Welcome New Canadians

80 take citizenship oath

Magtangol Ricarte

WINNIPEG – “It feels good to be a Canadian citizen,” said Magtangol Ricarte, echoing the sentiments of 80 new Canadians from 31 nations who took the oath of citizenship at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) on July 9.

 Sicat Family
 Gene Sicat & family, proud new Canadian citizens
 Santiago Family
 Mamerto Santiago and family
It’s overwhelming for us because we have been waiting for this for the last four years,” said Ricarte who came to Winnipeg in April 2005, followed three months later by his wife Maria Gracia and children Miguel Alejandro, Isabela Therese, Bea Dominique and Raphael Carlos.

I can vote… so I know I could contribute… to help the community. This is my home now and I have to protect my home.”

The desire to serve the community seems to run in the Ricarte family. Magtangol is the great-grandson of “El Vibora” (the Viper), General Artemio Ricarte, one of the top military leaders during the revolutionary war against Spain and later against the United States at the turn of the 20th century.

Aside from its community aspect, citizenship has its practical side, too. “We didn’t think we needed to get our citizenship,” said Gene Sicat, “but now we can get our passports and cross the border if we want to.”

Citizenship Court Judge Harold Gilleshammer said he appreciated the efforts of the new Canadians to adapt to their new home, and in many cases, to learn a new language, and he emphasized that along with their new rights came the responsibilities of citizenship.

All three levels of government congratulated the new citizens with greetings from MP for Winnipeg South, Rod Bruinooge; MLA for Wellington, Flor Marcelino, speaking on behalf of Manitoba Minister for Labour & Immigration, Nancy Allen and; Councillor Mike Pagtakhan of Winnipeg’s Point Douglas Ward.

PCCM President Rod Cantiveros also extended greetings to the oath-takers and former president of the Philippine Association of Manitoba, Virginia Guiang read a message from Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Jose Brillantes.

The ceremony wrapped up with entertainment from local singer, Moises Duot, a martial arts demonstration from Winnipeg Sikaran Arnis Academy and the singing of O Canada in both official languages led by Mimoza Duot – and, of course, delicious Filipino food from friends and sponsors of the PCCM.

Judge Harold GilleshammerMimoza DuotMoises Duot
Judge Harold GilleshammerMimoza DuotMoises Duot

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