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The Journey of Filipino Engineers Group in Australia

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The official launch of the Society of Filipino Engineers in Australia, Inc. (SFEA, Inc.), was held at the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne on 27 May 2024. The event marked an important milestone for Filipino engineers in Australia, culminating years of collective effort towards establishing a platform for recognition and professional development.

During the launch, Consul General Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo recounted the pivotal role the Philippine Consulate General played in assisting SFEA’s journey. Her speech detailed the fortuitous series of events that led to SFEA’s establishment.

It all started with a chance meeting with Engr. Alfie Tilan, who pointed out the challenges faced by Filipino chartered engineers in Australia.

“Alfie visited me here at the Consulate in October 2023 to talk about the newly created Pinoy Casey Community, Inc. We talked about his journey as a chartered engineer in Australia, which he said was not easy,” ConGen Salcedo said.

Inspired by Indonesia’s successful recognition in 2023, the suggestion arose for Filipino engineers to establish a registered organisation to strengthen their voices.

ConGen Maria Lourdes Salcedo
ConGen Maria Lourdes Salcedo PHOTO: Supplied

Taking Action

Engr. Tilan wasted no time. By 1st November, he emailed the Consulate with his research on Engineers Australia’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) based on International Engineering Alliance (IEA) standards.

“The Consulate hosted a Roundtable Discussion on 23 November where around 20 Filipino engineers, half were online, were in attendance. There was a request for the Consulate to formally inquire from the Philippine Technological Council (PTC) what could be the impediments around the recognition of Filipino Engineers in Australia,” Salcedo said.

The Consulate, in turn, reported these developments to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and wrote to the PTC. Recognising the need for legal guidance, Consul General Salcedo connected Engr. Tilan with Atty. Alfe Roder in December to assist with establishing a professional organisation.

The Birth of SFEA

Through online surveys, a name was chosen, and SFEA was officially formed. While pursuing MRA recognition, SFEA actively participated in various Consulate events, demonstrating their commitment to the community. These included Pasko sa Melbourne, the Ube Festival, and the Filipino Community Meeting with President Marcos, where SFEA members provided valuable assistance with security and crowd control.

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A Path to Recognition

After four months, Engineers Australia responded, clarifying that MRAs are signed between relevant professional bodies, in this case, the PTC for the Philippines. This led to a virtual meeting between SFEA and Engr. Federico Monsada, President of the PTC, in April 2024. The meeting showed good progress: Engineers Australia supported the Philippines’ full membership in the APEC Engineers Agreement and its temporary inclusion in the IPEA and Washington Accord (WA).

The successful PTC verification by the WA panel in 2023 paved the way for complete WA membership, with a decision from New Delhi anticipated the following month.

As an advocate for Filipino Engineers, Consul General Salcedo appealed to Engineers Australia officials to support the Philippines’ full membership to the WA.

“Our efforts in assisting Filipino engineers are not to entice them to go overseas, and Australia for that matter, because we also need them in the Philippines but to give the Filipino engineers a degree of confidence when they do decide to practice overseas,” ConGen Salcedo stressed.

The launch ceremony

The launch started with Alexander Genota leading the acknowledgment of the land and presenting emergency procedures, while SFEA National President Alfie Julie Santos Tilan delivered a warm welcome and introduced the organisation. SFEA officers unveiled the official name and logo, signifying a significant step forward.

Launch of Society of Filipino Engineers in Australia, Inc
Launch of the Society of Filipino Engineers in Australia, Inc. PHOTO: Supplied
SFEA National President Alfie Julie Santos Tilan
SFEA National President Alfie Julie Santos Tilan. PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr
Pauline Richards MP, Member of Legislative Assembly Standing Orders Committee, Parliament of Victoria
Pauline Richards MP, Member of Legislative Assembly Standing Orders Committee, Parliament of Victoria. PHOTO: Supplied
Paul Hamer MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Growth, Parliament of Victoria
Paul Hamer MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Growth, Parliament of Victoria. PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr

Jules Vincent Jusayan elaborated on SFEA’s vision, outlining its objectives and aspirations for the future. Other distinguished speakers offered valuable insights and perspectives on the importance of Filipino engineers in Australia. These included Pauline Richards MP, Member of Legislative Assembly Standing Orders Committee, Parliament of Victoria; Paul Hamer MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Growth, Parliament of Victoria; and Kriston Symons, Deputy President of Engineers Australia Victoria Division.

Participants celebrated the successful creation of a platform for Filipino Engineers in Australia. They emphasised their collaborative work to advance mutual recognition, professional development, and community growth in the engineering field.

PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr

Empowering the Filipino Engineering Community

SFEA Inc. wants to build a strong and successful community of Filipino engineers in Australia. Their motto is “Empowering Engineering Profession, through Competency Demonstration, and towards Mutual Recognition.” They are dedicated to empowering Filipino engineers and promoting their recognition in the Australian engineering industry.

For more information, follow Society of Filipino Engineers in Australia on Facebook.

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