From February 21 to 23, young Filipino-Canadians will converge on Ottawa for a youth-led national leadership conference. Pinoys on Parliament will bring together 200 delegates from coast to coast to coast.
“Pinoys on Parliament was born out of the idea that although Filipinos compose one of the largest minority groups in Canada, they are still widely underrepresented,” said Ira Mamis, Yukon College student and board member of the Canadian Filipino Association of the Yukon.
“As the first national leadership conference for young Filipino-Canadians, the main goal is to bring young people in our community together to talk about the importance of leadership and representation, and how it can further improve our lives in Canada. Pinoys on Parliament believes that there are many emerging leaders in our community and (it believes in) the importance of providing them with the space, the platform and the resources to help them succeed.”
Nine Yukon youth, ranging in age from 16 to 28, will attend Pinoys on Parliament. Mamis said the Filipino population in the Yukon has grown in the last 10 years. Mamis sees Pinoys on Parliament as an opportunity for that population to come together with other aspiring leaders from all over the country to talk about Filipino representation, culture, politics and be in the presence of members of parliament, senators and other aspiring Filipino leaders in Canada.
“Aside from building connections with other delegates and professionals from other provinces and territories, participants will also have the opportunity to explore landmarks in Ottawa as well as engage with the Filipino community in the city.”
The Yukoners attending the conference are Mamis, Irelle Mamis, Genard Hermosa, Mel Moya, Andrie Regis, Tatiana Cabiso, Jealyn Minguito, Hanz Alojipan and Jamvee Madrigal. Irelle Mamis is a 16-year-old student at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
“I see this event as a wonderful opportunity for our youth to share our ideas and have discussions about how we can contribute to Canada while preserving our identity and unique cultural heritage. Hopefully, after this conference, we can inspire other youth to join as well.”
Moya, an athlete in the Canadian- Filipino Association, saw Pinoys on Parliament as an opportunity to meet others in the Filipino community and to be able to travel to Canada’s capital.
Regis, 19, is excited to meet and mingle with other young Filipinos who have the same interests, passions and backgrounds.
“I can’t wait to share and hear everyone’s experiences and stories and the friendships that will form from this conference,” he said.
Cabiso, a 19-year-old who plans to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing, said she didn’t hear much about events like this when she was growing up.
“This is a great opportunity for Filipinos from the North, to share our ideas and opinions that could potentially help improve our lives here in Canada. I’m also very excited to meet my fellow Filipinos, build friendships and learn more about Filipino representations, culture, and politics. As I take part in Pinoys on Parliament, I am looking forward to engaging with the other participants and (being) in an environment where I can learn things that will shape me as an individual and in my future career.”
Minguito, who is in grade 12 at F.H. Collins Secondary School, sees Pinoys on Parliament as an opportunity to acquire new knowledge about the importance of leadership.
“I am looking forward to learning new ideas from the leaders and speakers, and also to be inspired by them during the conference,” she said. “I also can’t wait to try beavertails while in Ottawa!”
Hanz Alojipan came to Canada in January 2019. He goes to Vanier Catholic Secondary School, where he’s in grade 11.
“This is also my first time meeting Filipinos from different parts of Canada and I can’t wait to build relationships and friendships from across the country,” he said. “By the end of the conference, I hope we can inspire other young immigrants to build relationships with one another and participate in opportunities like Pinoys on Parliament.”
Madrigal, another Vanier student in grade 11, also looks forward to meeting new people from across the country and inspiring one another.
The Canadian Filipino Association of the Yukon will be hosting a Valentine’s Day Dance on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Days Inn (2288 2nd Ave, Whitehorse). This event will be hosted by the youth of Pinoys on Parliament and will serve as a fundraising opportunity for the conference. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Ira Mamis at (867) 334-8026, or Alren Barredo, (867) 334-0718.