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Medisina at Politika by Dr. Rey Pagtakhan  

Paul Ong: aspiring MP for Winnipeg Centre

No ordinary Filipino Canadian

By Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan

  Paul Ong
Paul Ong

Canada’s Parliament could soon have a schoolteacher, vice-principal, classical singer, and youth advocate all in one package with Filipino Canadian Paul Ong running among the candidates for Winnipeg Centre in the federal election September 20. Should voters choose him, Winnipeggers would be sending their second Canadian Filipino MP to Ottawa. And he is no ordinary aspiring politician.

Already, Paul Ong has identified many of the unmet social and economic needs of residents – youth, seniors, minorities and people in challenging situations – in Winnipeg Centre. He has thoughtfully considered programs for solutions: creative job opportunities, responsive live-in caregiver/family reunification, affordable housing, truth and reconciliation dialogue with First Nations, increased mental health resources, and fair accreditation of foreign credentials.

Credible background, credentials, and experience

  • School vice-principal, community singer and youth advocate with a passion for sustainable community wellbeing
  • Shares a common newcomers’ dream – he immigrated with his parents and siblings in 2010 from Manila to seek a bright future in Manitoba
  • Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education Psychology with honours (magna cum laude) from De La Salle University in Manila and earned a Masters in Education for Sustainable Wellbeing from the University of Manitoba
  • Taught in Red Sucker Lake and Manitoba First Nations, and at General Wolfe School in Winnipeg
  • Served until recently as Vice Principal at Garden Grove School in Winnipeg
  • Represented Canada at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles (2015) and at the Watercube Cup in Beijing (2017)
  • Has applied his gift of music as a platform to give back to the community with his annual Concert for a Cause, involving youth from inner city to perform
  • Has raised over $70,000 since its beginning in 2015 for the following as beneficiaries: Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation, Siloam Mission, Military Family Resource Centre, Children’s Heritage Fund Hands of Hope, and Sistema Winnipeg, a partnership program between the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Seven Oaks and the Winnipeg School Division. It delivers daily, intensive, after-school music lessons for children in Winnipeg’s North End

Aims high and works hard

“I always hope for the best and try to achieve it. I also hope that I will learn new things and meet new people from the experience,” says Paul Ong. “There are two things that make me confident when performing: 1. the thought that I have prepared well for it; and 2. that I have done all I can to ensure I am giving my best.”

Winnipeg’s Filipino Canadian community has had an interesting history of their members running for elective positions with a fair dose of success at all four levels of government. Several of them went on to hold positions such as school board chairs, a deputy mayor, and cabinet ministers in the provincial and federal governments. Indeed, Winnipeg is the only Canadian city to date that carries this political distinction.

Would the city once more be the first to elect and send to Ottawa her second Canadian Filipino? While MPs have the sworn duty to speak for all the residents in the constituency and beyond, an MP elected from the Filipino Canadian community would further enrich the diversity of insights and viewpoints in parliament and ensure they are considered by both the federal government and the Parliament of Canada in decision-making.

Energetic, talented and with a passion for sustainable community wellbeing, 32-year-old Paul Ong would predictably serve well as Winnipeg Centre’s MP in Canada’s Parliament.

Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan, P.C., O.M., LL.D., Sc.D., M.D. M.Sc. is a retired lung specialist and professor of pediatrics, and a former Member of Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, and cabinet minister. He graduated from the University of the Philippines, did postgraduate training, first at the Pediatric Department of the Philippine General Hospital in Manila and later at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital of Washington University and Winnipeg Children’s Hospital of the University of Manitoba, and spent a sabbatical year as Visiting Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

  • Authorized by the Official Agent for Paul Ong
Paul Ong with his parents and siblings
Student council at General Wolfe School when Paul was a teacher adviser
Paul Ong at his annual Concert for a Cause in November 2019 in Winnipeg. The event raised $25,000 for Sistema Winnipeg. Photo by Mark Godilano

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