Farewell, Paulina Corpuz

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Ben Corpuz (left) with her late wife Paulina Corpuz (former PATAC President)

Paulina Corpuz, a 59-year-old prominent community leader and ardent advocate for the arts, culture and human rights, passed away at Toronto’s Sunny Brook Hospital on November 6, 2022. Paulina is survived by her husband, Ben, and her children Belinda, Isabella, and Benson.

Since 2007, when she co-founded a non-profit organization in Toronto called Philippine Advancement Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) to help fund cultural initiatives that would benefit Filipinos, particularly the youth, Paulina Corpuz has made volunteering a central part of her life. She led PATAC’s efforts to bring up timely and sensitive issues such as destructive mining operations in the Philippines, workers’ rights and welfare, and the struggles of farmers and peasants on the issue of land, as well as the plight of children of victims of human rights violations in the Philippines. 

Prior to her untimely demise, Paulina served as president of PATAC and helped organize numerous online events centred on issues like youth activism, anti-racism, women’s empowerment, and human rights in the Philippines. She was an ardent proponent of empowering Filipino youth through PATAC-led projects to afford them leadership opportunities. She never stopped looking for ways to assist the Filipino community in realizing its full potential, whether in the community as community organizers, in local government, or in arts and culture.

Paulina Corpuz cohosted TVMigrante, which talked about issues and concerns of the community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and how they relate to issues in the Philippines. (Photo taken from a Facebook post by Mogi Mogado)

Paulina co-hosted a TV Migrante Canada program that focused on local, Philippine national issues and beyond which was able to reach out to viewers all across Canada. Paulina was also a poet and worked with her husband Ben to publish their conjugal collection of poems in the book Pagsinta (Love).

Paulina and Ben Corpuz are the authors of a collection of poems titled “Pagsinta,”
(Love)  which was released at the beginning of this year.

In 2014, Paulina ran for Toronto School Trustee in the municipal elections so she could serve the Filipino community in an even greater capacity, and she came close to winning that election. 

The work Paulina did to get the City of Toronto to recognize June as Filipino Heritage Month (FHM) is what people remember her for the most. This was a result of Paulina’s work that maximized her good relationships and networks on various levels — city, provincial and federal levels. June as FHM brought attention to the many ways in which Filipinos have helped Canada and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) grow and develop in the economy, politics, and culture.

When Paulina moved to Canada, she did not give up on her homeland, and she continued her unwavering commitment to serve the people of the Philippines and the thousands of Filipinos living abroad in pursuit of a vision that included justice, democracy, sovereignty, human rights, and freedom. She was a change-maker, a strong supporter of Filipino community culture and the arts, a community organizer, and an advocate for migrant rights. She also worked to protect the rights of undocumented workers. Paulina’s health had been deteriorating over the past few years, but she persisted in her work and maintained an incredible level of resolve to keep going.

For information on funeral service and other arrangements, please visit the PATAC Facebook page.