Leleth Sorono was inducted as the first president of the Association of the Filipino Community of Warwick and Surrounds at a Christmas party on December 15 Christmas Party
Leleth Sorono was inducted as the first president of the Association of the Filipino Community of Warwick and Surrounds at a Christmas party on December 15 Christmas Party Michael Nolan

New group brings togetherness, resilience and great food

IF THE Southern Downs is to reach its ambitious target of adding 1000 jobs to the local economy, then newly arrived immigrants must form part of that workforce.

To support this process the Filipino community in Warwick formed an association and inducted its executive committee at a Christmas party on Saturday.

Leleth Sorono was elected president.

"After the Philippines Independence Day celebrations earlier this year there was a clamour for an association,” Mrs Sorono said.

"We recently established the Association of the Filipino Community of Warwick and Surrounds. "

The 2016 Census recorded 0.9 per cent of Warwick residents were born in the Philippines, making them the third largest migrant community, behind arrivals from England and New Zealand.

A further 0.9-1.1 per cent of residents list one of their parents as born in the Philippines.

Mrs Sorono said the association would support new arrivals and promote the unique Filipino culture to the wider community.

"We have very strong family values. It is very normal for children over the age of 21 (to be) living at the parent's house, even if they are married,” she said. "We want to be together all the time, and when we party, there is heaps of food.

"The Filipinos are fun-loving people who are very resilient. Think of how many storms have devastated the Philippines. Filipinos will just rise up, put a smile on their faces and have a positive disposition. We're always hopeful the future will be better for us. I think that positive attitude is a good value to instil in our children.”

Southern Downs Councillor Neil Meiklejohn was at the Christmas party to support the new executive and said the council identified the Philippines as a source of increased migration.

"High on the list are Filipinos because we already have a strong Filipino community here,” he said.

"We'll try have more Filipinos come here to live, work and play.”



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