The Continuing APCO SAGA
Since the time the Unification Movement began and ended with a paper reconciliation between PCC and APCO and problems reignited once again with the latter’s controversy-laden election of new office bearers, everything seems to have been polarised, literally dividing the APCO alliance into two sharply opposing factions.
Metaphorically speaking, what befell APCO is akin to the whiskered bamboo fairy tale splitting into two-halves, a two-ness not in the persons of Malakas or Maganda but in the characters of Madame Escultura and Madame Paras, two lady Presidents fighting for APCO Presidency thus splitting the organization into pro- this and anti—that, like two souls with two thoughts and two conflicting ideals in the once wholesome but now split “dark” body.
“It is not the act itself that is salvific, the disposition alone is what saves.”
Despite this rather bleak scenario some beautiful people emerged and so I dedicate the self-concocted quotable quote above to these special people. It is a giant effort to pay tribute to the following dramatic personae who have bravely worn the “masks of the drama” that has been swiftly unfolding before our very eyes, namely:
---to Evelyn Zaragoza, my publisher for inspiring me to join hands with her redemptive efforts towards unification/reconciliation at a time when almost everyone has written it off their minds;
--- to Jhun Salazar for dedicatedly “Fathering” the APCO Inc. that in context, he is best and more suitably befitting to be called one of the true selfless founders and not just allow someone to lay claim to the title as Founding President;
--- to Cora Paras for “for taking up the cudgels of “Mothering a suddenly motherless association usurped by power-hungry false prophets who present themselves in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
----to Benjie de Ubago who has consistently and inexhaustibly conducted investigative reporting in our community unmindful of the fact that the very truth she espouses exposes and hurts some people most often than not;
... to Mesdames Serna Ladia and Elsa Collado, whose womanly virtues, singularity of purpose, and plurality of good deeds spell infinite value to our community at large and provide equanimity against the over-zealous chauvinism in PCC as the one and only peak body in our immediate environs in NSW;
--- to Jimmy Lopez for his ever-readiness to extend a helping hand even if he is always questioned as to the real measure of his vision and mission;
--- and last but not least, to the indefatigable partnership of husband and wife Ruben and Cen Amores for cultivating a culture of impunity and redefining to the community at large, what true leaders are not.
FALLEN OFF THE RADAR
The once seemingly encompassing encroachment of the old powers that be in the realm of APCO Inc. might have totally fallen off the radar but it does not mean that high-intensity conflict between the two divided groups in APCO has stopped raging on.
No longer just a purely internal conflict, pundits and armchair philosophers opine that if this deep-seated social and spiritual malady persists it is likely to blow up into civil conflict considered to be one of the most devastating social phenomena in this whole new world. Suffice it to say, in extreme cases, they often have staggeringly unimaginable tolls and toils we do not even wish to think of.
Trouble is, the ego beckons, and ambition pushes people to forge ahead. No they will not just bow out and give the floor to the other party.
Just witness the spate of things like the especially unpleasant stuff which has become the order of the day – a large number of them happening or appearing one after the other in a blink of an eye.
An example is the continuing series of damning testimonies emanating from the Escultura-Amores camp condemning the Paras-Salazar group. Initially the latter refused to dignify the former’s pronouncements and just fanning off the flames and venom in such broadly indiscriminate and wholesale exaggerated public announcements they have reduced to empty boasts and threats.
However, the atmosphere has been so tense and emotionally charged so much so that the state of affairs has been placed in agitation or turmoil with resentments seething and simmering between rivals.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
For a while, it was all quiet on the Western front, an old colloquial expression that comes to mind to suggest the stagnation, or lack of visible change or definitive action in APCO affairs.
It took all of six months. Whereas in the beginning, the Paras-Salazar position was wont to take things gently, morally, and constitutionally. They lingered on the side of safety and chose to ignore what the other camp was doing in favor of something more important to them which is the over-all pooling of resources, strategies, and means. They believe that Escultura-Amores grouping will pass with flying colours or that methodically they were giving the other party enough rope to hang themselves with. Sooner or later they may fall into obscurity or simply disappear from public view
The wise men of the Escultura-Amores camp outwitted them. Moving so fast, they consolidated forces, elected new officers and totally revoked the memberships of Paras, Salazar, Hayward and Price whilst radically suspending suspended the others (Trinidad, Ford et al)
Worse, the penny wise, pound foolish Paras-Salazar group awoke to discover one day that the Escultura-Amores group has done it again -- virtually withdrawing much of the hard-earned/saved APCO funds and reopened a new bank account to safety the money they just want to expedite for themselves never to be touched by the Paras-Salazar group.
For its part the aggrieved Paras Salazar group has simultaneously written a letter of demand to Jimmy Lopez to fully liquidate the initial withdrawal of APCO funds to the tune of 13 thous and something. Consequently, they also lodged an official complaint to the bank seeking possible recovery of another 12 thousand that was withdrawn effortlessly by Jimmy Lopez acting as new Treasurer of the new signatories the bank seemed to have approved with complicity not even questioning why the sudden change of signatories when there has been an earlier modus operandi that has caused the bank to freeze the account. A simple phone call to the former set of Paras-Salazar signatories could have been done unless there is some complicity somewhere.
As of this writing we gathered that the Paras-Salazar group is making representations with Fair Trading to set the records straight. Fair dinkum!
THE ‘ACTION’ OF TUMBALONG X_MAS PROJECT SPEAKS LOUDER THAN THE ‘WORDS’ of UNIFICATION in that FAMOUS JOINT STATEMENT that was ALL SOUND and FURY SIGNIFYING NOTHING
Meantime, Christmas is fast approaching.
At the press conference last 10th October at the Philippine Consulate re. the Pasko sa Tumbalong Park we discovered that this annual project is now apparently singularly being pursued by PCC minus their past partner in the initial 3-years of operation, the Department of Trade.
The good news, however, is that PCC is not in principle, entirely going it alone. In more ways than one, there is an exciting bonus featuring the direct participation of newly-elected APCO Inc President Cora Paras as well as Board Director LindaTrinidad as Members of the Committee in-charge of the Choral festival at the same time acting as panel members of the jury substantially stepping up the artistic handling of this new project over and beyond the other standard fares and programs.
At the open forum, I took the liberty to call attention once again to that which I wrote in my September issue editorial specifically owing to what I called a “poignant metaphor” to the act itself of re-electionist Serna Ladia (wearing two hats as PCC President and as a radio broadcaster herself) along with Elsa Collado and Ethel Singson in honouring the invite to the historic press conference held last 4th Sep. by the Paras-Salazar entourage.
This gesture on the part of PCC was being reciprocated by APCO’s full force attendance at the Pasko press conference which to me, vivified a more genuine testament to unification and reconciliation more than the slap bang “perfunctory show” staged at the Consulate with no less than the formerly long- estranged leaders (Amoreses representing APCO) and (PCC past and present leaders) forging a joint statement that was all noise but signified nothing.
Action always speaks louder than words which in this case became meaningless in that it turned out to be a mere show of force engineered by the Consulate to put a dot, ergo, a fitting closure to the PCHN-induced Unification Movement.
ADDITIONAL BOW IN THE ARROW & END OF AUTHORITARIAN RULE
The point I’m driving at that I refer to as a more poignant metaphor of unified relationship is indubitably happening now more than ever between the Cora Paras-Jun Salazar APCO group and the PCC much like an additional bow in the arrow.
More seriously it marks the end of the old authoritarian, dictatorial rule that once characterised APCOS leadership that would not lift a finger nor extend a hand to PCC ever in their lifetime.
That is now a thing of the past. Full stop. .
Along this vein, I suddenly recall the scintillating statement of Jun Salazar when he said that “APCO was not founded by a single individual, and for anyone to claim that she is the founder is a gross misstatement and great insult to many men and women who helped establish APCO from day one. The act of promoting oneself as a founder is a selfish manifestation by someone who needed to bolster an image at the expense of the silent majority in order to gain authority and exert influence over others.”
AMEN. HALLELUIAH, PRAISE THE LORD!
The “priestly” Salazar said it all. But then again, these are mere words. It remains to be seen how the new APCO board can unfetter itself from the clutches and influences of the former regime.
One highly respected community leader has put it succinctly wwhen he opines : " Precisely, the reason why the Amoreses go to great lengths in choosing and anointing the President-cum- loyal surrogate or subordinate is beause they want to hold on to power and control. . Remember that’s exactly what happened to the poor past pawn of a past president, Pet Storey. Good on her she has awakened and found her wits again as to join up with the Paras-Salazar group. “
It is our fervent prayer that this whole brouhaha will end in the best possible way. We repeat the personal question Cora Paras personally emailed to Escultura. “How sure are you that the Amoreses shall be with you all the way?"
True indeed, when push comes to shove, and reality bites, then we experience and chant along with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.”
Again, we await what’s going to happen with tense expectations. (All Rights Reserved)
BEAUTY PAGEANTS GALORE
By Mars Cavestany
Life within the Filipino community won’t be complete without the traditional beauty pageants. In the past month of September alone four beauty pageants reeled off within our midst.
One is spectacularly humongous in scope and production staging being essentially global in nature and is a brainchild of Filipina-Australian who is a nurse by profession and a beauty specialist by trade apart from her unstoppable passion to professionalise the mechanisms of beauty pageants. She is none other than Ms. Cindy Dionisio.
The other must-see events are all integrated with the annual biggest fiesta celebration in NSW (proudly on its 30th year) as institutionalized by Philippine Australian Sports & Culture Inc. celebrating beauty, diversity, talent and intelligence of Filipino-Australian women.
Whereas in the past years the beauty pageant itself was the main event climaxing the Grand Philippine Fiesta Kultura in the evenings, this year, the grand coronation night of Miss Philippines-Australia and Charity Queen Australia 2018 reeled off earlier with the most-coveted title-holder of “Miss Philippines- Australia” representing the Filipino community throughout Australia to the most iconic and wonderfully storied Miss Universe Pageant in our home country Philippines.
Be it a marketing strategy or simply an inevitable expansion move, this year the organizers created a three-pronged competition reviving the long-sought-after crowd favourite “Little Miss Philippines Pageant” on the one hand, as well as adroitly including the hugely popular if controversially exciting search for “Miss Transgender Global Queen, “on the other.
Both events proved to be such a crowd-pleasing and teasing happening for the motley crowd who experienced a double treat on d’ day of the Fiesta celebration.
The Great Divide
TWO IN ONE
Two sets of Board of Directors in one APCO body
By Mars Cavestany
The protracted battle between APCO Inc’s two warring camps -- the Paras-Salazar group versus that of Escultura-Amores – continues to drag for seven months now since its controversy-ridden election of officers in 10 March 2018.
2 BOARDS BOTH CLAIM LEGITIMACY
The first to create a new Board is the Paras-Salazar group following a reshuffle of officers by effectively removing the unconstitutionally appointed President Violetta Escultura and PRO, Ralph Improgo via a Board Resolution-cum-vote of no confidence with matching complaints of abuse of power and authority.
On 26 August 2018 this majority group elected and replaced the two ousted officers with Cora Paras, President and Richard Ford, PRO respectively.
On the other hand, based on its series of coordinated social media pronouncements, the Escultura-Amores group issued one public announcement after another in open defiance of the new Board claiming themselves as the true and legitimate APCO group.
After issuing suspensions and revocations of membership to the Paras-Salazar group, the Escultura-Amores group created an Ad Hoc Committee and hastily submitted a new set of Board of Directors to the Department of Fair Trading, using the DFT’s acknowledgement to make alleged unofficial transactions at the bank practically depleting APCO funds and its coffers running dry.
As of press time, PCHN learned that, APCO’s bank account has been frozen once again following the second alleged contestable withdrawal made by the Escultura-Paras camp. (See related interview story on Page 17 and 41 )
MEMBERSHIPS REVOKED, VICE VERSA
What is more, each camp citing specific provisions of the APCO Constitution has practically revoked the memberships of those who have aligned themselves to the other group, vice versa. .
A public statement on 8th September by Escultura cited the Paras-Salazar group as comprising of a number of “dissenting and dissatisfied officers and members who had been sowing seeds of division and discord among the APCO membership””.
As of 2 Oct. another Escultura statement was circulated in social media declaring her removal as a total disregard of due process thereby “vexatious and frivolous and therefore null and void.”
Thus, the vigilantly unrelenting Escultura issued suspensions to some and absolute revocation of membership to others in emails individually sent to the Paras-Salazar office bearers dated as early as the 13th of September 2018.
The common standard demand in these emails letters “to dispute via the grievance committee in 14 days” fell on deaf ears.
As far as the Paras-Salazar groups is concerned, Escultura’s orders are baseless having been earlier officially stripped of her position and rights as President. Her separate emails to the original Board officials outside of her camp comprising a greater majority who have persisted on functioning in their rightfully elected posts had unanimously ignored and treated Escultura’s marching orders as a “big joke and a great mockery of herself and those who connives with her” They further stated that Escultura’s claim to having been “legitimately elected President at the AGM is fraudulent and gross misrepresentation of the truth.” The quotes are from the open letter of Jun Salazar to Charles Chan (acting as Head of the Grievance Committee in his capacity as Junior VP) as posted by Richard J. Ford, (APCO PRO’s) in his FB account on 17th September.
WHO’s WHO at EACH BOARD?
The new Escultura-Amores Board is now composed of the following with mention of the group(s)/affiliations they represent if not stand-alone as an individual members.
President - Violeta Escultura, Filipino Women Support Group Inc
Senior Vice President - Mariam McCauley, Club Filipino Illawara Inc
Jr Vice President - Charles Chan, Sedgwick Housing Co-operative Ltd
Secretary - Carmen Fraser
Treasurer - Jimmy Lopez, NARRA Co-op Ltd
Auditor - Marissa Collins, Global Ilocanos Australia Inc
PRO - Ralph Improgo
Director - Cora Bojarski, Fil-Oz Liverpool
Director - Emma Braceros, Filipinas Dance Group
Director - Pitz Dorninger, Illawara Filipino and Multicultural Women’s Group
Director - Rose Lay, Filipino Women Support Group
Director - Glorina Papaiannou
Director - Zeny Piosik
Director - Albert Prias, Flagcom
Director - George Torres, Plaza Filipino Inc
Public Officer - Ruben Amores, Kapitbahayan Co-operative Ltd
Adviser - Cen Amores, Kapitbahayan Co-operative Ltd and Past President APCO
Meanwhile, the recently completed Paras-Escultura Board with new officers elected to fill in the gaps during the special meeting held last 21st October at the Marconi Club. There was a motion to remove the 'breakaway' officers on Sept. 16, 2018 because, they were not attending the required meetings and was confirmed on the 21st Oct 2018, when the election of the new officers finally transpired:
President: Cora Paras
VP Senior: Fe Hayward
VP Junior: Jhun Salazar
Secretary: Linda Price
Treasurer: Rita Agostino
Int. Auditor: Mick Miguel
PRO: Richard Ford
Board of Directors:
1. Doug Myers
2. Pet Storey
3. Linda Trinidad
4. Edna Voros
5. Dian Ford
6. Frank Floro
7. Roberto Sacilotto
8. Larry Perez
The Paras-Salazar group is now awaiting the most crucial official response to their complaint letter to set the record straight at the Department of Fair Trading.
As we go to the press, we received copy of Cora Paras' reply to the text sent her and members of her groupwhich we reprint here in full:
On 22nd October 2018 at 11.16pm, an anonymous person sent an unsigned message to me, Jhun Salazar, Richard Ford and others. Below is the complete message. Lucky I copied it straightaway, now it’s been deleted.
“Hi, Jhun Salazar and C. Paras group, what history is being repeated you’re claiming? You can repeat the history by having a different name, create your own logo and start from zero finance. Cora P. didn’t you disagree on the unification and published in E. Zaragosa’s newspaper? What made you change your mind? Is it to become popular like the Amoreses. They work hard and have the brain to think of projects sponsored by the government and not using the publics, contestants and member’s money to go to the P.I. Start from scratch to show and prove to the community how brilliant you are too. Or are you only jealous of the achievements of the original APCO?
The reply of Millie of Kalatas shows her being Christian and moral values – by not dragging others down and keep internal issues within the association. Have you been yet to CJC? Or you’re scared to find out the truth?
I am open and would like my answer to be seen by everyone. Obviously this sender hides behind the screen, to harass and invade people’s privacy in representing the breakaway group – Escultura / Amoreses, hiding behind our backs, lacking Courage to face the Truth and showing their Cowardice and Weakness to cope with the Truth. Finally, by losing the plot and self-control, resulting in tantrums like a spoiled brat.
1. What history? The split and spill history from PCC NSW was because Cen Amores couldn’t accept being defeated (like now) and not welcomed.
2. We will not have a different name, nor create a new logo and the group will need to pay the $12,000.00 back.
3. I did not disagree on the idea of unity. Unification has raised meanings of uniting if you are using your “brilliant” mind. There were options given. I did not agree on the Dissolution of the two (2) Peak Bodies to form One Body. I agreed on the two (2) Bodies staying as is – with own identity but collaborating and working together as a team in carrying out the goals and objectives for the common good. Collaboration, Harmony, Friendship and Teamwork can achieve unity and one voice for the Filipino-Australian Community. I haven’t changed my mind and we have started the harmonizing and team working promise with the PCC NSW and other Organisations.
4. You never see me in front of any newspapers seeking popularity with the Politicians like the Amoreses, Publicity-seeking gestures. I do community work quietly with no flash bulbs and pomposity. Until Cen Amores ran to the Police to file false physical assault charges against me, which have been dismissed as a closed case, a while ago, for lack of evidence, I was just a selfless community leader, happy to work with no fanfare. Cen Amores made me popular! Thanks to her tantrums. Because of this too, the road was opened for the Truth to come out.
5 A. Brains? Where did they get their Brains? Many are startled, surprised and are asking – how did she get her “Dr” before her name? When?
The Teachers Group in APCO including Pet Storey and me, are all recognized and qualified teachers of the Department of Education and Training in Australia. I have been teaching here for nearly 40 years plus the 15years I taught in the Philippines before coming here.
5 B. Hard Work? Oh, yes, working hard to get grants/funding from the Government putting the cheques through APCO Bank account and withdrawing them for their own perusal, sometimes the next day. Ruben and Cen Amores did not have to think of Projects. You’re right when you said, “they are Projects sponsored by the government.” The projects are there they first have to apply for them. Easy! With their manipulative means, they get them; use them for their own benefits, not APCO’s. Cen Amores haven’t initiated any project of APCO. With ASCON, Auburn now Cumberland Council maybe, but not with APCO. The Haiyan Typhoon Fundraising through Bucket Collection – train stations were done by APCO members and friends, not only by herself and Ruben. There are other unanswered questions regarding money that are not answered clearly by the Amoreses. We are still waiting for receipts.
6. Who are you referring to as using “the publics, contestants and member’s money to get donation for the P.I.?” Do you mean the VAA? Look through the FB pages and see the pictures of 500+ School Children enjoying the Feeding Programs, receiving the distribution of School Supplies, smiling faces of students helped through Scholarships and the grateful families helped through the Livelihood Program. During the AGM on 10th March 2018, I suggested to pass the hat around to give something for the good cause of the Feeding Program in May for the VAA, an affiliate member of APCO. Cen Amores first tossed the nose up and disregarded the suggestion and instead used the hard-earned money of the Pet Storey administration to subsidise new members and their partners and friends to pay for their tickets to the Premier’s Harmony Dinner. Then when she saw the photos of VAA’s very successful Humanitarian Programme, she hastened to congratulate them. Hypocrisy at its best!
7. You’re asking – am I jealous of the achievements of the original APCO?
Of course not! I don’t get jealous of any organisation. I think you meant the Amoreses. APCO under the leadership of the Amoreses did not achieve anything beneficial to its members or the Filipino-Australian Community. Achievements were for themselves, self-promotion, and popularity, self-glory, self-fame and false power. No one is jealous, surely not me! Writing their own awards, nominating themselves and asking people/members to endorse and sign their nominations are what they are good for.
8. You say, keep “internal” issues within the organisation!
With Cen Amores running to the Police, laying false assault charges against me without any evidence just because she didn’t get what she wanted. Do you call that keeping internal issues within the organisation and not “dragging others down?”
9. Have I been to the CJC or is scared to find out the truth? No, I haven’t been to the Community Justice Centre, but will gladly welcome dialogues with you. I have nothing to be scared about because the Truth is with us.
I hope you have been enlightened now. Open your eyes and see the Truth.
“Open your eyes and see the Truth. The Truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Yours in Truth,
President APCO Inc.
The Philippine Community Council, New South Wales (PCC NSW) and Alliance of Philippine Community Organizations Inc. (APCO), two of the leading and opposing Filipino-Australian organizations confederating many allied groups under each umbrella in NSW recently elected its officers for the next term of office.
The separate elections came immediately after 7 years of cold war that climaxed in an open-ended joint statement signed by both groups affirming their commitment to effectively serve their respective constituents and the Filipino community at large whilst pledging to continue working with the Consulate in promoting and protecting the interests of all Filipinos in NSW.
The PCC NSW elected officers 208-2019 are comprised of: Serna Ladia, president; Alric Bulseco, external vice president; Ethel Singzon, internal vice president; Rod Dingle, secretary; Judith del Prado, treasurer; Mercy Jones, internal auditor; Angelina Jenkins, public relations officer; Sheila Collantes, Espie Pogson, Lilian de los Reyes, Emily Rudd, Precy Santos, Darell Swadling, Rowena Turnbull, directors.
APCO elected officers for 2018 to 2020 include: President (Violeta Escultura); VP Senior (Cora Paras), VP Junior (Charles Chan); Secretary (Linda Price); Asst. Secretary (Rita Agostino); Asst. Treasurer (Alma Middlebrook); Auditor (Richard Ford); PRO ( Ralph Imbrago) and Board of Directors (Cora Bojarski, Emma Braceros, Fe Hayward, Josie Maynard, Mick Miguel, Glorina Papaiannou, Albert Prias, and Linda Trinidad).
AGAPI scores change to PCC NSW oath-taking
We publish here in full a relevant and related press release from Evelyn Opilas.
The Association of Golden Australian-Pilipinos Inc (AGAPI) has scored a change in the way elected officers of the Philippine Community Council of NSW are sworn into office, clearly demonstrating the important contribution seniors can make to the community.
In a motion presented to the PCC NSW annual general meeting 25 March in Marayong, AGAPI moved that newly-elected officers of the peak body take their oath of office in front of the members, with the returning officer swearing them into their respective roles.
Public figures, such as politicians and diplomats, previously inducted PCC NSW officers-elect to commence their roles.
The Sydney Australian Filipino Seniors Inc. (SAFSI), represented by its president Angie Belleza, seconded the move.
The motion, passed overwhelmingly without further debate, brings to the fore the clamour for procedural changes besetting PCC NSW in recent years.
“I am glad AGAPI was given the opportunity to initiate this change,” said AGAPI president Dorothy del Villar, who is recuperating from surgery, and has appointed PRO Evelyn Opilas as her proxy to the PCC NSW annual general meeting.
The AGAPI motion presented a three-point rationale, namely: that PCC NSW was formed to promote the interests of the Filipino community in NSW; that PCC NSW gets its mandate from affiliate organisations in NSW; and that PCC NSW, while composed of volunteers, is accountable to its affiliates, hence it is only proper that elected officers take their oath of office in front of the body they have sought to serve with the returning officer inducting them into office.
Such move enables elected officers to perform their tasks immediately without having to wait until they are inducted by politicians or diplomats of choice.
Rey Manoto, coincidentally a councillor at Campbelltown Council, inducted the elected officers, being the returning officer for the PCC NSW elections.
UNSOLICITED KUDOS, HOWLS, & PROTESTS OVER MOSTLY REELECTIONISTS AND OVERSTAYING OFFICERS
In much the same way as APCO which may have a new President, PCC retained many of its long-standing officers who keep running year in year out in different posts leaving practically no room or chance to other aspiring leaders thus causing a lot of muffled howls and election protests.
The reality is that it will always be a numbers game so that new candidates who are hardly known and don’t really have the opportunities to campaign never get elected.
The ‘fury over the jury’ (the elections per se) became more evident and vociferous in the case of PCC this year, who by the looks of it, chose to close ranks and re-elected its former President Serna Ladia, making her the second to Elsa Collado, another Ilocano who was also re-elected in a row of two terms, in much the same pattern as Kate Andres had served as President three times at different intervals. These three ladies -- Ilocanas all -- compose the long list of Ilocano-dominated PCC past Presidents which also includes Malynne Andres-Chun, Ric de Vera, Jimmy Lopez and Ruben Amores.
PCHN gathered that many people questioned the winning of Mercy Jones, a long-standing PCC officer who has served the organization year in, year out in varying roles, this time as the new Auditor. Whilst everybody acknowledges Ms. Jones’ long-involvement and solid contributions to PCC, the “sayang na sayang naman” (loosely translated as ‘such a great loss’) general lamentation is really a hue and cry over the notion of letting good chances of discovering new people go by in reference to another new candidate who many opined should not have been wasted and given the opportunity to serve and offer new insights and experience given his professional background.
Ms. Jones was quick enough to post her credentials online in a bid to tone down the strong reactions.
Reacting vehemently to Ms. Jones, a Bicolana by the name of Demi Robinson who also ran for the post of VP Intl but lost, informed PCCHN that Ms. Jones sent her a “ Reference Letter from her Affiliate, the Illawarra Women’s Migrant Group as if justifying her win for the position of Auditor against a CPA/Lawyer.”
“This is incomprehensible and I think the Filipino Community needs to know”, Ms. Robinson decried.
Following is the rest of Ms. Robinson’s letter:
...In retrospect, I will start with what I saw as imperfections in the Election Processes. For all you know these ‘flaws’ in the systems may have contributed to my unsuccessful bid.
Notwithstanding, the wider Filipino community should be informed in regard to the standing procedures/systems prior and during the election. Why, because PCC-NSW Inc is the peak body Filipino organisation and for me this peak body is accountable to the community. Besides, we all purport visibility in the Community.
In a nutshell this was how the procedures went this year:
• The President and/or Secretary received nominations for candidacy 7 days prior to AGM/Election.
• A Working Bee within the Board convened to prepare the ballot paper 4 days before the Election.
• A Returning Officer was appointed to conduct the election 5 days before the election.
• A Reception Committee during the AGM/Election is appointed to authentic registered and financial Affiliates who will cast their votes.
It is my view that the nomination forms were not properly scrutinised/examined according to the Constitution and that some candidates background were not checked as to their suitability to the position. Further, an email to the Board and Affiliates was sent by the Secretary prior to the AGM re names of candidates but without the names of Affiliates who nominated them. How do we know the legitimacy of the nominations from Affiliates when these documents were vetted only by the President and the Secretary who were both running as Office-Bearers for 2018?
I am of the opinion that an independent person/s comprising a Committee on Elections (Comelec) must be appointed at least 4 weeks prior to the Elections, to ensure impartiality, transparency, accountability, accuracy, and most of all, data integrity. If the 7 days ruling is in the Constitution, then it has to be changed and develop new guidelines. Further, the preparation of ballot paper should be handled by the Committee on Elections and the appointment of the Reception Committee should be selected by the Comelec
I do not wish to judge the Reception Committee this year; however my view is that the executive power vested on the President was exceeded by President Serna Ladia by appointing Elsa Collado in the Reception Committee as Chair. Ms Collado, President of the Affiliate Ilocano Association was casting her vote and I saw a conflict of interest in her role as Chair. The Committee was tasked to scrutinize paperwork and to distribute the ballot papers. Aside from being a financial member in 2018, a form must indicate the Affiliate activity/ties for the year. However, what is written on the form may not be the truth or perhaps no forms were submitted at all. How does the Reception make an informed decision in allowing an Affiliate to vote if these requirements are not met?
Furthermore, and please correct me if I am wrong, Elsa Collado was given a Representative Form from another Affiliate (after the registration process has ceased) to cast a vote has, to authenticate her own paperwork co-signed by the other member of the Reception Committee.
NOT THE LAST WORD
In the same vein as taking PCC and Ms. Jone’s particularly to task, PCCH publisher Evelyn Zaragoza emailed Ms. Jone’s reinforcing other’s congratulatory messages re. Ms Jones background certifications displayed online at the same time prognosticating: “I hope with your 'Certificate' there will be a much better, more improved PCC, NSW.” Furthermore she underscored: “I also congratulate all the newly elected and re-elected officers. I wish all the elected officers PERFORM THEIR DUTIES/RESPONSIBILITIES ACCORDING TO THE 'TITLE' THEY ASPIRED FOR and they will be more VISIONARY, ACTION & RESULT-ORIENTED. Looking forward to seeing PCC, NSW's activities more 'unique' from what their affiliates are already doing. REMEMBER: 'PCC NSW is the PEAK BODY.PCC; NSW's involvement should extend to the greater Australian community and be able to utilize its resources which will benefit PCC's affiliates and the wider Filipino-Australian community in NSW. Be more ACTIVE in involving PCC NSW to the Ethnic Communities Council (ECC, NSW); FECCA and other policy-making body.
REMEMBER: PCC NSW is the PEAK BODY.”
YET ANOTHER FEEDBACK
Meanwhile, in fulfilment of our promise in the last issue that we shall ’ print other important feedbacks to the never-ending talk about the famous PCC-APCO reconciliation, here is one more incisive comment from Ms. Evelyn Opilas: “My apologies for the delayed response – it took me a while to process what happened because up to now, I cannot imagine how the Embassy and the Consulate got involved in the seeming mess between PCC NSW and APCO only to come up with a ‘statement’ confirming the status quo.
Reality check: It is not in the job description of diplomats to straighten out so-called wrinkles in a community that is not within their jurisdiction.
Am I correct in assuming that both PCC NSW and APCO are groups formed within Australian rules?
Then the two groups should have gone to an Australian arbitration/mediation body if they wanted their sad, sorry state to be straightened out, not run to the Consulate or the Embassy looking for ‘solutions’/ ‘reconciliation’/ etc. That’s not their job but then again, many so-called Filipino community leaders march to the Phil Consulate/ Embassy for recognition as if such gives them an imprimatur for effectiveness, ‘lakas’, and ‘karapatan’.
I can only say ‘Nakakahiya. Nagsayang pa kayo ng oras.’
Where is the integrity of purpose, stature of leadership, respect for process? How can you reconcile/ equate/ liken an apple with an orange that PCC NSW and APCO seem to have been? The only common ground would be that both have seeds, and assuming they grow, the plants would still produce apples and oranges. To her credit, the Ambassador’s letter seemed kind and non-committal.”
With this issue of the PCHN we put a dot to the long-winded story of unification movement that our publisher Evelyn Zaragoza began towards the middle of last year as a personal commitment, an advocacy, and a selfless cause so much so that it became the theme of the 23rd anniversary of this leading community newspaper. .
As in any arduously humongous task, we paid it a great deal of attention through to the minutest details. We encountered so many encumbrances but we were single-minded in trying to complete a task: With the release of the joint statement fully endorsed by PCC-NSW on the one hand, and APCO on the other, and with The Philippine Consulate harnessing both groups solidarity into some kind of a tripartite agreement, we can at least put the matter to rest.
To many, this means: No more. Finito. The end. But to us, the story is not over yet.
Truth to tell, the negotiations are far from finished. The two sterling groups still have to dot the i's and cross the t's, so to speak. There will be other meetings and hopefully more rewarding results for everybody let alone our entire commune. .
But for us at PCHN, and for me as the principal writer-editor, two things immediately come to mind that need be expressed for mine/our own sense of distributive justice and conflict resolution.
WE DID IT.
Firstly, and without self-aggrandizing, we say, WE DID IT.
Whatever has been thought of against us, we achieved what we had aspired for, short of delivering what had been expected of us, although we never really promised anything let alone a rose garden.
What can be more convincing evidence than the two official statements that materialised out of our news documentation and editorial opinions – the separate first statements by PCC-NSW and APCO INC. both sounding all-so-defensive and belligerent. Finally, with our constant egging of the Philippine Consulate through former Consul Marford who had publicly promised to organize this historic, milestone “reconciliation meet that became an agonizing wait-and-see if it happens. At the last days of the outgoing Consul’s extended stay in Sydney, his promise was fulfilled.
Finally, the long awaited reconciliation meeting happened and brought forth a second, this time, and joint statement. At first glimpse, it seemed like a very promising position paper full of motherhood statements couched in diplomatic sophistries that bespeak of classic Filipino OPM (oh promise me) and bears the hallmarks of hypocritical stances ( “pakitang tao.”) – all of which remains to be seen as well as proven and tested in the long run. .
In retrospect, we take credit for our sheer herculean efforts, no matter how self-congratulatory it may sound. After all, for two giants to react on record (i.e. their first separate statements), and then eventually get them to yield to a reconciliation meet we have pressed on so as to address issues we have tirelessly cavilled about is certainly no mean feat. That said, here comes our second other conclusion – a way of a rebuttal to APCO’s argumentation (nay accusation) charging us of “fake news”.
FAKE NEWS, FALLACIES and CONTRADICTIONS
From a more scholarly viewpoint, methinks there is really no such thing as “fake news” which became a sensational buzz word attributed to US Pres. Trump who first popularised it. The whole world especially Filipinos prone to aping, rumour-mongering, and crab mentality relished it to a point that it become a favourite byword or epithet.
As it is nowadays, “fake news” is a two-pronged phrase taken to dismiss or legitimize any piece of information one disagrees with or intentionally deceive a desired target audience with outright lies masquerading as truth. Apart from dismissal and deception the other elements of fake news are malicious intent, causality of panic, confusion or disorder, and the awareness of the falseness of the news.
In our case, had we been truly at fault as duly stipulated by APCO, then we would have been the first to publish an erratum and own up to our fault, me culpa. Besides we know that free speech, expression, or press freedom as it were is not absolute and that journalists and broadcasters are bound by a sense of professional responsibility, ethics, and code of conduct. That is a given, basic, and fundamental amongst those who profess to be journalists, broadcasters and other agents of mass media and communication arts be it electronic, digital or otherwise.
At the same token, this is also the main reason why we seek redress in the name of fairness and fair play. Similarly, we deserve a right of reply as well as right of correction to achieve equanimity. As well, consider this editorial response as my very own intellectual kung-fu -- the vital art of self-defense in a debate. Otherwise, if we let it pass without explaining ourselves justifiably APCO’s accusation shall remain unanswered and taken as the last word with everyone laughing out loud (LOL!)
But, lest you forget, he who laughs last laughs best. It is unlikely for this editor to be cowed into backpedalling by the sheer shockwaves of this public denunciation of the supposed “highly misleading, grossly subjective and untruthful reporting being disseminated by the proponents of the so-called “Unification” in a newspaper owned and staffed by “Unification” proponents who are also closely involved with PCC.”
In much the same breath APCO brazenly stated:
“APCO is not in agreement with the proponents for “Unification” in many aspects; hence, the glowing reports about the “Unification” are fake, dishonest and fabricated news. We also denounce the writers for their fictitious, false and malicious reporting about the community: that the organisations lack government support because it is not united, that PCC is doing community development projects while APCO is into multiculturalism and serving only its members.
Why tell lies if your intentions are really good?
I cannot help but be academic in pointing out that APCO has committed the greatest, gravest fallacy of Argumentum Ad Baculum or the "Might-Makes-Right" Fallacy. Witness their final verdict where they categorically underscore and literally underline what we have actually been cantankering away since day one
APCO is instead suggesting that the process of Unification should start with a Reconciliation
This is the final stroke -- a contradiction of the highest order. After all the brouhaha, they are actually in agreement with our editorialised call for reconciliation. In the first place, the impetus did not even come from us but from one Jhun Salazar, the fearless, level-headed ex-President of APCO.
What is beyond me is how APCO could deny recognition of their own people even claiming that “ APCO Inc has not made any official stand on the issue of “Unification” and those who attended any meeting have denied ever declaring that they were representing APCO in any capacity” thereby committing more contradictions after contradictions. Remember, in community life, we are judged by the company we keep. Thus, the notion of being officially tasked or appointed to represent of any organization, APCO, PCC or non-aligned, is immaterial in a gathering of community leaders. There is such a thing as guilt by association. You can never dissociate yourself from a group you’ve been identified with from the very start .unless you relinquish it publicly or disclaim/disown membership/affiliation altogether. .
The total effect is that APCO made fallacious statements that might sound reasonable or appear to be superficially true but are actually flawed or dishonest.
So who is creating “fake news” after all? PCHN or APCO? You decide...
Of course it takes thinking readers to detect the so-called fake news in our reportage and editorials where there is actually none or APCO could have underlined what they claim as “fake news” point by point to guide readers accordingly. We are getting to be repetitive here for a reason because these logical fallacies backfire by making the audience think the writer (yours truly) is unintelligent (bobo) or deceptive (manloloko). Que pobresito mio! (Oh, poor me!)
Our turn to ask? What happened to APCO’s boast that they were going to circulate their statement even to national dailies? Has any negligible if obscure community digest ever bothered publishing it? (Really now, please pray tell.).What publication would pick up a statement teeming with false line of reasoning to begin with? Who are you trying to fool? Sining niloloko ninyo?
Wittingly or unwittingly, APCO’s argumentation is generally categorised as Appeal to Force, using force, the threat of force, or some other unpleasant backlash to make the audience (i.e. the Fil-Oz community in NSW) accept a conclusion that what we have reported are “fake news” , in short lies.
This has obviously become their last resort in the absence of evidence or rational arguments that convince the reading public (i.e. subscribers and regular readers of PCHN).
MIS or DIS INFORMATION
At this point allow me to differentiate between misinformation and disinformation and whether or not the “fake news” accusation of APCO to PCHN makes sense. .
Several online dictionaries make disinformation the far more sinister term, one that suggests a conspiratorial institutional effort. They define it as a false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumours) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth. It further adds that disinformation is deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation. Sometimes this is regarded as propaganda.
Misinformation is likewise information that is false or incorrect and the person disseminating it knows that precisely but is convinced otherwise for the main intention is to deceive and/or to offer a patent lie. Per one UP authority consulted on fake news hearing at Philippine Senate, she cited many kinds of “fake news” as not necessarily tainted with political colour. This include misinterpreted facts or beliefs packaged as raw information and spread throughout the networks e.g. satire posts that take the mickey out of anything but there’s really no real intent
So the main difference lies in and boils down to intent whether it is malicious, real, or imagined
Often the defence, as in the case of politicians, is posited in the passive voice, "I was misinformed". This is how they rationalise their mistake in many instances when they are caught out trying to pass disinformation. In these cases however, the intent to deceive is originally and pellucidly clear except that it didn't work.
In likewise manner, APCO did the same but for all intents and purposes, it boomeranged negatively on them yet served to positively increase our readership because people became curious to find out more about the whole shebang.
We understand that most often than not, mis or dis information can be given innocently, negligently, or carelessly. And we go as far as sharing above vital info to point out precisely the baselessness and malicious intent of APCO in declaring us purveyors of fake news in their first issued statement following our editorial that obviously did not sit well with those who actually read them or heard them from others as second hand info.
Aye, there’s the rub! Here lies trouble for they didn’t even bother verifying, vetting or ascertaining whatever dis or mis information might have been passed on to them. The evidence we have suggests that they never bothered to quote from what we have published WHAT PRECISELY they deem fake news.
It is one thing to accuse (easiest even to point an accusing finger), another to substantiate or prove it. It would have been our right to ban/bar APCO news whatsoever, but despite their “fake” accusation we continued publishing their press releases which more than eliminates any bias they try to impugn on us in stating such unproven statement that we were “closely involved with PCC.”
This kind of disinformation clearly implies that the person who wrote the statement for APCO is intentionally making a false statement that he or she knows to be false. On hindsight, this is funny pathetic given that APCO is seemingly hell-bent in proving to TPTB (the powers that be, who have decorated them with this and that award) that indeed harmony reigns amongst the Filipino community by their obvious act of “papering the house”, (a theatre expression meaning feeling the house with complimentary tickets to give the impression of a sell-out or as applied to local event organizers and their supporters, the closest Filipino translation is the “hakot:: syndrome).
So much so that APCO’s gone out of their way to subsidize part of the expensive ticket to this years’ annual Harmony Premiere dinner to the delight of unsuspecting folks until one member threw the wet blanket in an act of rightful indignation and finally cried foul: “What harmony are we trying to prove when we cannot even harmonize with our very own community? . Or something to that effect.
Well said. To this person who has the balls and gall to challenge APCO’s unseen hands but intriguingly felt touches of conjugal dictatorship, we say AMEN.
For the entire community in general, it’s time to end anonymity and put a brave face to one’s stand. Let’s not confine ourselves to “bulung-bulungan” on the sides. Time is rife for people to come out and fearlessly say their piece with no strings attached.
And then again. Election for new set of leaders/officers is just round the corner. Everyone needs to assess and analyse, make informed judgements, and have the courage of our convictions. (Mars Cavestany/All Rights Reserved)
By Dr. Mars Cavestany
At long last! After seven years of cold war, PCC and APCO, two of the leading but warring groups confederating many allied groups under each umbrella, have finally agreed to reconcile.
This was one of the significant historical highlights emanating from the second-in-a series of discussion-cum-camaraderie meetings under the banner of UNIFICATION initiated and convened by PCHN publisher Evelyn Zaragoza in her own right and capacity as a community organizer/leader.
The historical date that goes down as a high-water mark in the epic story of the growing Filipino community in NSW is 22 October 2017, recorded from 2:14 – 5:05 p.m. at the Sizzling Filo Restaurant, 13 Railway St., Lidcombe NSW by Acting Secretary, Pamela Ventura, former President of UPAA.
Outgoing Consul Marford Angeles, who acted as moderator, offered to host at the Philippine Consulate office the soon-to-be-carried out reconciliation meeting among the officers of PCC, APCO including a third body comprised of non-aligned groups or people who are not affiliated with either of these two lead organisations.
Additionally, the highly contentious suggestion by businessmen Ed Alcordo to merge the Philippine Independence Day Ball celebrations which has been conducted separately in the past seven years since the break-away of APCO from PCC was put into a vote and unanimously agreed upon by the body. Consul Angeles emphasized the fact that there’s a lot to iron out in terms of mechanics and details of the proposed combined PID celebration which can be discussed in a different meeting after the said reconciliation meeting.
The prepared agenda and running order ran briskly and without any hitch with past APCO President Jun Salazar delivering the hearty and thoughtfully inspiring opening prayer.
Evelyn Zaragoza’s welcome message set the tone, quoting and reminding everyone of former Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis’ remarks delivered during the first Unification meeting hosted by PCC last August at Marayong Community Centre. (It must be remembered that Congen Louis was immediately appraised and affronted by the prevailing factionalism so she tried to call for a meet to reconcile the two bodies both claiming to be the peak/umbrella organization but failed as it was generally perceived by many pundits in the community then as too early when affected parties are still licking their wounds.
Zaragoza also read the suggested options for conflict resolution prepared by Dr. Mars Cavestany that became the springboard for discussions. Her famous last words: We are not getting younger and let's leave something that will be implanted to the youth. Please think and reflect, it’s not only the name of the organization which we created and worked hard to establish that will be passed on to our next, future leaders. But they are our actions, good deeds, and intangible virtues and values which we shall impart to them like legacy of parents to their children.”
Consul Marford Angeles highlighted the gathering of many talented and skilled people in the meeting, saying that the combination of these needs to be harnessed so we can move forward as a community. He acknowledged the presence of incoming Consul Manny De Guzman who he says would be able to witness the level of achievement that the community can attain. He also acknowledged Ms. Evelyn Zaragoza for organising the meeting, and Mr. Manny Roux for hosting.
Manny Roux, said, among others, that “we are all salt of the earth…relevance has brought us all here.”
Serna Ladia, reckoned that this gathering is an indication “that we have the same objective” and as (current) PCC-NSW President, she would like “to have peace and harmony in the community. Saying that each of us has a responsibility, she called on everyone to rally with one another, to support, to have harmony and to “seek the help of God.”
Michelle Baltazar, representing the youth shared 3 observations about the community stating that (a) “We are Filipinos first.”(b)“We don’t have the financial muscle.” (c) We have the social muscle and we are unstoppable if we want to do something. She further stressed: “You are the trailblazers and I am proud of the success you have made.” Noting the importance of unity, she encouraged everyone to reflect on where we want our community to be in 10 years.
Ed Alcordo, representing the business sector as President of Australia Philippines Business Council affirmed that “Communities from third-world countries are characterised by disunity and the Filipino community is no exception, however there is unity within the Japanese and Korean communities. He added that “From an outsider’s perspective, there doesn’t appear to be a cause bigger than us.” Comparing and contrasting its CBL’s (constitution and by-laws), he commented that PCC-NSW’s constitution seeks to speak for the Filipino community whilst APCO’s is focused to those individuals and groups who are not represented. He noted that “we should concentrate on things that unite us, not divide us” and mentioned the following great opportunities to shows unity: President Duterte’s state visit to Australia in 2018, Philippine Independence Day celebration, Fiesta Kultura and Philippine Christmas Festival.
Pet Storey, current President of APCO was meant to send Vice-President Charles Chan to read her speech but begged off last minute.
Emailed messages from people who were not able to attend were read out to the body including commentaries from Jun Relunia, Raymond Policarpio, Robert Bock, Marilyn Chun, Lani Larsen, Benjie De Ubago, Manny Diel, Jasper Diaz, and Prof. Mina Roces.
The group agreed that something has to be done. Consul Angeles mentioned three options:
• maintenance of the status quo – Let things be.
• merging of the two organisations (PCC-NSW and APCO)
• dissolution of PCC-NSW and APCO or leave them as is then establish a new body
Mr. Bob Alipalo asked what the problem is. Prof. Ed Escultura replied that one of the problems is that there are two separate bodies, PCC-NSW and APCO. He then suggested that these two should unite, at least regarding the Philippine Independence Day (PID) celebration.
Dr. Raul Amor postulated that the strength of the Filipinos – becoming successful individually – is also our weakness and that “we need to find a reason to be united.”
Ms. Daisy Cummings cited that one of our weaknesses is that “we don’t know community leadership” and without knowledge on how to run a community, we’ll be self-centred. She underpinned the importance of “service above self” and that we need a “transformation of intention.”
Ms. Cora Paras pinpointed the lack of humility friendship, acceptance, harmony and bayanihan spirit as a problem. She said that we should consider our young generations and our newer Filipino migrants. She then brought up the idea of starting a “friendship day”, having only one PIDC, and supporting the Philippine Christmas festival next month.
Ms. Solina Lapalma predicated the following points:
• What is it that we really want as a community?
• No group, big or small, can exist if its members are individualistic.
• We need to develop humility, why we want it and how do we get it?
Consul Angeles opted for practical solutions and sure fire projects.
At this point Ms. Fe Hayward of Hayward Real Estate took the floor and presented her proposal to Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali re: building a “Philippine Bahay Kubo” at Narrating Reserve which will serve as a gathering/meeting place for members of the community. She asked help from the attendees to come up with a plan which can be submitted to Blacktown Council. Councillor Linda Santos said that she wants to support this project but asked Ms. Hayward to have the compliances ready.
Mr. File Santos, in response to Ms. Hayward, reported that the Knights of Rizal has a project of having a bust of Jose Rizal and a surrounding garden at the Rizal Park in Rooty Hill which will cost $7,500. He said that KOR is proposing this to the local council.
Ms. Ladia highlighted the 27-year existence of PCC and the break-away group (APCO) that was formed only in 2010. She proposed that PCC remains as is and that other groups are welcome to join it.
Ms. Evelyn Opals professed that she supports PCC-NSW due to its history, longevity and track record of organising the PID Ball. However, she lamented PCC’s lack of focus and envisions that it must establish a common ground, encapsulating her thoughts in what she calls SWOT analysis:
• Strength – Filipinos are skilled.
• Weaknesses – crab mentality, fear of speaking up
• Opportunities – recognition of political power
• Threat – negative attitudes
Moreover, she defined the importance of volunteerism (commitment and sacrifice), leadership (have a selection criteria and training), and potential contributions to the mainstream community (e.g. participation in Australian of the Year).
OTHER VIEWS & HOLDING A JOINT/ONE PID
Mr. Richard Ford underscored the “biggest thing that happened to the Philippines” which is its independence. Underlining the importance of looking back at history, he suggested that PCC and APCO should still co-exist but have one group on top which will oversee the two, liaise with the government (e.g. councils), and to which we can submit proposals and the like.
Mr. Ed Alcordo delineated the merits of running one PID celebration and called for a vote seconded by Ms. Lapalma.
Mr. Jimmy Lopez spoke for APCO and clarified that they need to go back to their members before they can decide.
Consul Angeles suggested that if Mr. Alcorcon’s proposal could at least be agreed upon in principle (unbinding), then representatives of various organisations may take this up with their respective constituencies.
The body then voted on Mr. Alcorcon’s proposal through raising of hands: in favour – 39, not in favour – 0, abstained – 2 = 41 votes. Consuls Angeles and De Guzman, for obvious reasons, did not vote. There were others amongst the almost perfect attendance of 57 out of 60 RSVP’d cross=section of leaders who were present but did not vote at all.
Mr. Alcordo then offered a second proposal to come up with a committee of 5 members who shall organise the PID celebration.
Ms. Lapalma echoed the common sentiment of people pointing out that the need to bring the matter first to their respective organisations. which prompted Mr. Alcordo to respectfully withdraw this proposal.
WHAT ABOUT PPC & APCO
Mr. Cesar Bartolome streamlined that the final decision on what to do with PCC and APCO lies on their members. He admonished that if ever these organisations are abolished, instead of having an election of leaders, we should follow a “corporate governance” model wherein the officers would be chosen by an independent selection panel that will set the selection criteria and points system.
Ms. Kate Andres agreed with this suggestion and added that “the government can’t respect us if we are not united.”
Councillor Jess Diaz related the experience of having two groups of the Knights of Rizal in the Philippines but these groups were able to work together. He said that we have no legacy that we can leave to the community, citing that we still have no multi-purpose centre. Whilst he agreed that it is good to have the fiesta and PID celebration, he asked in the same breath, “what is the point?” He argued that the community’s lack of political power is precisely what makes it difficult for project proposals to get approved by councils. He pushed instead for PCC and APCO to toy with the notion of one or two-year plan of having “co-presidents”, and, eventually, resolve other intrinsic problems (e.g. clean up the elections).
FINALLY “RECONCILIATION” COMES TO THE FORE
Mr. Jhun Salazar, past APCO President, confirmed that it is true that APCO’s Constitution seeks to nurture its membership. He then called for humility and reconciliation in order for us to unite which was cheered and welcomed by everybody.
Consul Angeles, quick to take the cue, offered for the Consulate to host a historic reconciliation meeting amongst PCC and APCO officials.
Mr. Alipalo suggested that the meeting should include a third body comprised of people who are non-aligned or not affiliated with either of these two lead organisations.
Consul Angeles added that the PID celebration may also be discussed in a different meeting after the said reconciliation meeting.
Having covered all matters with a fine tooth comb, Ms. Zaragoza thanked everyone who attended the meeting and contributed their views as well as acknowledged the following:
• Manny Roux and the Leon Aguila Association for hosting the event
• Consul Marford Angeles for moderating the meeting
• Pamela Ventura for being the acting secretary
• Rise Roux for recording the meeting
• Sergeants-at-Arms: Jojo Laquian, Ronald Cortez, George Torres
• Photographer: Richard Ford
• People who sent their messages/comments
The closing prayer was led by Fr. Ed Orilla.
SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS RAISED
1. Issue: Two main bodies (PCC-NSW and APCO) which have different objectives. They also have separate Philippine Independence Day celebrations (ball, get-together).
2. Attitudinal problems: disunity; individualistic attitude; lack of humility, harmony, acceptance, bayanihan spirit
3. Lack of proper community leadership – E.g. Importance of knowledge and training in properly running a community; need for selection criteria in choosing the leaders/officers
4. Lack of political power and “financial muscle”
5. Strengths: Skills, education, “social muscle”
6. Opportunities to show unity: Events such as the Philippine Independence Day celebration, Fiesta Kultura, Christmas Festival, President Duterte’s state visit
SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS:
1. From Richard Ford: PCC-NSW and APCO to continue co-existing but have one group at the top which will oversee the two, and will also liaise with the government (e.g. councils) and to which we can submit proposals, etc.
2. From Ed Alcordo: Have one Philippine Independence Day celebration – CARRIED. He further suggested that there should be an organising committee for this event.
3. From Cesar Bartolome: In case PCC-NSW and APCO are abolished, establish a new organisation but instead of electing officers, there should be a selection panel that will choose the officers from among qualified applicants. This panel will set a selection criteria and a points system.
4. From Jess Diaz: PCC-NSW and APCO come up with a one or two-year plan to have co-presidents, identify the problems and have resolutions.
5. From Serna Ladia: PCC-NSW to remain as is and the other organisations (APCO, etc.) are welcome to join.
NEXT IMMEDIATE ACTION
Reconciliation meeting among officers of PCC-NSW, APCO and non-aligned organisations to be hosted by the Consulate. Meeting to merge PID celebration in one event to follow separately.
TASK FORCE UNIFICATION
As of press time, we received reports that a TASK FORCE UNIFICATION has been created and will be meeting soonest to pick up from where the second meeting left off continue the aims and purposes for which the Unification Movement was kick-started. (All Rights Reserved/MC).