CFO Secretary Arugay Visits Melbourne, Engages with the Filipino Community in Victoria


The Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Secretary Romulo V. Arugay visited Melbourne on 20-22 March 2024 for the last leg of CFO’s Ugnayan sa Australia.

During his visit, Secretary Arugay observed a dual-citizenship oathtaking ceremony, took part in Melbourne PCG’s celebration of National Women’s Month and launch of the Kids’ Corner, and visited the Maharlika Lodge in Narre-Warren, a respite home for elderly Filipinos who needed a break from their usual daily routine while reminiscing Filipino songs, stories and food. The facility provides dementia assessment and referral for further services.

Left to right:  CFO Chairperson Secretary Romulo Arugay, Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo and Consul Ralph Abarquez at the Ugnayan session with the Filipino Community.

CFO and the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne also collaborated to hold the Ugnayan sa Australia town hall meeting with over 60 participants, mostly Filipino Community leaders. During this meeting, Secretary Arugay gave an overview of CFO’s services, and the Philippine Consulate also updated the community on consular services available. Philippine Consul General Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo also briefed the community on the transformative campaign Bagong Pilipinas of the Marcos administration and the recent initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs called Filipinas Ultimar: Philippines Beyond Borders.

Among the emerging issues that surfaced during the Ugnayan were welfare of Filipino international students, abusive foreign serial sponsors and services for elderly Filipinos wishing to go back to the Philippines.

Secretary Arugay was able to hear out the detailed concerns of the Filipino community in Victoria, especially as regards the issues faced by senior citizens, marriage migrants, and international students. Hopefully, the discussions held will contribute to the formulation of future policies on the welfare of these groups. END.

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