On Friday 4 December, 49 Students from schools of the Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA) have visited the Australian Embassy in Manila as a part of the annual Leavers 2 Leaders Trip.
Joined by 16 staff, the Year 11 and 12 students from Swan Christian College, Ellenbrook Christian College, and Southern Hills Christian College were welcomed by embassy staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
“This visit is one of the final events in the Annual Leavers 2 Leaders Trip to the Philippines”, said Mr. Giles Creelman, Projects and Initiatives Manager at SCEA.
“With a significant number of Australians visiting the Philippines in this trip, and a significant involvement in the Philippines through Australian diplomatic and aid programs, it is important for students to understand how our country works overseas.
“We want to encourage these Year 11 and graduating Year 12 Students to think broadly in terms of their life goals, particularly in how they can make an impact overseas.
“This builds on the service work they have done in remote communities across the Philippines over the past two weeks.”
Students were addressed by representatives from DFAT who explained that as one of Australia’s largest embassies, with over 250 staff, a large amount of work is done to support Australians and Australian interests, including as the 250 Australian companies operating in the Philippines.
The Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police, Department of Immigration and others also work closely with embassy staff, and process approximately 40,000 visa applications per year for visitors to Australia.
Students were also advised of how the Government’s Smart Traveller program assists Australians overseas in case of emergency, such as in the Philippines where between 5 and 10 make landfall each year.
The CEO of ANZ Philippines, Mr Peter Chan, congratulated the students on their efforts of the past two weeks and described how Australian businesses operate internationally.
“We are pleased to see the months of planning result in a successful two weeks for you,” said Mr. Chan.
“While the Filipino economy is strong, with ratings agencies labelling the Philippines as investment grade, you need to contrast this with the weeks you have had.
“You can see that the wealth has not reached all areas of society.
“And to contribute towards improving the social imbalance, ANZ has been running a global financial literacy program to help people understand the basics of finance, and bring Australia’s sustainable financial practices here to help with the needs of the Philippines.
“On behalf of the ANZ we wish you success with your efforts in the Philippines,” said Mr. Chan.
The event culminated in Mr. Giles Creelman announcing that a fish drying facility in the Filipino town of Sagay, with the support from the DFAT Direct Aid Program, was now completed. Students from Swan Christian College had visited this facility during their time in Sagay, Negros Occidental, the Philippines.