21 April 2021
PH career consulate in Melbourne
officially opens its doors
The permanent office of the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne is now officially open.
In simple but solemn ceremonies held last April 17, the Consulate organized a Launch and Blessing of its permanent office, coupled with an Art Exhibit featuring the late Joel Magpayo, a prominent and multi-awarded Filipino-Australian painter.
The event was attended by nearly a hundred leaders and members of Victoria-based Filipino-Australian community organizations, as well as present and former honorary consular officers. Ambassador Ma. Hellen Dela Vega flew in from Canberra to grace the occasion. She was joined by Maria Vamvakinou, Federal Member of Parliament for Calwell, and Andrew Cumpston, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) State Office for Victoria, as guests of honor.
Monsignor Joselito Asis, Melbourne’s Episcopal Vicar for Catholic Migrants and Refugees, officiated the blessing of the premises.
In her remarks, Ambassador De la Vega said the establishment of a permanent career consular office in Melbourne is “a reflection of the importance that the Philippine Government places on our Comprehensive Partnership with Australia,” a close neighbour and longstanding partner in the region. She said “this is a testament to the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Ambassador De la Vega also cited the historic significance of Melbourne – where President Manuel L. Quezon and Gen. Douglas McArthur briefly sought refuge at the start of the Second World War – in the enduring Philippines-Australia friendly relations.
“It is indeed timely that the launch and official blessing of the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne is held during the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Australia this year,” she said.
Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo, in her brief welcome address, called the event “an auspicious and happy day,” as after more than three decades of succession by Philippine honorary consular officers, the Philippine government decided to reopen a full career consular mission in this part of Australia.”
It was also a unique occasion, she said, as it brought together for the first time the leaders of Filipino regional communities in such areas as Gippsland, Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton, Bendigo and Warnambool. She added, “we may have different interests and priorities but I hope we can have more platforms to collaborate and enjoy together.”
Both MP Vamvakinou and Director Cumpston lauded the establishment of the Consulate in Melbourne as a much-anticipated development for Filipinos in the region and a manifestation of the stronger ties between the two countries.
A second highlight of the event was the official opening of The Art of Joel Magpayo, a retrospective exhibition consisting of 23 art works selected from decades of the artist’s full-time devotion to painting. Post used the occasion to pay tribute to the pioneering Filipino-Australian artist, who passed away last year at age 79.
Joel Magpayo Jr., the artist’s oldest son, spoke for the family and thanked the Consulate and the Filipino community for the honor bestowed on his father and their patronage of Filipino art.
The twin events were held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Philippines-Australia diplomatic relations.
At the event, the Consulate also formally launched its official website, https://melbournepcg.dfa.gov.ph, and its online appointment system. The Consulate’s online presence seeks to improve its efficiency and public access to relevant information and services.
The Consulate said it has been receiving very favourable feedback from the Filipino community on its new office, which offers great comfort and convenience to clients and guests.
The property is a 660-square meter office space on Level 10 of 257 Collins Street, a commercial building conveniently located in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD).
The Consulate covers the states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in its consular jurisdiction.
(See Photos Below)
Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Maria Hellen B. De La Vega, addresses the audience.
Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo delivers the welcome remarks.