The Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment (FAME) was officially launched last 12 June 2008 to coincide with the celebration of the 110th Anniversary of Philippine Independence. Guests who attended were overwhelmed with pride as the silent Filipino achievers were recognized in a special presentation. Most of them were not even known in the community. Congratulatory remarks flowed in from “Thank you for a most uplifting night. One could feel a great atmosphere of hope and optimism.” to “I felt so proud to be a Filipino.”
Achievers present on the night included: Michael Arraiza, the only one in Australasia certified to handle the most expensive timepieces in the world; Janelle Arraiza, millennium awardee who broke swimming records; Chloe Galea, international dance champion; Nathan Greentree, music scholar who has performed at the Sydney Opera House; and artists Jun Caingat and Maryanne Ruff, whose paintings have become landmarks in Sydney.
Consul General Theresa Lazaro was most impressed with the presentation of Filipino achievers and exclaimed: “That was really good to project Filipinos in good light.”
Councillor Irene Ensomo-Broad, Councillor of Temora Shire, the first Filipina ever to be elected to public office delivered her inspirational speech that encouraged Filipinos to move beyond their boundaries and to grab the opportunities that came their way.
The official launching ceremony included the signing of a commemorative certificate by the interim officers of FAME Cesar Bartolome (Chair) together with Bobby Lastica (Vice-Chair), Rod Dingle (Secretary), David Isaac (Treasurer) and Dennis Laxamana (Auditor). The signing was witnessed by the Hon. Consul General Lazaro, the Hon. Roger Price, MP, representing the Prime Minister of Australia and Councillor Irene Broad. “We have raised the bar and we were able to project the image of the Filipinos in good light,” said Chairperson, Cesar Bartolome. “We have the momentum and we can only hope that we have set a trend for others to follow.” he added.
FAME, which is a non partisan group, hopes to push Filipinos to the forefront. It is a lobby and advocacy group which aims to encourage Filipino Australians to actively participate in the social, educational, professional, economics and most of all, in the political arena of mainstream Australia. It encourages individual participation at the grassroots level with membership and organizational structure similar to the barangays in the Philippines.