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Manitoba honours

Fred De Villa

Fred DeVilla receives the Honour 150 award from Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park

On Saturday, October 30, 2021, members of the Filipino community in Winnipeg gathered at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) to honour one of its own.

On the occasion of the 150th founding anniversary of the province of Manitoba, Honour 150 recognizes 150 people from across the province who stand out for their role in making Manitoba such an amazing province. Fred De Villa is one of them.

Fred De Villa, a long-time volunteer and Filipino community mover received his Manitoba 150 commemorative medal from Cindy Lamoureux, Manitoba MLA for Tyndall Park. He also received $500 which he donated to St. Anthony of Padua Church and the PCCM.

   Fred De Villa
Fred De Villa
  Fred Kevin
Fred De Villa & Kevin Lamoureux, MP Winnipeg North

De Villa emigrated with his young family from the Philippines to Winnipeg in 1977. With his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Far Eastern University (FEU), he landed a marketing and accounting job at Caprice Distributor. A few years later, he joined Sun Life Financial as a financial advisor. In 1993, he merited the company’s “National Quality Award” for maintaining a high level of quality of service. He maintained this successful career at Sun Life until he retired in 2019.

As new immigrants in the late 1970s, he and his family became involved in many community projects, meeting and making lasting friendships with fellow Filipinos who were united in their effort to create a vibrant Filipino community.

During those days, the community was relatively small and many, especially newcomers, did not know how, or did not have the means, to access support agencies that are supposed to be available to everyone in the province.

De Villa, together with his fellow kababayans, initiated many townhall meetings to address various concerns, and lobbied civic and elected officials, thus making the Manitoba government aware of the mounting needs of the growing Filipino community.

In the 1980s, when there was no Internet nor social media to provide the platform for people to sound off their complaints and concerns, De Villa founded the Filipino Council. Its volunteer members met on a weekly basis, bringing to the table the various community issues facing the young Filipino community at that time. With the assistance of the Filipino programs on CKJS radio, De Villa and members of the Filipino Council made the community aware of problems and possible solutions facing immigrant families.

Foremost among his contributions was spearheading the filing of petitions and lobbying for changes and improvements to the immigration law, which resulted in the deferment of the payment of $975 landing fee, also known as “head tax,” for new immigrants. De Villa’s other significant contribution was to facilitate the process by which Philippine trained nurses pass their licensure examination to enable them to practice their profession.

An activist in and for the Filipino community, De Villa is frequently involved in rallying the community to a just cause. His 1998 Human Rights Achievement Award is a powerful testimony that he shares the Province of Manitoba’s seriousness in safeguarding its migrant communities.

Since the 80s, De Villa has worn different hats; President, Chair, founding member of various services and groups; among them, the Pepe and Pilar day care, Mary Poppins (domestic workers), the Filipino Sports Federation, Heritage Week Coordinating Committee, and many other organizations.

In 2004, he was named Outstanding Filipino in Canada. In 2012, De Villa was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. On October 30, 2018, the House of Commons adopted the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month nationwide. On this occasion, MP Kevin Lamoureux and his daughter MLA Cindy Lamoureux led the first Filipino Heritage event, and there, De Villa was presented a certificate and medallion recognizing his valuable contributions to preserving Filipino Canadian heritage.

Recognizing his valuable contribution to the growth of the Filipino community in Winnipeg, Fred was nominated to the Honour 150 by MLA Cindy Lamoureux, lawyer Leo Aniceto and Susan Scott.

Sources: Manitoba 150 and friends of Fred De Villa

Fred de Villa

ni Alfredo C. Ugali

Fred de Villa laging sa gunita
Ang iyong pangalan di na mawawala
Ika’y Pilipino, daming tagahanga
Unang pag-aalsa sa iyo nagmula.

Ito ay nangyari ng meron inapi
Ang bata’y binastos siya’y sinalbahe
At pinagbintangan merong ikinubli
kaya’t hiyang-hiya ang ina ng pobre.

“Ikaw ang idol ko” at tunay na bida
Ang kabutihan mo hanap ng balana
Ipinagtanggol mo ang pobreng kawawa
Na sa kahihiyan laging lumuluha.

lkaw ang idolo ng nakakarami
At ako isa na sa iyong kakampi
May puso kang ginto, mahirap ikubli
Na sana’y matupad, at laging magwagi.

Sa iyo ko nakita na may “pusong ginto’’
Ipinaglalaban lahing Pilipino
Hindi natatakot kahit na “dehado”
Para patunayan “tunay kang katoto!”

Pinagmamalaki kita’t ginagalang
Ang kabutihan mo di matatawaran
Tunay kang katoto at lingkod ng bayan
Maging huwaran ka ngayon at kailan man!