By Mila Cichello
Ms Marion Lau OAM JP (Chair, Aged Policy) from the Ethic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) launched the inaugural Filipino Advisory Council of Elders on Philippine Independence Day 12 June 2010.
The Filipino Advisory Council of Elders (FACE) was convened by the Bayanihan Australia Community Network Inc (BACNI), a volunteer organisation of individuals and organisations focused on leadership development, intergenerational mentoring and community- government partnerships that benefit the Filipino Australian community.
“The BACNI Network values Filipino elders and the life experience that they pass on to the next generation, and that is the reason we convened the Council of Elders. Aged care is part of BACNI’s 10-year Strategic Plan, thus the Council is the face and voice for seniors in the dialogue between the young and old members of the community,” explains Mila Cichello, BACNI Chairperson.
The Council reflects the diversity in age and background of Filipino seniors: some are retired and others are employed but all the nominated elders are respected by the wider Filipino Australian community for the individuals’ leadership, independence, concern for others and forward-thinking.
The FILIPINO ADVISORY COUNCIL OF ELDERS (June 2010-June 2011) are:
• Mrs Terry Apines- works with AGL Energy Company. Terry cared for her elderly mother at home for 17 years and is passionate about developing Filipino aged support services now. Terry combines intellect and hard work as President of Circulo Capizeno Club of Victoria Inc.
• Mrs Consejo Chavarria – worked as a pharmacist in Melbourne before retiring. In her ‘80s, Nanay Ching is the Chairperson of the Board of Management, Centre for Philippine Concerns Australia Inc (CPCA VIC). Her honesty and self-discipline shine as example to young CPCA volunteers in delivering family and aged services to South, East and rural Gippsland Regions.
• Mrs Fely Mangubat- is the charming President of Filipino Australian Seniors of Melbourne’s Northwest Inc (FASMNW). Nanay Fely continues her work with the Council of Hume committees advocating on ethnic and ageing issues.
• Mrs Demetria Reyes – is the President of Young Generation Filipino Senior Citizens Club Inc (YGFSCC). Determined and energetic, Nanay Metring has led YGFSCC’s innovative projects, including the cultural visa sponsorship for the Anklung Music Teachers project under the Positive Ageing program in 2008 and 2009.
• Mr Feliciano Roxas – has been a pioneering leader for several Filipino organisations since the 1970s. Tatay Feliciano is the President of Pilipino Elderly Association of the South East Region Inc (PEASER), which delivers funded aged programs to older Filipinos in the Cities of Kingston and Monash.
• Mrs Fely Spikers – is a pioneer who migrated in 1960 as a student nurse. Manang Fely is a quiet achiever and a tireless officer with the rural Filipino Australian Friendship Association of Geelong Inc (FAFAG). She is the Filipino community Representative to the Ethnic Communities Committee of Diversitat (previously the
Geelong Migrant Resource Centre).
• Mr Orlando Victuelles- ran his own travel agency in Manila before migrating in 1987 and setting up a travel agency in Melbourne. Orly is a key member of several organisations and is the President of Association of the Filipino-Australian Golden Age of Victoria Inc.
• Ms Leonie A. Wenden – an educator who taught English in Japan for many years and authored several books before settling in Melbourne, Leonie is a much-loved Community Transport Volunteer for seniors. A practising Christian, Leonie keeps many a seniors group actively tapping with her singing and guitar prowess.
The role and responsibilities of the Council are: to be the face of elders in providing strategic advice to BACNI and government bodies; to be the information link between government and Filipino seniors in the community; to be the advocacy voice representing all older Filipinos, their carers and families at internal and external forums, and to foster intergenerational relationship with the younger generation at BACNI Network activities and at community events.
The Council has autonomous decision-making powers and will meet regularly at City Village in Melbourne CBD. Secretariat support to Council will be provided by younger
BACNI members. Suggestions, queries and feedback on ageing-related matters from the public are welcome and can be emailed to the Council on firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to BACNI, Level 7 City Village, 225 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.