By Alex P. Vidal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Filipino community should rally behind 2012 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards qualifier Narima Dela Cruz of Surrey, British Columbia by voting on line at http://canadianimmigrant.ca/canadas-top-25-immigrants/canadas-top-25-immigrants-2012/vote?n=52.
This was the appeal made recently by Nemecio “Mang Nhemy” Cepeda, Sr., longest-serving former president of the Filipino Zodiac Circle of British Columbia and one of the most respected senior leaders in the Filipino-Canadian community here.
“A vote for Narima Dela Cruz is a vote for the whole Filipino community,” declared the 69-year-old Cepeda, who also lives in Surrey.
Cepeda said he was not surprised when he learned that Dela Cruz, president and founding director of the Surrey Philippine Independence Society (SPIDS), has been chosen to be one of the 75 finalists among a selection of 300+ people.
“She is a very competent and brave woman and we need a leader like her,” said Cepeda, who has started campaigning for Dela Cruz in his organization. “I have been following Mrs. Dela Cruz’s philanthropic activities in the SPIDS and I can safely say that she is a quick thinker and a result-oriented person.”
He said if Filipinos in the whole community will unite, Dela Cruz will make it to top 25 “not only because of our large population here in British Columbia, but because she really is very qualified and somebody who possesses a true leadership.”
The prestige of the award is an honor to the entire Filipino community, added Cepeda who emphasized that “by being in the top 75 all over Canada, Dela Cruz is already a winner.”
Cepeda’s call came in the heels of announcement made by the president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, an association of 10,000 professionals, that they would bestow on Dela Cruz the prestigious Realtors Care Award in honor of her charitable works and community involvement in 2011.
“I share this one to my SPIDS family and supporters who supported us with the ‘Sendong’ fundraiser, to the number of students who benefit from the PAC Scholarship Comm. which we head for four years now, and to the new migrants of different community service-oriented associations in Surrey where I have been volunteer in the last years,” Dela Cruz wrote in her Facebook account.
The Top 25 Canadian Immigrants is a people’s choice award that recognizes people who have come to Canada and have made a positive difference living here.
Those who have made a particular or significant impact in 2011, as related to their achievements and contributions will be specifically considered to become shortlisted as finalists, it was learned.
Among their prominent past awardees include two former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarksen and Michaelle Jean.
There have been four winners in the past from Surrey, which include Dela Cruz’s Facebook friend, Charan Gill, founder of PICS; 19 past winners from BC which include former Premier Ujjal Dosanjh and her another Facebook friend, Naeem Nick Noorani.