Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Ambassador hosts fellowship dinner for Filipino scholars in New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy in Wellington continues to enhance closer people-to-people ties between the Philippines and New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted a fellowship dinner for three Filipino recipients of the New Zealand-ASEAN Scholars Awards at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s Residence) on 06 February 2014. They are Mr. Richard G. Castor from the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture-Calabanga participating in the Masteral course on Management Studies Major in Management and Sustainability at the University of Waikato, Ms. Arla Fontamillas, from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office taking up a Masteral Programme in Development Studies at the Victoria University in Wellington and Ms. Myla Barbacena from the Land Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources pursuing a Masteral Programme on Public Management at the Victoria University in Wellington.

They are among the eighteen Filipinos who were awarded scholarships by the New Zealand Government to pursue studies in agriculture, governance and public management, renewable energy and environmental management, among others. Each year, the New Zealand Government makes available an indicative allocation of eighteen scholarships to Filipinos under the New Zealand Aid Programme as its contribution to national development of the Philippines. The ASEAN Scholarship Awards enhancing human resources development and capability upgrading and equipping recipients with skills and knowledge to contribute to the region’s progress are among the key areas of New Zealand’s Flagship Projects with ASEAN.

The scholars reiterated their deep appreciation to the Government and People of New Zealand for the valuable opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills in their respective fields of study and to the agencies and institutions in the Philippines for allowing them to avail of the scholarship grants. As the scholars all said, “we continue to learn much from our studies and interaction with our fellow students, professors and members of the academe in the university as well as enjoy the company of new found friends from New Zealand and other countries and the Filipino community here.” Ambassador Benavidez exhorted them to excel in their respective areas of study, represent the Philippines as home of world-class talents and project the positive image and favourable reputation of the Filipino people in New Zealand and wherever they may be. She said that “based on feedback from their educational institutions, it is heartening to know that the Filipino scholars are doing well and are building up an excellent reputation and record of outstanding academic performance and credentials”.

Mr. Castor was accompanied by Ms. Mayumi Quirante and Ms. Dina Lamont, friends and members of the Filipino community in Hamilton. They continue to assist the Filipino scholars in their accommodation, transportation and other arrangements while studying in Hamilton. Ms. Mayette Maling-Cope, host of “Tinig Pinoy” 999 AM Access Manuwatu, who also interviewed and featured Mr. Castor in one of her radio programmes was also present on this happy occasion. Ambassador Benavidez thanked them for their support and cooperation exemplifying the renowned Filipino “bayanihan” spirit.

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