Six young politicians from the Philippines visited Australia on December 7-13, 2013 as part of the Australian Political Exchange Council. The Council organised their trips to Canberra, Bendigo, and Melbourne to meet with politicians and community leaders.
In Melbourne, Philippine Honorary Consul General Gigi Kalong met with the delegation. Chito Javier, Convenor of 3ZZZ Ethnic radio station, and Alice Gregorio-Nicolas, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of The Philippine Times also met with the group discussing the major roles and contributions of Filipino radio and newspapers in Australia.
The team was headed by Miguel Luis Villafuerte, Governor of Camarines Sur. At 24, Villafuerte is the youngest elected governor in Philippine history. The other delegates were: Maria Katrina Lim, Municipal Mayor of the Municipality of Valencia; Jasmin Nalugon Pinsoy, City Councillor, Dipolog City, Province of Zamboanga del Norte; Josef Andrew Tayao Mendoza, Board Member, Province of Bulacan; Charisse Marie Aguilar Abalos; Councillor, Mandaluyong City, National Capital Region, and Marc-Fabian Castrodes, Main Anchor/Host, People Television Network Channel 4. Rolendes Fabi, Executive Director of the Philippine Center of Young Leaders in Governance, was the group’s accompanying officer.
The Australian Political Exchange Council was established in 1981 and today the Principals of the Council are the Parliamentary Leaders of the four main political parties in the Federal Parliament. The Council aims to develop young Australian political leaders by working with countries with which we have an established exchange program with including the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United States of America, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Thailand. It provides delegates an opportunity to visit and learn about political systems, culture and industry and to develop long-lasting ties and relationships.