Impromptu Speech by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
20 October 2015
• Honourable Leopoldo Dominco Petilla, Governor, Province of Leyte
• Honourable Carlo Loreto, Vice Governor, Province of Leyte
• Honourable Remedios Petilla, Mayor of Palo
• Lieutenant General Ernesto Carolina, AFP (ret), Administrator, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
• Veterans, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
MAGANDANG UMAGA PO SA INYONG LAHAT!
MAUPAY NGA UDTO HA IYO NGATANAN!
Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words at this impressive Testimonial Luncheon.
Today’s Liberation events remind me of the enduring friendship that Australia and the Philippines share in both good times and in bad.
We stood alongside our Filipino comrades 71 years ago, just as we did two years ago after Typhoon Yolanda.
Earlier this month, I boarded Her Majesty’s Australian Ship, the HMAS Arunta, as it steamed towards the Port of Subic Bay. The first HMAS Arunta took part in the Landing along with several other Australia ships. Just like their predecessors, the crew aboard the latest Arunta were very keen to work alongside their Philippine Navy comrades and enjoyed five days of naval drills and sporting events.
On Australia Day this year, I was proud to announce that Australia would donate two Landing Craft Heavy Ships to the Philippine Navy to assist in recovery during times of adversity.
The two vessels, BRP IVATAN and BRP BATAK, arrived in Manila on 7 August and were soon put to work delivering relief goods to Poro Port in San Fernando City, La Union, distributing aid to over 13,000 families affected by Typhoon “Ineng” in Ilocos Norte and Abra.
During this year’s State of the Nation Address, His Excellency President Aquino announced that the Philippine Navy would soon take possession of a further three Landing Craft Heavy from Australia.
I am delighted that these very versatile vessels will soon be put to good use in the Philippines.
Resilience is the enduring memory that I will always cherish when I think of those who were affected by typhoon Yolanda. The same resilience that was demonstrated by the wonderful Veterans whom we honour here today, to overcome adversity, no matter how difficult the challenge.
There now stands a memorial at MacArthur Landing to ensure that generations to come do not forget the contribution made by Australians in the Liberation of the Philippines 71 years ago.
It also stands as a reminder that Australia and the Philippines have an enduring friendship, for the good times and the bad.
MABUHAY ANG VETERANS!
MABUHAY ANG PILIPINAS!
MARAMING, MARAMING SALAMAT PO!
DAMO NGA SALAMAT HA IYO NGATANAN!