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News and Views of the
Filipino Community Worldwide
Answering the call for help


By Linda Esguerra
Rockhampton- Queensland-Australia
February 21, 2012



Local Filipino-Australian community organisations in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, led by Linda Esguerra, Executive Director of Volunteers Without Borders and Member of the Board of Couples For Christ ANCOP Australia, and Remy Conway, Vice President of Central Queensland Filipino Australian Association, have engaged the support of Rockhampton Regional Council in answering a call for help by residents of the recently earthquake affected areas in the Philippines.
Medical Supplies for Marina Mission at Negros Oriental are being received by representatives of Volunteers Without Borders. Featured from L-R are: Chris Phillips Strategic Manager, Community Standards & Compliance, Rockhampton Regional Council; Remy Conway, Vice President of Central Queensland Filipino-Australian Association and leader of CFC HOLD Rockhampton; Deputy Mayor Rose Swadling, Rockhampton Regional Council; and Linda Esguerra, Executive Director of Volunteers Without Borders and Member of the Board, CFC ANCOP Australia.

More than 5,000 syringes, 12,000 needles, thermometer probe covers, stethoscope ear piece replacements, tape, 14 oxygen masks, CPR kit, and other general medical supplies, which are left over from the school based immunisation program, are on their way to the Marina Mission Clinic located in Dauin, Negros Oriental, a community outreach program of Silliman University Medical Centre, operated by volunteers from the medical and allied health professions.

Negros Oriental was recently ravaged by a 6.5 earthquake. More than 300 residents lost their lives and thousands more have lost their homes and are now living in evacuation centres.

Chair of the Community Development and Customer Service Committee, Councillor Rose Swadling reflects on helping those who are in need of assistance: “During the 2010/2011 floods the local community, together with national and international community helped the Rockhampton Region during our time of need. The support they provided was instrumental in helping our community get back on its feet quicker than expected,” Cr Swadling said.

“This is our chance as a community and as a Council to give back and provide assistance where it is needed, and with the recent disaster in the Philippines, the medical equipment we are providing could be the difference between life and death.”

Volunteers Without Borders conduct programs to alleviate and advocate the needs of less fortunate members of society. Enquiries: Linda Esguerra 617 – 49212824 or 61-409472404

About  the author, Linda Esguerra

Linda has been an Australian Citizen for 23 years. Coming from a poor background in the Philippines, she strived to obtain proper education that propelled her career to great heights. She was accorded the honour and trust by the Philippine Government by appointing her Philippine Pavilion Manager at EXPO ’88 in Brisbane, and was Assistant to the Philippine Minister for Trade and Industry, when she decided to open a new opportunity for her family by migrating to Australia.

Whilst currently engaged in a full time job, she makes time to provide volunteer work in various community organizations such as Member of Crime Stoppers, and attributed to having organized the first Walk Against Crime in Rockhampton, and recently received the Ruby Award for her continuous volunteer service to the program. As member of the Rockhampton South Pastoral Council, Linda organized and initiated a community shared meal every third Sunday of the month at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, thus engaging and forging closer community relationship; it is through this work that she has been personally invited by Bishop Brian Heenan to join the Diocesan Pastoral Council for the Region.

She is also an active member of the Indigenous Catholic Ministry in Rockhampton, and well appreciated by the Indigenous Elders for her commitment to the program. Linda is an active volunteer in 4YOU, Rockhampton’s community radio station, having served as Secretary and now Member of the Management Committee as well as presentor and coordinator of the Ethnic Program. She is the co-organiser of the Women-on-the-Go Breakfast Group, a composite group of women from various disciplines and background, who meet regularly once a month, to share perceptions and draw initiatives that will benefit the community.

She also volunteers her time as member of the organizing committee of the ever-successful Annual Multicultural Festival in Rockhampton. Her passion for helping the poorest of the poor is reflected in her commitment to Gawad Kalinga (GK), a global organization that provides holistic approach to shelter, education, health, livelihood and environment for the poor. In the last five years, she has organized missions to conduct advocacy for the poor in the most disadvantaged areas in the Philippines, participating in build and immersion programs that enhance the lives not only of the beneficiaries but also the participants. Most recently, she has published a book on prose and poetry, “Spirit Reborn”, to raise funds for GK.

Her contribution to community development was recognized when she took the Individual Achievement Award during the 2010 Harmony Day Celebration in Central Queensland. She was also nominated to the 2012 Australia Award.

Linda is co-founder of Volunteer Without Border, which boasts of members from different cultural background and professional disciplines.

 

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