As the coronavirus began to spread in Australia in March, the community felt the effects with immediate loss of hours and in some cases, job losses. On 29 March, five ladies, Archie Tabut, Marie Roxas, Stefanie Bacanto Chung, Elena Hofmayer and Liz Quimora decided to create a group chat to support Filipinos on a temporary visa, particularly international students.

Within hours, the ladies noticed dozens of students signing up to receive a food pack, and thus they acted immediately to form a group to support the growing number of students who needed support. The ladies registered their group, naming themselves 5Bs Humanitarian Incorporated. The 5B’s stands for Braveheart, Beneficent, Bighearted, Bounteous, and Brotherly.

In the first lockdown of April and May, deliveries of groceries and cooked meals occurred on most nights throughout the week throughout the suburbs of Melbourne. Their mission has been to continue and nurture the students to help them to find a job to be able to continue their study, graduate and obtain their Permanent Residency, as well as to ensure that the students would not go hungry.

5B’s currently comprises of the following team members: Liz Quimora – President, Elena Hofmayer – Vice President, Maffie Villarba – Secretary, John Rey Sadlucap – Treasurer, Modesto Trillado and Rodel Dimaunahan – PRO, Ruby Marquez – Auditor. Other people assisting in various roles include: Gen Estabillo, Edita Jacinto Delos Reyes, Shela Mae De Gracia, Gil Estabillo, Scott Williams Ficnerski, in conjunction with the assistance of the two advisers Oscar Danga and Alex Sy.

The team proceeded to provide assistance to 20 students that contracted COVID-19 during the peak of the second wave in Victoria. 5B’s also trained a number of students in cleaning and gardening to support them with temporary work and some income. They also provided free food and temporary accommodation for four students as part of their Adopt a Student program.

The non-profit organisation is supported by organisations such as the Freemasons, Manila Bakery, Merchants Manila, Cebuano Association through Alex Sy’s collaboration, PUSO, Good Vibes Pilipinas, Pinoy Ako Pinoy Tayo, Pinoy Bilyarista, Pinoy Busog, Rodliz Gen Services, Hofberd Cleaning Products and Iglesia Ni Cristo. The Victorian Government’s CALD Communities Taskforce also provided the group with a $20,000 grant to support the community with emergency food relief.

As of December 2020, 5B’s has supported 1140 students in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. The team plans to extend their support to the elderly, as well as other groups in Australia and the Philippines. The group has already provided some assistance to families devastated by the typhoon Ulysses in Oriental Mindoro in the Philippines.

Sources: https://www.facebook.com/gawadpangulo/posts/4121559354595215


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