An Ilonggo health worker has become the first-ever Filipino councilor in the Southwest region of England.
Raymond Padilla won a seat in the recently concluded elections of Gloucester, joining 38 others to complete the council posts.
Padilla’s party – the Conservatives – swept the elections and gained 26 seats to become the majority.
He received the second-highest number of votes in the electoral district of Matson and Robinswood ward, where his party won all three council positions. Padilla received 777 votes closely following party-colleague Alastair Chambers, who received 952 votes, and another Conservative party-mate Brendon Sean O’Donnell, who collected a total of 722 votes.
According to Padilla, who works as a nurse at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, his win is momentous as it reflects how Filipinos are being embraced in communities outside the Philippines.
“I felt that we are now officially embraced in the mainstream community,” Padilla told Inquirer.
Contrary to councilors in the Philippines, councilors in England receive no salary. However, they do receive reimbursement for expenses used in undertaking their duties.
Padilla noted that he and other councilors will retain their previous occupations and will meet weekly to discuss issues in their community.
“We will continue with our regular jobs and our weekly meeting is set at 8 p.m.,” he said.
Padilla attributed his win to the efforts of his fellow Filipinos in Gloucester.
“In their special way, they campaigned among their friends and co-workers who are in our ward,” he shared.
As a councilor, Padilla will focus on issues that his constituents have raised, specifically the provision of security cameras in public areas, road rehabilitation, and see to anti-social behavior.
Besides holding a position in the council, Padilla also serves as the chairman of the Filipino Association of Gloucestershire.
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Image credit: Raymond Padilla’s Official Facebook Page