by Manny Diel
Internationally, Haiyan (Yolanda) Super Typhoon, the deadliest tropical cyclone that hard hit Leyte, Samar and other parts of Eastern, Central and Western Visayas on 7 November was on top of the list. According to Wikipedia it killed at least 6,195, 1785 missing, a damage of $1.5 Billion USD, affected about 11 million people and left many, homeless. The millions and probably billions of foreign aid from many countries, the United Nations and Charitable organisations worldwide just kept on pouring in. The response from the worldwide Filipino community, particularly in Australia has also been phenomenal.
For many Filipinos, however, the 10 Billion Pesos PORK BARREL SCAM, eclipsed the major events after two whistleblowers, Benhur Luy and Merlina Sunas made history on 3 October of exposing the decades of illegal use of Public Funds through the alleged mastermind Janet Lim– Napoles. What started as a family dispute between cousins over money matters and double dealing, later became the subject of a major investigation from the National Bureau of Investigation, the Commission of Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman, implicating Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla and many more government officials. The investigation is still in progress and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago in her recent privilege speech in the Senate implicated Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as the real mastermind. Investigation is still in progress.
On a positive note, many Filipinos made history in the international scene with wins by Miss Megan Young, Miss World (Bali, Indonesia) out of 127 contestants, Miss Bea Rose Santiago, Miss International (Tokyo Japan), out of 72 contestants, Miss Ariella Arida, 3rd Runner up, Miss Universe (Moscow, Russia) out of 86 contestants .
In boxing Mr Manny (PACMAN) Pacquiao continued his winning ways by beating Brandon Rios in Macau for the WBO International Welterweight Championship title and dedicated his win to the Filipino people and the Haiyan victims. In golf, Jason Day, a 26 year old Filipino Australian made history by winning the World Cup of Golf for Australia with Adam Scott and also winning his first PGA title in home soil; Team Philippines won the Pyronale 2013 in Germany for its Dragon Fireworks entry.
POPE FRANCIS, the leader of about 1.2 Billion Catholics chosen as Time’s Person of the Year and NELSON MANDELA, the anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, philanthropist 95 year old and President of South Africa (1994 - 1995) passed away on 5 December; and Election of Tony Abbot as the new Prime Minister of Australia beating Kevin Rudd.
In LOCAL NEWS, the following events are some of the highlights:
. The Philippine National Day Ball organised by PCC, NSW in June at Rouse Hill – Former Prime Minister of Australia –Hon. Julia Gillard as special guest of honor and Premier of NSW, Hon Barry O’Farrel and many more dignitaries; .Andres Bonifacio’s 150th Birthday Anniversary Celebration; PASC’s 25th Philippine Grand Fiesta at Fairfield Showground; Moneygram Filipino Night at Pirtek Parramatta Stadium on 7 Dec during A LEAGUE match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Heart; and selection of three community leaders as Communities Ambassadors for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
Wishing all our readers and advertisers, A Happy New Year and a Great 2014.