As a migrant myself, I am proud to have met the 5 Independent MEP candidates for London in the European Parliamentary elections who all come from migrant backgrounds.
The candidates – Gene Alcantara, Haroon Saad, Jan Janananayagam, Steven Cheung and Sohale Rahman – held a press conference this week, but have been ignored by the media.
We live in a wealthy country and fair society where most things are laid out and made easy for us. Unfortunately, a lot of our current politicians are ‘out of touch’ that they have complicated simple interpretations of the law and do not seem to have the ability to understand the essence of diverse society London is about.
Gene says’ “Immigrants are being blamed for all the ills of the society when we actually now have a bigger pool of immigrants whose skills and talents we should access and encourage them to be involved for the good of the country”.
I will specifically share my feelings for Gene Alcantara. He is an educated, honest, likeable, hardworking and caring individual, who will make an ideal modern politician. He is always prepared to roll up his sleeves and listen to the people. Gene is patriotic as he tirelessly promotes the Philippines where he originally comes from as well as being a proud British citizen who worked for two decades promoting Britain abroad through the British Council. He speaks several languages and has visited 60 countries which makes him even more equipped to deal with the diversity of London.
Talking about capability, Gene was Head of Accounts Payable for a number of years in the British Council and was the guardian of credit cards and payments worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
The one other thing I am so proud of Gene is the fact that he never loses sight of the human factor when dealing with political issues.
In the last month, I have followed Gene’s campaign and seen how Gene went out and talked to different communities. He attended community events, rallies, sports events, festivals, and could see that he is comfortable with talking to people and getting them inspired. He is a picture of a true leader who can organise and lead communities.
Highlight of Campaign Events
On 2nd May, Gene talked to Londoners in the street and visited the Tamil rally in London’s Parliament Square.
On 3rd May, Gene met revellers at FM Pasyalan Club in Shepherds Bush and then joined boxing fans at the Walkabout Australian Bar to take in the Hatton v Pacquiao fight.
On 4th May – Gene joined the Strangers into Citizens Rally in Trafalgar Square and talked to people from different communities including Filipinos, Chinese, Indians and Africans as well as different religious leaders.
On 10th May – In the morning, Gene talked to the churchgoers at Westminster Cathedral. In the evening, Gene attended a Filipino community show in Harrow organised by West End starts including Monique Wilson and Junix Inocian.
On 12th May, Gene went to the Philippine Embassy to pay his respect and introduce his campaign team.
On 16th May, Gene attends “Flores De Mayo”, Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair.
On 17th May, Gene attended Kampi Basketball matches in Canning Town, visited Oriental Store in Plaistow, Tawana Shop and Filipino restaurant in Walthamstow.
Gene visited different churches including Westminster Cathedral, Iglesia ni Kristo and Born Again followers.
In between the above events, Gene gathered up dozens of volunteers doing street leafleting and mailshots.
Fundraising event with Madonna Decena
On 18th May, Gene organised his fundraising campaign at FM Pasyalan which was successful considering the credit crunch and the fact that it was a Monday night. He had supporters from different communities including Filipinos, British, Polish, Danish, Norwegian and Panamanian.
Stars supported him including Madonna Decena, Britain’s Got Talent star, Policeman, young and old, students, teenagers, business people and government officials.
This particular event shows Gene’s pulling power and how he can unite different communities and inspire them.
On 21 and 22 May, hundreds of students volunteered to help Gene prepare labels and envelopes for his election campaign.
On 23 May, Gene went to a number of events from a house barbecue party in South Croydon to the Grand Canao festival in Walthamstow attended by 500 people. In the evening, he was invited to meet the 300 guests at Batangas Association charity dinner.
On 24 May, Gene went to meet Sacred Heart of Jesus churchgoers in Kilburn.
On 25 May (bank holiday), volunteers turned up at Umi Hotel in London to help Gene prepare election communication. In the late afternoon he proceeded to Kusinang Munti in Tooting who proudly hang up his campaign banner. Nayong Pilipino in Tooting also put his posters up. The Manalo family in Mitcham took his campaign materials to the bus drivers and nurses in London.
On 31st May, he was invited to introduce himself to the meeting organised by over 1000 South Americans in Elephant and Castle. Yet again, he showed he could converse in their language as well as understand their issues.
In the afternoon, I went with Gene and Pi (his wife) to Chinatown to talk to the Chinese community.
On 2nd June, Gene went to Ealing to distribute more campaign leaflets to the Polish community. He even took the time to get his manifesto translated in Polish, Spanish and Chinese.
To further support Gene’s campaign for tomorrow’s election, I ask the communities in London to:
- Exercise the right to vote
- Vote for the right candidate
- Vote for Gene Alcantara
- Let Gene Alcantara be your voice in Europe