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Kevin Lamoureux in Pampanga

For those that read the last issue of the Pilipino Express, I am sure you could tell that I enjoyed my stay in Guimba where I had a great time in the countryside. From Guimba we went to San Fernando because Victor Ramos of Winnipeg visited my office a while back and left a message with my staff saying that the next time I am in the Philippines that I should go to Pampanga. When we visit a community we try to find local contacts prior to me making a commitment to go. Victor played a critical role in making Pampanga a valuable experience. I met Victor’s good friend Congressman Agapito Guanlao for supper on Oct 10 where we enjoyed some good food and, more important, we were able to establish a relationship between the two of us that really contributed to how we were able to do a few things together in San Fernando.

Our first stop after waking up the following day was to radio station 95.1 FM where we were interviewed by a colourful and influential radio personality in Pampanga. Many readers of the Pilipino Express will know his son Chester Pangan from Good Morning Philippines on CKJS. The Congressman, my wife, Henry and Linda Celones and I were all invited into the radio booth and we all participated on live radio. We dealt with the purpose of my trip with humour and talked about the relationship between Canada and Philippines.

After the radio program, we went to San Matias Elementary School, in San Fernando where, along with the Congressman, we presented some school supplies and a large bag of rice to about 150 children. Due to the last flood in Pampanga, we had a few people who made small donations at my office, as they knew I was going to be in San Fernando. We even had one person who gave $100. The donations totalled just under $500 and with some help from Congressman Agapito Guanlao we were able to do what we did.

I explained to the children and teachers that there are people around the world who used to live in Pampanga, in places like Winnipeg, Canada, and that they should know that when things like floods occur, these people care. I was just providing a little something for them on behalf of those people, just as a token of caring.

From the schoolyard we went to the provincial Capital building where a wonderful band welcomed us as we walked into to meet with Governor Pineda. We had a wonderful talk about a few issues then I was asked to address a group of Mayors whom she had invited to attend. From the meeting she hosted a large buffet lunch in the Capital building where I had the opportunity to meet with members of the media.

The immigration workshop followed the lunch and it was well attended with just over 300 people. I thank the Governor and Congressman for allowing us to use the capital facility; it was a large comfortable room with a good sound system. People attending the workshops paid nothing and were provided a paper brief, a presentation on temporary visas and permanent visas with a special focus on Manitoba’s Nominee Program followed by a question and answer session.

During the Q&A, everyone was provided the opportunity to raise their individual cases with either me, Henry or Linda on a one-on-one basis. After the workshop we stayed at the Capital building for about 30 minutes just to express our appreciation and take a few pictures outside before it was time to drive to our hotel in Pasig. In total we conducted four workshops. Our travel and agenda was based on the locations of the workshops that were determined by people in Winnipeg.

Kevin Lamoureux is the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North.