The Filipino community is promising to "make a comeback" in future Bermuda Day parades.

Bermuda's Association of Filipinos controversially pulled out of this year's parade over fears that women and children will be "harassed and heckled" by the crowd.

They feared they would be made to feel unwelcome after Minister David Burch made "offensive" remarks about women.

It comes after new visa requirements were announced for citizens of the Philippines, Dominican Republic and Panama. Senator Burch said it was to crack down on women being brought to Bermuda as prostitutes or as wives in "sham marriages."

'Max' Adderley of the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda had been helping to organize the Filipino's entry into this year's parade.

She said they had been inundated with support from members of the community, including Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Neletha Butterfield and UBP leader Kim Swan.

Mrs. Adderley said: "We decided we weren't going to participate this year, it doesn't mean we are not going to participate forever.

"We will participate in the Bermuda Day parade again as soon as this situation calms down.

"We've had a lot of support from people in the community and we want to be there for them in the future."

As exclusively revealed in the Bermuda Sun, Filipino women have been called 'prostitutes' while on the bus and in the grocery store. Men have also been asking how much it would cost to get a wife from the Philippines and how much it would cost to spend the night with them.

They blame Minister Burch who last month said that Government would start to vet applications "to determine whether a marriage is a sham or bona fide union."

He said older Bermudian men were marrying young Panamanian, Dominican Republic and Philippine women without them speaking a word of English.

Last week the Association announced that it would not be participating in the Bermuda Day parade "so that our members will not be subject to further public ridicule and verbal abuse".

They had made the costumes and had been practising their dance routines since the start of the year. However, only about eight out of about 30 dancers were willing to take part.

Mrs. Adderley said that although they appreciated the support from the community, they would not be reconsidering their decision.

She said: "We have very strong feelings, it's just not going to happen, not this year. It's not that we don't want to participate, we do, but we have to think about our safety.

"We feel bad about dropping out but when you hear about what's going on, it's just not fair.

"One comment is one comment too many and it hurts." Mrs. Adderley said they had sent two letters to Senator Burch, but had not heard anything back and did not expect to.

However, members of the Filipino community still plan to watch this year's parade for a "bonding type of get together."