in Catholic Education ( FCPACE) with the school board’s education director, superintendents and senior staff.
FCPACE, organized in November, 2013, played a vital role in reaching this important milestone in the FilCan Catholic community. The current officers are Chair Kit Galema, Vice-chair Marla Tanuan, Secretary Ruth Oliveros, Treasurer Randy Bucao, and Directors Paulina Corpuz, Manny & Gina Lim, Eugene & Jeng Guiyab and Tony San Juan. The members include: Joey Abrenilla, Myrna Alforte, Biel Andrada, Ronnie Dela Gana, Ernie Del Rosario, Susan Llanera, Joel Pine, Cheryll San Juan, Jocelyn San Juan, Helen Soares, Zeny Uy, and Emmanuel Yanga,
In support of the ratification before the historic vote, collective delegations and passionate presentations were made before the Board of Trustees. Among the 7 speakers were Francisco Galema, Christine Manrique and her son, Joshua, Jeffrey Oliveros, Maria Guiao, Liphayette Hilado and Tony San Juan. Those who provided moral support and solid encouragement with their presence were Joey Abrenilla , Manuel Mendoza Ching and Paulina Corpuz , Catholic school trustee candidates for Wards 5 , 9 and 12, respectively. Also in attendance were Benson Corpuz, Tina Galema, Dario Guiao, Gina & Manny Lim, Joseph Manrique and Sonny Paragas.
With almost one student of Filipino heritage out of 5 in all Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Toronto, it was just fitting and proper that the largest Catholic school board in terms of student population, is able to recognize the significance of having an advisory council of Filipino Canadians, contributing and working through purposeful engagements with Catholic parents, students, educators, church & community leaders and other stakeholders in propagating our cherished Catholic faith, values and principles. As well, the new advisory group aims and hopes to participate productively and collaborate professionally with the school board in achieving desirable student success, well-being and performance in Catholic education.(T.San Juan).