LYNN — A city councilor received a hero’s welcome when he returned to his home country.
Coco Alinsug said that when he was elected Ward 3 city councilor in 2021, becoming the first Filipino city councilor in New England, news of his monumental victory reached all the way back to the Philippines.
“When I won, the celebration and the news just spread like wildfire in the Philippines,” Alinsug said. “I ended up becoming a symbol of the Filipino community in this area of the country.”
Alinsug followed in the footsteps of several generations of family members who have held public office in the Philippines.
Alinsug, who is running unopposed for his second term as city councilor, said that without the need to campaign and with few obligations for the council in August, he decided to go back home to the Philippines for the first time since he was elected.
On his 41-day trip, Alinsug was greeted by family, friends, and even people he had never met before who recognized and celebrated his achievements abroad.
The councilor was also invited to around 10 different events and celebrations in his honor, including being recognized in his hometown of Cebu City.
“They rolled out the red carpet for me,” Alinsug said. “I carefully accepted invitations that had the greatest significance to me.”
Alinsug said one of the biggest moments for him was seeing the pride his family has in him, especially his father, a former councilor and vice mayor of Consolacion in Cebu.
“I continued the family’s legacy, halfway around the world,” Alinsug said.
Alinsug said he is not only proud of the example he set for those in the Philippines but also for people from all immigrant communities in the United States, especially in Lynn.
“For me to follow my dream when I left and accomplish it, I am not only honoring my parents, my family, and my country, but I became an instant role model for the immigrants of Lynn,” Alinsug said.
Alinsug said he is happy to see the diversity of candidates in this year’s city elections, noting how important it is that those in public office look like the communities they serve.
“You see a lot of people of color running,” Alinsug said. “This is something that has never been done before… It’s all about representation.”
Alinsug said his message to the immigrants of Lynn is to not have any hesitation in pursuing their goals and making sure their communities are represented.
“It’s all about encouraging people,” Alinsug said. “If it happened to me it can happen to anybody… Never be afraid to reach for your dreams.”