UPAAT leads Filipino Citizenship oath taking
TORONTO–With one long serious sentence , and the raising of the right hand, 36 Filipino Canadians reclaimed their Philippine citizenship in what Ambassador Leslie Gatan named the largest group he has sworn in at the solemn ceremony that made them dual citizens of the Philippine homeland and Canada.
The event, sponsored by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association Toronto and the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto, was held during the UPAAT fellowship “Kapihan” at the Kalayaan Cultural Community Centre in Mississauga last October 12, 2013.
In the past, Filipino nationals who acquired Canadian citizenship were not allowed to re-acquire Philippine passports and lost many of the privileges incumbent on Philippine citizens. Recent laws changed this and thousands of Filipino nationals with Canadian citizenship have retrieved their Philippine birthright when two countries agreed to grant dual citizenship.
While conversations among newly-sworn in dual citizens are tinged with humor and light banters , the topic of citizenship has always been a deep emotional issue due to nationalistic , heritage, tradition, culture and family ties. Thus, the heart skips a few beats specially at the part of the Oath of Allegiance which declares ”…. I will maintain true faith and allegiance (to the Philippines) ….. and impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”
Of the 36 newly-sworn dual citizens, 17 are UPians and the rest are family members and friends. Several UPian family members took the oath together, like husband and wife UPAAT president Fred and Diana Gamboa, former UPAAT president Joe and Lita Zagala, lawyer Red Liboro, wife Lita and daughter Rosalie Liboro ; Alice and Romy Herrera; Mary Ann and Dennis Morales and their two sons; Romi and Necie MananQuil, Oswald and Mila Magno; Nemesio and Susan Villanueva; Minda Mendoza and Diego Linan, and others like Terry Chua, Marissa Fortuno, Marie Rosali, Doreen Cortez, among others.
In a separate interview, UPAAT president Fred Gamboa stated that the Board (also called Council) has a plan to hook up with as many Canadian- and US –based UP alumni associations to form a North American-wide UP alumni umbrella. Thus there will be concerted efforts to hold periodic conventions, plan fundraising, and in bringing in the UP president for a visit, and other activities.
President Gamboa said some of the scheduled activities at UPAAT are the Christmas Party on Dec. 6, 2013, the annual Career Development Seminar on March 22 and 23, 2014, and the Tee UP high golf tournament on June 22, 1014.