Filipinos in Politics?

You know what they say about buses…well, you wait years for a Filipino to give us a voice in the political sphere and two come along with a month to go!

The two names are Steven Cheung and Gene Alcantara and they are running as prospective London candidates for the upcoming European wide elections to elect members for the European Parliament. Both are running as independents in what could potentially be the biggest trans-national election in history! If everybody registers there will be up to 500m voters in 27 countries choosing their representatives.

Find out more about the European Elections and what it means for you – HERE

To many in the Filipino community in London, Gene is a familiar face. A veteran of many Filipino community groups and projects, he has reported and acted as a correspondent for TFC and ABS-CBN’s Balitang Europe. He also ran for Westminster council in 1998 and for Parliament in 2005. He only lost in 1998 by just 200+ votes and again in 2005 due to ineligible voters (several thousand Filipinos voted only to be told their vote did not count as they had not previously registered-ramming home the importance of registering to vote). Gene has been in London since 1981 and has spent 21 years working for the British Council, promoting British culture and education overseas, and more recently as a fully accredited immigration adviser, he has even lived in Poland for 4 years!

Visit Gene’s website – HERE

Above is an image of Gene (on the left) at the Philippine Embassy, London, courtesy of www.genealcantara.com/

Steven Cheung, a 19 year old British Chinese Filipino, on the other hand, has only been in London since 2002, but he has been busy! At 15 he was elected as an Olympic Ambassador, at 16 he joined Young Advisers (a charity with young representatives that show community leaders and decision makers how to engage with young people in community life, regeneration and renewal), at 18 he became a radio presenter for Spectrum radio and CY (Chinese Youth) Radio. Six months ago, he joined the BC project, which aims to integrate British Chinese into politics and in March this year he became the first Chinese person to be awarded the Princess Diana Award for his work in the community.

Visit Steven’s website – HERE

Below is an image of Steven in China Town, London, courtesy of www.stevencheung.com/

Although they are both running as independents, the difference between the two are quite big, Gene was born in Philippines and is undoubtedly a proud and active Filipino, Steven was born in Hong Kong and has done much of his campaigning in the Chinese community, even his Twitter posts are Chinese! Gene is a seasoned Londoner whose experience in the Filipino community and as an immigration adviser, mean he has a unique insight and agenda to provide a voice for migrant workers and their families in London. Thus transcending the Filipino community and encompassing those from Poland and Eastern Europe and also those in London from other countries such as those from Western Europe, Asia and South America. Steven is an accomplished and obviously confident young man whose aim to be the youngest ever member of the European Parliament serves as an inspiration to young people everywhere.

Ultimately the choice rests upon our shoulders and whether you decide to vote for either of these Filipinos or one of the established parties the important thing is that you must register to vote or you will not get a say at all. We all talk about how things need to change, we all tell each other what the problems are, we all like to say what we would do if we had a say. Well we do, it is through the democratic process. Only through voting for what we actually want and for whom we actually want representing our views can real change happen. Had America not voted in so many numbers with so many new voters and newly registered voters, then they would not have their first black President.

Register to vote in the European Elections – HERE

Likewise, instead of moaning about the many problems the Philippines has, whether it is your distrust of the current administration, whether it is the ongoing corruption irrespective of the administration or even the perceived lack of investment or development within the country, why not register to vote for the next President of the Philippines. Otherwise, your vision of change and hope for the country will never materialise.

Register to vote in the Philippine Presidential Elections – HERE

By Adrian Williams

You may also join our group discussion on PG Facebook group:

Filipinos in EU Politics?…. Have you registered and are you ready to vote? Who will you support? Join the discussion on our group page & have your say! … http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=4753052555&topic=9418


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