Pinoy students in Australia form nationwide network

MELBOURNE—Filipino students from across Australia have formalised forming a national association to be of service to compatriots studying in the country.

Establishing the Filipino-Australian Association of Student Councils for Empowerment towards National Development (FilOz ASCEND) was inked after a two-day workshop held in the city. FilOz ASCEND is initially comprised of state-wide student groups from Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, and South Australia.

Left to right: Ethel D. Villafranca, President of the Filipino-Australian Student Council of Victoria (FASTCO); Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, Representative of the Philippine Union of Students in Adelaide (PUSA); Neilsen T. Campit (Director for Organisational Development and Identity, FASTCO); Christian Benedict G. Roaquin, Representative of the Queensland Filipino Youth Association (QFYA); Jacky-Lou T. Maestre (Member, FASTCO); Jason V. Alacapa, Chairperson of the Filipino Student Council of New South Wales (NewFil Council); Christopher James R. Cabuay, President of the Australian National University Filipino Association (ANUFA); and Jaime Sebastian J. Narciso (Representative, QFYA).

Eventually other state-wide groups of Filipino students in Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory will complete FilOz ASCEND’s roster.

This marks the first time a country-wide group of Filipino students —be it those in university (undergraduate to post-graduate) or technical education (or TAFE)— is formed. Filipino students organise themselves —be it formally or informally— into university-wide groups across the country.

A transition group is currently laying the groundwork to prepare for the formal launch of FilOz ASCEND in the first quarter of 2019.

The Filipino-Australian Student Council of Victoria (FASTCO) hosted the two-day workshop that formalised FilOz ASCEND. A 2017 national summit of Filipino students leaders, also organised by FASTCO, jumpstarted discussions to form a nationwide alliance.

A signing of a memorandum of agreement formalising FilOz ASCEND capped off the July 13-14 workshop held at The University of Melbourne.

Representatives from South Australia, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, and Australia Capital Territory sign memorandum of understanding to form FilOz ASCEND.