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guest of honour julia gillard

Gillard to visit PH; Syd ConGen Calls for “Bayanihan” Spirit

IMG_2501 (2) (800x533) (640x426)Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she will soon be visiting the Philippines as a return gesture to the state visit of Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Jr. made last year. Prime Minister Gillard did not mention the date.

Gillard was welcomed as main guest speaker of the Philippine Independence Day Ball held last Sunday night 9 June at the Grand Pavillion of the Rosehill Event Centre in Rosehill, NSW.

It was the first time an Australian prime minister personally accepted the organisation’s invitation to address the Independence Day celebration.

In her address, Ms Gillard was happy to recall that the early Filipinos in Australia were pearl divers and pearl merchants in Broome, Western Australia. She said from then on and especially in the 80s, Filipinos continued to to make positive contributions to Australia working as tradesmen, nurses, accountants, and in various professions, particularly in places such as Western Sydney.

“The Philippines have rich cultural heritage and very active community in Australia. The Philippines are an important regional partner of Australia. This year marks 67th year of bilateral relations,” Gillard said.

The event was sponsored by the Philippine Communities Council of NSW (PCC-NSW) in cooperation with the Philippine Consulate General of Sydney  to celebrate the declaration of Philippine Independence 115th years ago. She was introduced by PCC-NSW president Mrs Elsa Collado.

At certain point, Prime Minister Gillard and Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis made the ceremonial toast of  glass of wine to the respective head of states Philippine President Aquino and Queen  Elizabeth II.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrel also came to address the event whilst Philippine Consul General Jalando-on Louis delivered a message from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.  She highlighted the need for migrant  Filipinos not to forget the Philippines  and and continue with the  “bayanihan” spirit (community cooperation) in their contribution to community life in Australia.

The event was attended by both State and Federal members of parliaments as well as candidates for  federal seats in the coming Australian election. Philippine Consul General Jalando-on Louis reported the breakthrough in Philippine commerce and economy and particularly the country’s very good credit and investment ratings in the midst of  Philippine President Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” government transparency program which combats graft and corruption and promotes level field for business and investments.

“In the year ahead we look forward to strengthening our cooperation.  There is so much to expand our ecnomic ties, including in the mining sector,” Ms Gillard said. Organising body PCC-NSW prepared some nostalgic Filipino cultural numbers including the singing of the Philippine and Australian anthems by the Sydney-based choir Sonata Singers, the recognition of leaders of affiliate organisations who came in resplendent Philippine national attire, and the highly regarded rigodon de honor dance by by community leaders, and a couple more cultural presentations.

Among the entertainers who came to the event were singer-composer David Pomeranz who delighted the crowd with half a dozen of his original compositions  and Sydney based Sonny  Soriano and His Band the latter providing  dance music at the latter part of the event.