Australian Embassy
The Philippines

LGU declares May 24 each year as Australia-Misamis Occidental Friendship Day; Australian Ambassador as adopted son


(Oroquita City – 24 May 2006) – May 24 every year has been declared by the Provincial Government of Misamis Occidental as Australia-Misamis Occidental Friendship Day. The province also has a new citizen – Australian Ambassador Tony Hely.

In a public ceremony held at the Provincial Capitol today, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan presented to Ambassador Hely two resolutions declaring May 24 every year as Australia-Misamis Occidental Friendship day and Ambassador Hely as an adopted son of the province.

The resolutions were presented by Governor Leo Ocampos and Vice Governor Francisco Paylaga Jr, and witnessed by Misamis Occidental officials, including Congressman Ernie Clarete, Congresswoman Herminia Ramiro, members of the Provincial Board, city and municipal mayors, PNP and AFP officials, chambers of commerce presidents, and representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs).

The resolutions recognize Australia’s contributions in providing technical and financial assistance to various local initiatives promoting good governance, sustainable livelihoods, and improvement of infrastructures through various projects funded by the Australian Government, through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

In accepting the resolutions, Ambassador Hely said, “The honours awarded by Misamis Occidental to Australia further strengthen the people-to-people relations between our two countries. The awards come at a time when were are celebrating the 60th anniversary of formal ties between the Philippines and Australia.”

Misamis Occidental is one of the priority provinces of the Australian aid program in the Philippines, with four major aid programs being implemented in the province.

The Philippines-Australia Local Sustainability Program (PALS), with an Australian grant of A$34.3 Million from 1999 to 2009, is assisting the local government units (LGUs) of Misamis Occidental in promoting effective governance and participatory resource planning processes between the LGUs and their constituents. PALS is assisting the provincial and municipal governments and communities in developing and managing sustainable livelihood projects, providing essential infrastructure such as rural water supply and farm-to-market roads, and advocating for environmental laws, protection and technologies.

The Philippines-Australia Human Resource Development Facility (PAHRDF) provides short and long term scholarships and training to Philippine institutions and instrumentalities, including to Misamis Occidental. PAHRDF has trained provincial officials and staff, including NGOs, in the areas of human resource development and management, basic services delivery, land resource development and management, and institutional strengthening of the technical team of the Provincial Working Group on Water and Sanitation. In early January 2006, two employees of the provincial government were sent to Australia to undertake a graduate diploma on agricultural and crop research.

The Philippines-Australia Technical Support to Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (PATSARRD) is assisting the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in delivering its services to rural communities involved in land administration and distribution program in selected provinces, including Misamis Occidental. PATSARRD provides training on livelihood and productivity enhancement, as well as seed fund to farmers engaging in innovative off-farm entrepreneurial activities.

The Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP) supports community-initiated, economically sustainable, ecologically sound and gender responsive development projects through financial assistance and multi-level capability building in partnership with LGUs, NGOs and people’s organisations. PACAP has allocated around A$2 million to the Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park Development Program, Save Labo River Program, Iligan Bay Coastal Resource Management and Development Program, and Coconut Industry Rehabilitation and Development Program. #