By MANNY G. ASUNCION
Ms Marisa Vedar, the representative of Victoria was elected as the new President of the Filipino Communities Council of Australia(FILCCA) in the election held at the 11th Filipino Conference in Canberra on 17-18 September. Other officers elected were: Atty Aida Garcia (South Australia ), VP External; Marino Salinas (Western Australia ), VP Internal; Manny G. Asuncion (Victoria), Secretary; Serna Ladia (New South Wales), Treasurer; Ronaldo Villaver (New South Wales) PRO; Carlota Mendoza (SA), VP Youth Affairs; Ariel Patugalan (Australia Capital Territory) Public officer and Florence Parker (immediate past president), Adviser.
Ms Vedar was the former treasurer of FILCCA 2008-2010, a Gawad Kalinga Melbourne Coordinator and the current secretary of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria Inc. (FCCVI).
FILCCA, the national umbrella body of all the Filipino state councils of Australia, convenes every two years to discuss and make resolutions for the benefits and welfare of the Filipino councils all over Australia and assistance to the Philippines. FILCCA was the offshoot of the first national conference held in Victoria in 1990 which envisioned “the formation of a National Body that will initiate policy changes, provision of services and program development and respond to the needs of specific target groups such as youth, women, children and elderly.”
Guest speakers have been invited from government agencies and business sectors to address delegates and participants on the welfare and issues relevant to the Filipino-Australian communities in Australia. Senator Gary Humphries of ACT was invited as the keynote speaker for this year’s conference.
The conference’s theme “Collaboration to achieve social inclusion”, highlights the aspirations and ideals of FILCCA, focusing on its current three major projects, namely:
1 . FILCCARD ( FILCCA’s response on Disasters) – Its primary objective is to develop , promote and implement a community based disaster and emergency response action plan with the aim of strengthening the capacity of FILCCA and its state councils together with the various stakeholders in responding to disasters.
2 . (PAMDA) Philippine Australia Microenterprise Development Assistance Program– Itsmission is to establish a national network of microenterprise development advocates committed to the reduction of poverty in the Philippines through equitable access to financial and non-financial services.
3 . Capacity and capability support assistance to RPG (Dr Ronald P Guzman) Medical Center – This project is aimed at supporting RPG Medical Center by providing the needed hospital equipment and supplies as well as providing free medical treatment to eligible people of Cagayan Valley provinces.
On its first day, the conference tackled disaster preparedness /planning and community response, settlements of new migrants and aged care grants. The key topics for the second day, specifically addressed to the youth, were language and culture, and reconnecting with motherland as delivered by the two officers of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). Mr Joekarl Diaz of GK Youth Australia also showed how the youth can come home to the Motherland and at the same time make a difference in the lives of the poor through the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Youth Great Adventure Tours (YGAT). This was followed by presentation of leaders’ forum outcomes and annual general meeting and elections.
State Representatives voted for the 2010-2012 Board where the elections for Presidency turned to Vedar’s favour gathering 9 points vs 5 points for NSW candidate Ronaldo Villaver.
The conference was concluded by the traditional gala night wherein FILCCA awarded deserving leaders and Filipino-Australian organizations for their outstanding contributions to their respective communities.
FILCCA Board Members 2010-2012
President – Marisa Vedar
VP Internal – Marino Salinas
VP External – Aida Garcia
Secretary – Manny G. Asuncion
Treasurer – Serna Ladia
PRO – Ronaldo Villaver
VP Youth Affairs – Carlota Mendoza
Public officer – Ariel Pattugalan
ACT – Perlita Swinbank
NSW – Elsa Ringor Collado
Queensland – Amado F. Rubion, Jr
SA – Vickey Davey
Tasmania – Florence Talbo Parker
Victoria – Norma Serrano
WA – Marino Salinas