His Excellency Steven J. Robinson AO, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines visited Gensan and spent a 2 1/2-day full packed appointment schedule together with his embassy officials namely Counsellor James Yeomans, Second Secretary Jarrah Tippet-Moore, Third Secretary Alexander O’hara and the Portfolio Manager Rollie dela Cruz.
The main purpose of the visit was to reiterate Australia’s commitment to help General Santos City in its vaccine roll-out through their donation to the Covax Facility, at the same time celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Philippines and Australia, through Tree Planting of 75 trees in Gensan.
The Planting Activity is actually the project of the Australian Global Alumni. These Alumni studied in Australia either in short term or long term courses, including post graduate degrees. In Gensan, we are blessed to have 30 Australian Global Alumni. Some of the Alumni joined us during the planting of seven (7) trees with the Ambassador at Plaza Heneral Santos last September 2, 2021. Another sixty (68) trees will be planted on September 10, 2021 at the CP Garcia Park ( Oval Plaza) to complete the 75 trees commemorating the 75 years of friendship. The City Government Department Heads, Assistant Department Heads, and the Executive Assistants will plant the trees at Oval Plaza, with special participation of the Socsksargen Fishing Federation and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFAII) and the Pioneers- Descendants of General Paulino Santos, Inc (TPDGSCI) who will also join us in tree planting on the same date.
The Ambassador was warmly received by the IDRS Staff while the Gensan Performing Arts Company – Choir Division rendered the “Gensan Welcome Song” for the Ambassador and his Party. His Excellency was met by Hon. Maria Lourdes F. Casabuena who represented the City Mayor, CMO Chief of Staff Dave R. Arreglado, CEMCDO Department Head Leonard V. Flores, and CEMCDO Assistant Department Head Jose Kevin Z. Sienes at the City Mayor’s Conference Room for the Courtesy Call.
The Ambassador’s visit couldn’t be complete without a stop at Gensan’s Fishport. There, he was warmly received by the PFDA Officials headed by Mr. Paris Ayon, the Chief Admin Officer. While on tour at the fishport, the Ambassador recorded his video for his keynote speech during the Tuna Festival Opening Program for September 5, 2021.
While SFFAII ( Socsksargen Fishing Federation and Allied Industries, Inc) elected their new set of officers for the year 2021-2023, their Induction Officers Ceremony was also attended by the Ambassador with his Special Message .
The Ambassador also met other officials such as the PRO XII, PNP, the Mayor of Alabel, the Governor of Sarangani, Vice Mayor Loreto Acharon and Hon. Pedro Acharon,Jr. and Rochelle Mahinay-Sero of DILG on separate meeting schedules. Before flying back to Manila, the Ambassador humbly submitted himself for a TV Interview “Crosstalk” at Brigada TV.
Next year, the Ambassador promised to come back to promote their scholarships and offer more opportunities to deserving Generals . We also invited him to raise the flag of Australia, in time for the Launching of our Sisterhood Lane Project, probably by January of 2022. The Australian Flag he gave us, will be the same flag he will raise next year.
The Sisterhood Ties between Gensan and Katherine Town, in Northern Territory, Australia added to the already strong bilateral relationship between our two countries. ###(Maria Cora Tito/IDRS)