A SOUTH Belfast organisation representing the interests of the growing Filipino community in the city has warned Stormont that action must be taken to prevent poverty and discrimination affecting more families and individuals.

The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) met a number of MLAs on Tuesday evening at Government Buildings while launching a new report based on “extensive” interviews with members of the Filipino community and their experiences living and working here.

Findings include fears that poverty and unemployment will worsen as the recession continues, while discrimination in areas including the workplace is very much a live issue. Assembly members participating included Steven Agnew, who chairs Stormont’s All Party Group on Ethnic Minorities.

Patrick Yu, Executive Director of the Shaftesbury Square based NICEM explained: “The Filipino community makes a vital contribution to our society, and this report makes concrete recommendations which we hope Stormont will act upon in order to reduce poverty and discrimination.”

Other groups attending the meeting include representatives of the Alliance for Filipino Communities in NI, whose Chair John Alfante added: “We have a vibrant community, and we welcome the research and hope this report will empower community members to speak out about their rights.”