Another year has gone and a new one is here with promises of good things -- the election is coming up in
the Philippines, so those with dual nationalities and who were able to register to vote by the deadline will be able to flex
their voter muscle and help in choosing the country’s leaders. Or if they are so inclined, they could even run for office
provided they could spend time there (and have the money!) to run a campaign effectively. Of course, since we are all living
in Britain now, take note of the possibility that there might be a general election again this year as Prime Minister Tony
Blair passes the heavy mantle of power to another Labourite, possibly Gordon Brown, who is being increasingly challenged by
the Tories to obtain the people’s mandate should he assume the premiership. This provides an excellent opportunity for
British-Filipinos to exercise their right to vote and get our voices heard. If you are already a British citizen, then please
ensure that you are registered to vote by contacting your local Council. Let us emulate the examples of Filipino-Americans
where elected kababayans now abound and make a difference, as well as our kababayans in Belgium and Italy where
they have also recently started breaking the glass ceilings and getting elected into office. Let us show the British that
we are a force to be reckoned with, not just in music and theatre, but in politics and other spheres and that they cannot
ignore our wishes.
Talking of music, theatre and other spheres, 2006 was a landmark for Filipinos in the UK in terms of raising our profile.
We are proud to see Mutya Buena going into a solo singing career after leaving Sugababes. We watched Mylene Klass as she wowed
audiences in ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of here’ and as she continues with her soaring career first as
a popstar, then a classical pianist and TV presenter. Mon David won the International Jazz Competition against intense international
competition in London. Junix Inocian won the Theatre Management Awards Best Performance in a Musical for his role in ‘Pacific
Overtures’, meanwhile continuing with film and brief roles in pop videos and comedy sketches. Efren ‘Bata’
Reyes won yet again the world pools title in Wales against world-class players. Friday Camaclang has just joined a Brighton
professional women’s football team and is the first Filipina to do so. And then we were just in awe as Natalie Grace
Chua, at 13, got signed up by Simon Cowell, the dread judge of American Idol and British X-Factor, and is now part of a new
pop band, Angelis, with an album of the same name. These of course are just in the UK; outside in the wider world there are
other Filipino champions such as Manny Pacquiao in boxing. All of them make us proud as Filipinos, as overseas Filipinos particularly
since these individuals are breaking the mould and demonstrating that we can compete with the very best globally and win.
They have raised the bars for all of us, and we look forward to more achievements in the next twelve months.
Gene Alcantara, Editor