APBC Director and CSR Chair Nicole Forrest Green recently paid a courtesy call on the new Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Amanda Gorely, at the Australian Embassy in Manila.
Nicole was warmly received by Ambassador Gorely who had just presented her credentials to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Malacañang Palace in an official ceremony, having commenced her new role on January 11, 2016.
Nicole also met with Embassy Staff, including Australia’s Defense Attaché, the Senior Trade Commissioner, and the International Aid and Development Specialist, an important portfolio for Australia in the region.
A career diplomat, Ambassador Gorely confirmed her commitment to the Australia-Philippines relationship an important regional, historic, and trading partner.
Ambassador Gorely also advised that prior to her posting, she had led crisis response teams to the Philippines on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during the time of Typhoon Haiyan. She has also served as Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Niue (2009-2012) and as Deputy Permanent Representative to Australia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (2002-2005). She has held the positions of First Secretary to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (1997-2000).
Nicole was impressed by the level of investment in the Philippines from Australian companies such as Telstra, already with a strong local presence but now close to finalizing a joint-venture deal with local conglomerate San Miguel, in a bid to become the nation’s third internet service provider. The population of the Philippines is estimated at just over 100 million people with a rising middle class and GDP in the July-September quarter 2015 of 6%.
An admirer of General Douglas MacArthur, Nicole could not leave the Philippines without a trip to Corregidor. Her father was an RAAF officer during WWII stationed in New Guinea.
Filipino soldiers fought bravely alongside their US and Australian counterparts defending Manila from both Bataan and the Island of Corregidor where President Quezon and General MacArthur had moved the Philippine Government and military headquarters on December 24, 1941.
By April 9, 1942 allied Filipino forces surrendered to the Japanese in Bataan. Corregidor then received the full bombardment of the Japanese before General Jonathan Wainwright surrendered on May 6, 1942 holding out however for five months. This resistance did allow the allies to rebuild their forces in Australia and eventually take back Asia, to win the War in the Orient. Corregidor and the Bataan Peninsula are known as symbols of eternal courage and fortitude.