A very interesting and interactive morning with Mr. Harvey Cabug, President of the North Island in Filipino Farmers Association in New Zealand
It was a very interesting, insightful and interactive morning of 13 November 2014 when Mr. Harvey Cabug, President of the newly formed North Island Filipino Farmers Association (NIFFA) and Mr. Rustan Talampas called on Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez at the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. They shared the good news that NIFFA, composed of Filipinos in the dairy and agriculture sectors in the North Island have come together in the spirit of “bayanihan” (volunteerism and helping one another) to undertake projects and activities for charitable, educational, skills upgrading and training purposes. He highlighted NIFFA’s advocacies, services and networking to respond to its members’ concerns, problems and needs and the continuing assistance being extended to Filipinos especially those who have just arrived in New Zealand and are still in the process of adjusting to the way of life and work in the farms. Mr. Cabug invited Ambassador Benavidez to grace the Association’s formal oath taking of its officers and Christmas gathering next month and conveyed NIFFA’s readiness to assist and support the Embassy’s programmes for the welfare and well-being of Filipinos in the North Island. Ambassador Benavidez informed Mr. Cabug and Mr. Talampas that the Philippine Embassy would be conducting its first Mobile Consular Services together with the Legal Orientation Seminar of the Philippine Consulate General in Auckland for 2015 for the benefit of Filipinos in Tokoroa and the adjacent areas in the North Island in January next year. Mr. Cabug and Mr. Talampas were happy to learn about this much needed and deeply appreciated mobile consular service and legal orientation seminar and offered to assist the Philippine Embassy Team accordingly.
In reply to Ambassador Benavidez’s queries, they talked about their experiences in the dairy sector in New Zealand and their training in the Philippines with the Batangas Christian Dairy Foundation, Inc. of Pastor Roger Alcantara. Mr. Cabug also described the dairy farms and practices at the Almarai in Saudi Arabia and other aspects of the work and lives of Filipino dairy and agricultural farmers in the Waikato region. Ambassador Benavidez advised them to network with relevant agencies and authorities in New Zealand and their counterpart Filipino organizations such as the Filipino Dairy Workers in New Zealand, groups and individuals in the dairy and agriculture sectors in the South Island.
Ambassador Benavidez extended the Philippine Embassy’s congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Cabug and NIFFA officers and members as they carry out their organization’s mission and vision. “The vital contributions and services of the Filipinos in the farms are distinctly acknowledged and deeply appreciated by the leaders and people of New Zealand and the Philippines,” she stated.