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: After the successful celebration was over, the volunteers posed with Special Guest (Back row, 2nd from R) Fr Bong Pamintuan, Filipino Chaplain of Westmead Hospital and supporter of MATF humanitarian projects

MATF help in PH Independemce Day Celebration in Different Way

Amidst the pandemic, a humanitarian assistance to Filipino international students highlighted the Celebration of the 122nd declaration of Philippine Independence held at Auburn Youth Centre, Lidcombe on 20 June 2020 from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm.

Organised by the recently formed Multicultural Assistance Task Force (MATF) in collaboration with the Association of Pinoy Students in Australia (APSA) this very touching celebration was attended by dignitaries who delivered their messages: Hon Lynda Voltz MP, Member for Auburn and Shadow Minister for Police and Terrorism, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation and representatives of the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney, Consul Emmanuel Donato K Guzman and Assistant to National Office Maybel-Marinay-Caparino.

PHOTO – MATF event for Philippine Independence Day 2020 in Lidcombe, NSW

Dr Cen Amores, Chairperson of MATF delivered the welcome address while the Founder of APSA, Vida Aquino Fernandez did the closing remarks.

Spectacular patriotic songs were perfomed by the equally talented Filipino international students, Marjorie Bernardo and Ross Vinculado and the pride of Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd, singer Gilda Pagaduan.

Two well respected Filipino community leaders emceed the formal part of the day: Dr Cen Amores, current Chairperson of MATF, Founding President of APCO, Past President of ASCON and Special Assistant on External Affairs to Kapit-bahayan Coop Board and Violeta Escultura, current APCO President who recently turned over APCO’s donation of $3,800 to APSA for its Feed-A-Student Program.

The Multicultural Assistance Task Force is a local initiative of Filipino community leaders, Filipino business owners, a church leader and a multicultural network of CALD communities including refugees who are mostly residing and operating in the Auburn-Berala area. Primarily aimed to provide essential assistance to the Filipino international students who have been financially impacted by Covid-19, this inclusive and loose network of concerned citizens organised the massive donation distribution in only 10 days!

The founding members of MATF are: Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd (KCL), Austral-Asian Financial Solutions, Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc, Salon de Anne, Auburn Small Community Organisation Network (ASCON) Inc, Crowe Productions, Iraqi Renaissance Inc, FLAGCOM and Friends, Auburn Youth Centre, Grace Church, Super-Save Convenience Store and La Sada Accounting Services.

Originally, 100 Filipino members of APSA were targeted to receive the relief assistance but almost 150 turned up on the day. They each received big bagfuls of groceries, winter clothes, blankets, two dozens of eggs, toothpastes, frozen and cooked food, a pack of bread and rolls of tissue paper and even baby and kids clothes for those with children.

The day ended with the unending Thank Yous and sweet smiles on the faces of the relief goods recipients. With the Covid-19 Community Support Grants of $5000 awarded each to APCO and ASCON, it is expected that distributions of essential goods to the Filipino and multicultural international students will continue.