Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger receives an enthusiastic welcome from students of Antonio J. Villegas Vocational School in Tondo, Manila, September 21. The Canadian delegation donated medical and dental equipment for the school’s clinic and sporting goods from the people of Manitoba. The visit was part of a Manitoba’s Asia Pacific trade mission that also included stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong

MANITOBA – Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was in Manila for two days on September 21 & 22. The visit was part of Manitoba’s 11-day trade mission to China and the Philippines, which included stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as Manila, and involved more than 60 meetings with government, business and educational leaders
in China alone.

Premier Selinger and Manitoba Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee led the trade delegation that included Culture, Heritage & Tourism Minister Flor Marcelino, Maples MLA Mohinder Saran and about 40 individuals representing nearly 30 companies and organizations.

While in Manila, Selinger signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Philippine Department of Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to continue a partnership that connects Filipino workers with potential employers and streamlines the immigration process to Manitoba.

“Our governments have worked together over the past two and a half years to make it easier and safer for skilled Filipino workers to find jobs and settle in Manitoba and we look forward to continuing this important partnership,” the premier said. “We also want to find opportunities and activities to give back to the Philippines including in the areas of health and education.”

The MOU identifies shared priorities and provides a framework for recruitment and migration of temporary foreign workers that is consistent with labour laws in the Philippines and Manitoba’s Worker Recruitment and Protection Act. Highlights include quicker processing of applications and improved training opportunities in the Philippines to meet the requirements and standards for entry into Manitoba occupations.

A pilot initiative under the initial MOU involving Manitoba Labour and Immigration and Manitoba Health partnered with the Assiniboine, Parklands, Brandon and Central regional health authorities (RHAs) and the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba to recruit registered nurses from the Philippines. In total, 122 nurses came to Manitoba and, to date, 119 have passed the Canadian registered nursing exam. A total of 97 nurses applied under the Provincial Nominee Program to become permanent Manitoba residents and all of those processed under the program have been accepted.

“Regional health authorities have told us hiring these Filipino nurses has improved morale and ensured services could be continued,” Selinger said. “The RHAs have noted the nurses are integrating very well into their new communities and we are anticipating continued success with future recruitment efforts.”

Filipino newcomers accounted for 32% of Manitoba’s total immigration in 2009.

Among the premier’s other stops in Manila was a visit to Antonio J. Villegas Vocational School in Tondo, Manila on September 21 where the Canadian delegation donated medical and dental equipment for the school’s clinic and sporting goods from the people of Manitoba.

Selinger also met with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and took part in ceremonies honouring the national hero, Jose Rizal and Canadian veterans of the war in the Pacific.

Minister Flor Marcelino also made side trips to Cebu City, Danao City and Toledo City, Cebu to meet with various official about, culture, heritage and tourism and trade.

Philippine Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger sign memorandum of understanding, which outlines ethical labour and immigration recruitment practices as well as protection for migrant workers in Manitoba
L-r: Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Canadian Ambassador Christopher Thornley and Premier Greg Selinger at ceremony honouring Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal at Rizal Park, Manila
Manitoba delegation displaying their souvenir salakots, (l-r) An AJVHS teacher; Mrs. Thelma Landicho, AJVHS principal; Baby Villegas, daughter of the late Manila Mayor Antonio J. Villegas and staff member of Mayor Lim; Canadian Ambassador Christopher Thornley, Manitoba Minister for Culture, Heritage & Tourism Flor Marcelino, Premier Greg Selinger, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Maples MLA Mohinder Saran, and Dr. Ponciano Menguito, Superintendent, Division of City Schools. Photos by Rey Mondez

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