By Alice Nicolas
Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Minda Calaguian-Cruz met with the Filipino-Australian community last 4 May 2018 at the Bayview on the Park Hotel in Melbourne. She talks about the importance of integration in a second country like Australia while keeping one’s cultural identity, the strong Philippine-Australian relations and the importance of supporting programs such as Filipinos ageing in Australia or those suffering from dementia.
The Ambassador also enjoined community leaders to run their respective organisation properly. She stressed the importance of communication and transparency. For those running events or activities, she said they should go back to their donors to report and to say thank you. This can be done through photos, thank-you letters or reports on social media like Facebook. Financial books should be opened for checking. To address the problem of so much division in the community, she advised the leaders to settle differences and to practise transparency and accountability. By having respect for each other, the Ambassador noted the importance of “working together as a unified community.”
Ambassador Cruz also reminded the community not to forget the Filipino students in Australia, some of whom are scholars of the Australian government. They also need support in various ways like Filipino-owned businesses can hire them without compromising their study hours. She further suggested Filipino families can provide solace of their homes by adopting some students once a month and feed them adobo or pakbet.
During the question and answer portion of the Townhall meeting with the Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Minda Calaguian-Cruz, she was asked how she was able to combine personal and professional career especially when her kids were younger. She said it’s a joint effort between her and her husband plus a very strong support of her mother who joined her family when they were deployed doing consular missions in different countries.
The Q and A was facilitated by Philippine Honorary Consul to Victoria Felix Pintado.
The Filipino-Australian leaders and guests were impressed by the Ambassador’s candid, honest and thought-provoking words not only during the Q and A segment but even during her speech and her time with them after the meeting.
Around 60 leaders and representatives of Filipino organisations attended the event.
The Ambassador is set to retire this June 2018.
The event was spearheaded by the Philippine Consulate of Victoria with Noel Tolentino and Fred Jover organising guests and logistics. The Australian Council of Multicultural Entrepreneurs (ACME) sponsored the rental of the venue.
Represented organisations were: Filipino Community Council of Vic, Philippine Australian Foundation Inc. (FAFI), Filipino Elderly Get Together Asso. (FEGTA), Australian Council of Multicultural Entrepreneurs (ACME), Association of Filipino Aust ralian Families of Melbourne, Filipino Australian Senior Citizens of Vic Inc. (FASCOVI), Australian Filipino Community Service (AFCS), Ilonggo Asso of Victoria Inc., Gawad Kalinga, Pampangueño Club of Melbourne, Victoria Emergency Relief Fund for Philipines, EMG-SEFNA/Ati-atihan, Original Filipino Australia of Victoria Inc (FAVI), New Filipino Australian of Vic. Inc. (FAVI), Soriano-Orodio Foundation, Cornerstone Community Church Melbourne, Philippine Sports Club Melbourne Inc (PSCM), Silayan Dance Group, Katipunan sa Australia, City of Wyndham / Migrant HUB, Concerned Members Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Inc, Victoria University Filipino Club, Philippine Tours Inc, Pilipino Elderly Southeast Region (PEASER), United Filipino Elderly Association Inc, 3ZZZ Filipino Community Radio and The Philippine Times.
- Ambassador Calaguian-Cruz delivering her message before Filipino community leaders in Melbourne
- Ambassador Calaguian-Cruz during Q & A