Republic of the Philippines

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PHL Ambassador highlights importance of Filipinos in dairy sector in Ashburton, New Zealand

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As part of the Philippine Embassy’s priority to reach out to Filipinos in various sectors in New Zealand, promote their welfare and well-being as well recognize their vital roles and contributions to nation-building in the Philippines and New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez interacted with the officers and members of the Filipino Dairy Workers in New Zealand (FDWNZ) and members of the Filipino community in Ashburton, South Island on 13 July 2013. A “Seminar on the Progression in the Dairy Industry” was organized by FDWNZ as part of its information sharing and skills development programmes. Mr. Neil Molina, a Farm Manager at Concept Holding in Ranfurly who won the Best Farm Manager of the Year from Otago during the Dairy Industry Awards in Balchutha on 6 April 2013 shared his experiences and insights on this important sector.

Ms. Maiden Saba, FDWNZ Deputy Chair welcomed Ambassador Benavidez, Mr. Molina and the participants. Ambassador Benavidez acknowledged the vital role that FDWNZ plays in looking after the interests of the Filipino dairy workers in the South Island, mobilizing them for activities and programmes for their benefit and advancement and continuing to be the Philippine Embassy’s partner in linking up with Filipinos in the dairy sector. She reiterated the distinct recognition and appreciation of the leaders and people of New Zealand to the hugely important contributions of Filipinos in the dairy farms throughout the country, the growing trade relationship with the Philippines as the second biggest destination for New Zealand dairy exports and the prospects for broadening partnership with the dairy cooperative project between the two countries. She congratulated Mr. Molina again for being an exemplary Filipino in the dairy industry and called on the Filipino dairy workers to continue upgrading their knowledge and skills and excelling in their respective roles and responsibilities. Ambassador Benavidez also informed them about the Philippine Embassy’s mobile consular mission in Oamaru, South Island in August to enable the Filipinos and their families in the dairy farms, offices, businesses and other places avail of various consular services on site and save considerable time, money and day off.

In his presentation, Mr. Molina talked about his early years and entry into dairy farming in New Zealand and how he and his family have learned to adjust into the way of life of the local community. He shared the opportunities and challenges in working in the farm as well as lessons learned along the way. Emphasizing the importance of hard work, dedication, patience, persistence and passion in pursuing one’s dream and goals, Mr. Molina showed in concrete terms the gradual progress he has made in advancing his position and financial returns in the dairy industry availing of incentives and loans available to dairy farmers. Together with his wife, Mr. Molina is also managing their equity investments in the dairy farm to secure their family’s future. Before ending his talk, Mr. Molina gave useful advice to fellow Filipino workers in the dairy sector so they too can attain their goals, develop their business skills and rise up in the various stages to eventually become share milkers and investors in the dairy industry.

Ambassador Benavidez presented Certificates of Recognition to Mr. Molina and FDWNZ for their excellent work and exemplary contributions to the development and upliftment of Filipino dairy workers and the dairy industry in New Zealand and the Philippines.

It was an evening that proved enlightening and informative for Filipino dairy workers and their families. Ambassador Benavidez and Mr. Molina thanked FDWNZ and the participants for a successful Seminar.

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