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Philippine Consul General Melbourne Visits Pyramid Hill to Deliver Consular Services

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The Philippine Consul General (PCG) in Melbourne, Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo, accompanied by Consul Jan Sherwin P. Wenceslao, on 29 June 2024 visited Pyramid Hill in Regional Victoria. This visit was part of a consular mission to deliver essential services to Filipinos residing in Pyramid Hill and surrounding areas, including Echuca, Bendigo, and Swan Hill.

During her visit, Consul General Salcedo engaged with key members of the Filipino community, led by Ms Marilyn Fernandez.

Fernandez was one of the initial four Filipinos recruited in 2008 to work in Pyramid Hill’s pig farm and has since become the manager of the piggery. The Filipino community’s contributions, particularly in the livestock sector, have been pivotal in revitalizing the area.

Consul General Salcedo also met with Cr Gavan Holt, Wedderburn Ward Councillor and Mayor of Loddon Shire, to express her gratitude for the Shire’s unwavering support. Mayor Holt highlighted the important contributions of the Filipino community to the local economy, stating that their presence has been instrumental in averting the closure of the local school and church.

The story of Pyramid Hill’s rejuvenation, thanks to the Filipino community, was featured in ABC’s Back Roads by Heather Ewart in 2018 and was recently re-aired.

A dual citizenship ceremony attended by many Filipinos was also part of the consular mission. ConGen Salcedo took the opportunity to further strengthen the bond between the Filipino community and their adoptive country, Australia.

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ConGen Salcedo talks to recipients of dual citizenship before the outh taking ceremony.
ConGen Salcedo talks to recipients of dual citizenship before the oath-taking ceremony.

At a meet and greet held at St. Mary’s Parish in Echuca, around 50 Filipinos gathered to interact with the PCG team. The church’s long-time Australian leaders expressed their gratitude towards the Filipino community, with one leader remarking, “Thanks to the Filipino Community. They are the future of this church!” Another added, “Because of them, we have been introduced to lovely Filipino food.”

Father Novelito Lim, the Catholic parish priest of Echuca, who previously served in Pyramid Hill/Kerang, was also present. His presence underscored the strong ties and spiritual leadership that the Filipino community brings to the region.

The visit was deemed highly successful by ConGen Odette Salcedo. She highlighted the importance of acknowledging the Filipino community’s positive impact on their adoptive communities and their crucial role in fostering relations between the Philippines and Australia. The visit also included meetings with two mayors and the identification of various prospects, challenges, and business potentials.

The Philippine Consulate General plans to conduct additional Mobile Consular Missions in other regional areas of Victoria later this year, continuing their commitment to serve and support Filipinos across the region.

ConGen Salcedo’s visit to Pyramid Hill highlights the Filipino community’s growing contributions to Australia’s cultural and economic development.

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