The Philippine Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Ma. Hellen B. de la Vega, praised the Filipino-Australian community for its resilience and compassion at a time of unprecedented challenges.

In a year that tested everyone's strength and fortitude, Ambassador de la Vega said the community 'demonstrated resilience and a deep sense of compassion', providing financial aid during the summer bushfires and through the course of the pandemic.

She highlighted the financial assistance provided to Filipino students who lost their jobs during the early days of the lockdown, and to those who couldn't return to the Philippines due to the travel restrictions.

"I thank all of those who opened their homes and extended a helping hand to the victims of the bushfires and to the students and stranded Filipinos who were severely affected by the health and economic crisis," she said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Akap program also provided 700 displaced workers in Australia with cash assistance.

As the year ahead marks the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Australia and the Philippines, she urges the community to help prepare in the celebration.

"The friendship [between both countries], built on shared values, has been tested in the frontlines of war to the frontlines of the pandemic," 

"I ask the Filipino community to join me next year, as we commemorate this milestone in meaningful and enduring ways," she said.

Philippine Ambassador to Australia H.E. Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega with Ms. Michelle Rowland MP on 26 February 2020 at Parliament House. Both committed to work together in preparation for the 75th Anniversary of Philippines-Australia Diplomatic Relations in 2021. Source: www.philembassy.org.au

In a separate message, Consul-General Ezzedin H. Tago from the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney also extended his warm wishes to the community, urging optimism and positivity as we ring in the new year. 

"2020 has been a significantly challenging year for all of us, but let us not forget to look forward and be positive to what 2021 brings to all of us," he said.

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