BY NONOY PERDON – Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo captured the heart of many Filipino expatriates residing in Sydney including the special recognition by Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian and three of her parliamentary colleagues who attended a Catholic mass held in honour of Our Lady of Penafrancia the venerated patron in Naga City, Philippines, Leni Robredo’s home town.
The special Catholic mass was celebrated by Papal Nuncio Adolfo Yllana who came all the way from Australia’s embassies’ capital Canberra and attended by a throng of Filipinos including honoured Filipino-Australian officials of LGUs.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Vice President Leni Robredo made the offertory march to the altar as well as led the throng who joined the holy communion. The other government officials during the Catholic mass were Federal Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh, NSW Member for Penrith Stuart Ayers and NSW Member for Riverstone Kevin Conelly.
After the mass. Premier Berejiklian herself lauded the private visit of VP Robredo as further strengthening of the already praiseworthy contributions of the Filipino community in NSW.
Among the LGU officials were Hornsby Vice Mayor Vince Gallego,and Blacktown Councillors Frederick Brillo, Carol Israel and Jess Diaz. Philippine diplomats include Consul General Aian Caringal and Philippine Consul Manny Guzman as well as support staff coming from the Philippine Consulate in Sydney and Philippine Embassy in Canberra.
As well as Filipino business leaders especially community supporter Mr Moises Millena head of the emerging MacArthur Catholic Memorial Park, which is networking in the Filipino community.
Filipino-Australian community leaders made a show of unity with many leading Filipino community leaders especially from religious lay organisations coming to the event at the Nicholas of Myra Church in Penrith City,
The event was held Saturday morning up to about three hours before her scheduled departure from Sydney airport. PCC-NSW President Alric Bulseco joined in reading prayer petitions during the mass assisted by religious leaders from the Filipino association Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia which is based in Penrith and host of the annual Penafrancia feast held in the city.
Earlier VP Robredo was invited to speak at a business forum hosted by the Australian Philippine Business Council (APBC), held at the International Tower 3 in Sydney’s scenic Barangaroo business precinct. She spoke on women empowerment and related causes.
VP Robredo also had a small close group of Filipino Sydney residents welcome her in a reception in a nearby Barangaroo coffee house. mostly those from a group of devotees from ADOLP association led by Mr Jess Manalo whom she welcomed before in her hometown Naga City during last year’s Penafrancia festival.