By: Christia Marie Ramos, Reporter, Inquirer.net, September 15, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — England’s first Filipino mayor, Cynthia Barker, has passed away at age 58, her brother confirmed Tuesday.
Barker is the incumbent mayor of Hertsmere, a local government district and borough in Hertfordshire, England.
In a Facebook post, Gene Alcantara said his sister passed away “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,” Alcantara wrote.
“Your prayers for the repose of her soul would however be welcome,” he added.
In 2015, Barker became the first Filipino elected as town councillor for Elstree and Borehamwood and borough councillor for Potter’s Bar.
She was then re-elected to Hertsmere to represent the Borehamwood Kenilworth ward in May 2019, according to a profile posted on Hertsmere’s website.
She was then appointed as mayor in June this year.
In a tribute posted on Hertsmere’s website, elected members and staff expressed deep sadness over Barker’s death.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this extremely sad and difficult time, and we send them our sincerest condolences. The council’s flag flies at half-mast outside civic offices as a mark of respect,” it read.
“She was the first Philippines-born elected representative in the borough, extremely proud of her heritage and committed to doing her utmost to champion equality and diversity for all our communities in Hertsmere,” it added.