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First Pinay Mayor in England dies at 58

PEP.ph logo PEP.ph 2 days ago Rachelle Siazon
a person standing in front of a city street © Provided by PEP.ph

Pumanaw ang first Pinay mayor na nahalal sa United Kingdom na si Cynthia Alcantara Barker. 

Nahalal si Barker bilang alkalde sa bayan ng Hertsmere sa Hertfordshire, England, nito lamang June 2020. 

Siya ay 58 taong gulang. 

Ayon sa kapatid ni Cynthia na si Gene Alcantara, binawian ng buhay si Cynthia dahil sa malubhang sakit nito. 

Kinumpirma ito ni Gene sa pamamagitan ng isang Facebook post kahapon, September 15. 

Ang official statement ng pamilya Alcantara, Barker, Bartolome, at Kelly (published as is):

"It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of The Worshipful Hertsmere Mayor Councillor Cynthia Barker following a bout of serious illness.

"We will be issuing further information in due course, but may we ask please to respect the family's privacy at this very difficult time.

"Your prayers for the repose of her soul would however be welcome." 

Naulilala ni Cynthia ang nag-iisang anak at apat na mga apo. 

a person in a blue shirt © Provided by PEP.ph PHOTO: Cynthia Baker Facebook

GOOD TRACK RECORD AS PUBLIC SERVANT 

Sinasabing malaki ang paghanga kay Cynthia ng kanyang mga nasasakupan dahil sa serbisyo niya sa lugar. 

Nagsilbi siyang councilor ng bayan ng Elstree at Borehamwood, pati na rin sa distrito ng Potters Bar Furzefield mula 2015 hanggang 2019. 

Nagsilbi rin siya bilang deputy mayor ng Hertsmere mula 2019, hanggang sa nahalal siyang alkalde nitong June 2020. 

Noong 2016, pinarangalan siya ng British Community Honours Award dahil sa kanyang civic work, partikular na ang pagiging aktibo ng Filipino community sa kanilang lugar. 

Sa isang tribute letter sa hertsmere.gov.uk, inilarawan si Cynthia ng ilan sa mga malapit na katrabaho nito, kabilang si councilor at labor group leader na si Jeremy Newmark. 

Paglalarawan ni Newmark sa yumaong Hertsmere mayor: "It was a privilege to have known and worked with Cynthia. 

"She was a trailblazer and role model for women and minorities in local government. 

"Cynthia was kind and supportive to me personally when I was first elected as a councillor, despite being on opposite sides of the political divide. 

"She brought grace and dignity to the office of Mayor but was always approachable and down to earth, particularly when engaging with children and young people. 

"Her commitment to charitable causes, notably the NSPCC and the Rotary Club, was relentless.

"May her memory continue to inspire us all."

CHILD OF AN OFW IN U.K. 

Si Cynthia ay tubong San Pablo, Laguna, sa Pilipinas. 

Siya ay isa sa limang anak ng isang dating guro na nagtrabahong overseas Filipino worker sa London. 

Sa kanyang paglalahad sa ulat ng Panorama noong 2015, ibinahagi ni Cynthia na namasukang nanny ang kanyang ina sa isang mayamang pamilya. 

Tandang-tanda raw niya ang pangungulila sa ina mula noong nasa elementarya siya, hanggang sa magtapos siya ng kursong Industrial Engineering sa Adamson University. 

Ang matinding sakripisyo ng kanyang ina na mawalay sa pamilya ang nagsilbing inspirasyon ni Cynthia para magsumikap sa buhay. 

Madamdaming pahayag ni Cynthia sa kanyang 2015 Panorama feature story:

"When parents leave for work abroad, children do not just lose their parents, parents lose their children, too.

"And for most Filipinos, leaving to work abroad is not a choice, but an inevitable reality, brought by the desire to provide a better life.

"And the least that we can do, as their children, is to make sure that we do better lives." 

a woman smiling for the camera © Provided by PEP.ph PHOTO: Cynthia Baker Facebook

PROFESSIONAL CAREER 

Taong 1983 nang mag-migrate si Cynthia sa London, United Kingdom. 

Base sa linkedin profile ni Cynthia, nakapag-aral siya ng leadership development courses sa University of Hertfordshire at University of Oxford. 

Nagtrabaho siya bilang registered care manager, international recruitment manager, at immigration adviser mula 1994 hanggang 2013. 

Isang taon din siyang nagtrabaho bilang immigration department manager sa isang recruitment agency bago tuluyang sumabak sa pulitika. 

Sinasabing proud si Cynthia sa kanyang Filipino heritage.

Patunay nito ang pamumuno niya sa outreach and community affairs ng The Filipino Women's Association sa United Kingdom mula 2015 hanggang 2019.

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