Republic of the Philippines

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PHL Ambassador joins the launch of the Philippine community settlement services at the ChristChurch migrants centre

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As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out to Filipino communities throughout the North and South Islands, Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, accompanied by Vice-Consul Glenn Joseph Obach, joined the launching of the Philippine Community Settlement Services at the Christchurch Migrants Centre on 14 February 2014. This is an extended project of the Philippine Workers’ Social Integration Programme that focused on Philippines Community Support Services run by the Centre’s Philippine Liaison Officer, Ms. Delia Richards, the Centre’s Administrator and volunteers from the Philippine Culture and Sports (PCS) group. Its primary objective is to provide assistance and support within a one-stop shop facility to Filipinos engaged in the rebuild, healthcare, dairy farming, technology, hospitality and other sectors and facilitate their adjustment and settling into the New Zealand ways and community living.

Christchurch Migrants Centre Manager Mr. Rex Gibson warmly welcomed Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Ambassador Benavidez, officials from local agencies, representatives of private sector, Filipino and other communities and friends and highlighted the significance of the launching of the Philippine Community Settlement Services in line with the Centre’s priority areas of settlement advice, cultural support, assistance, service co-ordination, information and orientation.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel conveyed her appreciation for the excellent work and laudable initiatives of the Christchurch Migrants Centre and acknowledged with deep appreciation the exemplary services of Ms.Delia Richards and the team of volunteers who are helping Filipino workers from their arrival, settling priorities, integration, employment advice to information dissemination and orientation on support availability, community, employment and government responsibilities. She especially acknowledged the vital roles of the Filipinos in the rebuild and reconstruction of Christchurch and the importance of support and integration of Filipino workers into the wider community. Mayor Dalziel emphatically stated that Christchurch city will not tolerate exploitation of workers and has zero tolerance to discrimination in workforce practices.

Ambassador Benavidez commended the Christchurch Migrants Centre and thanked Mr. Rex Gibson, Ms. Delia Richards, Ms. Wenonah Bolton, Administrator, Ms. Jane Song, Case Manager and Mr. Kevin Park, Community Liaison Manager for their continuing efforts and programmes to help migrants and for the launching of another significant and service-oriented project for the benefit of the increasing number of Filipinos in Christchurch. “This is a concrete manifestation of the crucial importance given by a multicultural and ethnically diverse country like New Zealand to the welfare and well-being of Filipinos and other ethnic communities,” Ambassador Benavidez stated. She conveyed her deep appreciation to Mayor Lianne Dalziel for her full support to and active engagement with the Filipinos and ethnic communities in Christchurch as well as her call for fair treatment and non-discrimination of migrant workers. Ambassador Benavidez also highlighted the attention being given to pastoral care policies and programmes and the readiness and access being given by relevant government agencies and local settlement support groups in Christchurch to help Filipino workers and migrant workers as they stay and work in the city.

Mayor Dalziel and Ambassador Benavidez jointly cut the ribbon for the opening of the Philippine Community Settlement Services which was followed by a fellowship luncheon and lively interaction with guests, volunteers and the team of the Christchurch Migrants Centre.

Ambassador Benavidez went around the Philippine Community Settlement Support Services section of the Christchurch Migrants Centre and congratulated Ms. Delia Richards from the Christchurch Multicultural Council for receiving the Community Service Award from the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils, Inc. in recognition of her valuable contribution to ethnic communities of Christchurch on 29 June 2013.

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