Twenty-four future leaders and change agents from the Philippines were awarded the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships, the international development scholarship program of the Australian Government. The Filipino awardees are set to leave for Australia in June 2013 to pursue postgraduate studies in Australia’s premier universities.

“We are delighted with the quality of awardees from the Philippines; aside from being the best and the brightest in their respective fields, their passion to spark change in the Philippines is inspiring. Australia Awards Scholarships will give the awardees the opportunity to hone their skills and competencies so they can further contribute to Philippine development,” says Erika Montero-Geronimo, program manager, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-Australian Aid.

The Filipino awardees, who came from both the public and private sectors, are expected to return to the Philippines after their postgraduate programs to implement their re-entry action plans (REAP).  REAP is a unique feature of the Philippine program, which enables awardees to use their Australian education to implement development programs in the Philippines upon their return.

Some of the notable REAPs of returning awardees include the E-barangay Accounting System in the City’s Accountant’s Office of Davao, developed by Eric Gabia, an awardee from the City Government of Davao; and the Happy Fish Kids, an after-school care centre in a remote fishing village in Davao Oriental, organised by Roy Ponce, an awardee from Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology.

Since the 1950s thousands of Filipinos have been awarded the Australia Awards Scholarships and have implemented development programs in their communities or workplaces. The Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-Australian Aid, has been assisting the Philippines through Australia Awards Scholarships, which is considered a development tool to help improve the human resource base of the Philippines.

To prepare the 24 awardees for student life in Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-Australian Aid organised a three-day pre-departure briefing where the awardees further defined their REAPs. The 24 awardees will bring the number of 2013 Australia Awards Scholarships recipients from the Philippines to 129.

For more information on Australia Awards Scholarships, visit

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