Page 2162 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009

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In 2006 Tony Meloto received a Ramon Magsaysay award—Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize—in community leadership, for inspiring Filipinos at home and abroad to take pride in their identity and country. While Gawad Kalinga has been described as the best thing to come out of the Philippines, and the GK model is now being adopted by developing countries around the world, Tony Meloto is considered by many as one of the most compassionate, successful and inspirational men of our times. Having met with Mr Meloto on three separate occasions over the last three days, I fully concur with this description, having seen first hand his ability to inspire those around him and being well aware of the incredible good works that his vision has created in the Philippines, which is now growing around the world.

In Canberra, his inspiration is evidenced by the large, enthusiastic following that has evolved into the Canberra Gawad Kalinga Committee, whose members include Ronnie and Rowena Bautista, Chris and Luz Carlile, Sally Barber, Blesila Carter, Aida Garcia and George Lemon. I should add that a significant number of the committee members are from my home parish, the Corpus Christi parish in Tuggeranong.

On Tuesday night Mr Meloto was able to thank the Canberra committee and recognise the outstanding generosity of Brian O’Donnell, John and Deanna Barilaro and Emilita Kaczerepa with a special Gawad Kalinga appreciation award.

Mr Meloto has gone on to Sydney and Adelaide and will conclude his Australian tour in Victoria, where I understand he will also attend a parliamentary function in his honour. To members who may have missed meeting with Mr Meloto, I commend his organisation to you and seek your support in future functions that will occur in Canberra.

Gawad Kalinga organisation

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6:56): I wholeheartedly support Mr Doszpot’s words, for early this week I too had the pleasure of learning about the great work undertaken by Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga is a transformational organisation that brings hope and opportunity to thousands, if not millions, of people throughout the world.

The founder of the organisation, Tony Meloto, is an inspiration to all and we were very fortunate to have him address a gathering here at the ACT Legislative Assembly. He spoke about his motivation for setting up the organisation, the partnerships he has formed and the achievements his organisation has recorded.

Gawad Kalinga, translated, means simply to give care. The organisation started work in one of the poorest parts of one of the poorest countries in the world, the Philippines. Gawad Kalinga stepped in when the government did not and has helped to transform some of the slum areas of the Philippines.

The organisation builds basic concrete steel-frame houses to replace the cardboard boxes and galvanised sheets that are used by slum dwellers. The construction of these houses is made possible through the generous support of landowners, sponsors,

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