2023 March 14
In an extraordinary collective demonstration and grateful expression of support, admiration, and love to the Philippine Consul General Orontes V. Castro, 8 Filipino- Canadian professionals associations in Ontario jointly held a despedida party for the genial and kind Filipino diplomat. The event was organized in honour of the departing Consul General who completed his posting after 3 1/2 years heading the Philippine diplomatic service in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is getting another foreign service assignment.
The goodbye event was held at Improve Canada in Vaughan, Ontario on March 11, 2023. With more than 70 guests, professional association heads, and community leaders in attendance, the evening program, ably hosted by Architect Ronaldo Pompa started with the singing of the Canadian and Philippine national anthems, as well as the reading of the Land Acknowledgment. Accountant Sonny Martinez, one of the event’s chief organizers, made the opening remarks and was followed by several speakers and leaders coming from the 7 different Filipino professional associations.
Represented by their respective presidents at the party, the following organizations who participated are the 1) Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants( AFCA), 2) Association of Filipino Canadian Engineers( AFCE), 3) Filipino Construction Professionals of Ontario(FilConPro), 4) Integrated Filipino Canadian Nurses Association( IFCNA), 5) Philippine Teachers Association of Canada(PTAC), 6) Society of Physiotherapists with Foreign Credentials (SPFC), 7) United Architects of the Philippine-Ontario Chapter( UAP) and 8) Peace Officers Living in Canada Integrated Association (Policia). Special guests were Joe Shokour and James Rice of IBT College-Toronto.
Among those who lauded and gave their words of appreciation and “be seeing you again”, sa muling pagkikita-kita, to ConGen O. Castro were PEng. Gil Galang of AFCE; CPA-CGA Sonny Z. Martinez of AFCA; P.Eng. Richard Sison of FilConPro; RN Jennifer Alog Lopez of IFCNA; OCT Cielito Drapeza of PTAC; Jacqueline Rotela of SPFC; and Ana Aclo of UAP.
In his response, ConGen O. Castro was grateful for the honour bestowed on him. He expressed that he was truly happy and proud to have encouraged and assisted in “planting the seeds” for a united organization of professionals “looking in and looking out”, thus helping out their fellow kababayansget into the foreign credential recognition journey to be able to practice their professions and careers in the province. Rightly, those present are in full agreement that the initiative put forward by the ConGen was definitely a great accomplishment leading to the historic first convention last year of “Integrating Filipino Professionals in Canada”, a productive step forward in “elevating the profile of Filipinos”, indeed.
ConGen Castro received tokens of appreciation and gifts from the various professional organizations handed out by their respective Presidents and executive officers. The highlight of the gathering was the presentation of a “Plaque of Appreciation” and a goodbye cake to the ConGen for his valuable contribution and steadfast support & encouragement to the Filipino-Canadian officers and members of the organizations of internationally-educated professionals.
it was certainly a memorable evening of paalam & praises, shared laughter & emotion, professional networking, and fellowship, combined with group dance performances, line dancing, and fine foods.
Tony A. San Juan, OCT