I know whereof I speak
Beginning this issue, I am reviving my old PCHN column that ran from mid- to late 90’s – previously called “Light from Mars” the selfsame column I have been identified with since I began column writing as college editor –in-chief for an unduplicated length of 3 straight years of the Philippine Normal University-National Centre for Teacher Education where I graduated a bachelors degree in English and Journalism was my initial preparation.
From Uni, I hit the ground running doing the ABC’s of professional ‘Fourth Estate’ work in Metro Manila beginning from rookie news reporter to becoming a full-pledged columnist-cum-theatre and film/critic to arts/entertainment/lifestyle and features editor to managing editor of top national broadsheets, local tabloids, magazines and periodicals.
Although my career in Manila peaked largely in the performing arts where I harvested my national awards, my real grounding is in the fundamentals of press work, i.e., as a newspaperman or “dyarista” as we say in Filipino idiom. In other words, I am an honest-to-goodness journalist-writer of some qualification and distinction and not just someone who loves to write. There is a world of a difference.
Hindi po ako pawitwit na manunulat na pinabili lang ng suka, wiki nga, nagsulat na.
Ergo, I know whereof I speak, but do forgive me for prefacing this initial salvo with a bit of my relevant background because my first hurdle here is to stand my ground against the misguided, baseless and preposterous miscalculations of some people reacting to my three-in-a series of news reportage bannered by PCHN , not to speak of a controversial editorial and poetry – all on the very subject of “UNIFICATION” – a passionately inspired and concerted movement almost single-handedly spearheaded by Evelyn Zaragoza, the tireless publisher of this oldest surviving and largest circulating Filipino printed community newspaper with matching online version both valued and read throughout Australia.
In more ways than one, I have volunteered to be EZ’s creative partner, sidekick in light banter, or a Sancho Panza to a Don Quixote of you like literary parlance. Having rejoined her pool of writers after more than a decade of inactivity and semi-retirement, I suggested to EZ to tie-up the concept of “unification” as the underlying theme of the 23rd anniversary of PCHN.
EZ and MARS Creative Partnership: This is where it all caught fire and picked up steam.
Together we began exchanging and percolating ideas , pursuing what EZ has earlier began as two exploratory brainstorming sessions with selected “movers and shakers” of the community attached or associated with PCC and/or APCO. Opening Pandora’s Box after seven years brought forth differing opinions expectedly but the one common denominator was the deeply felt and expressed need to unify which egged her to forge ahead. This need t be emphasized because the provocation came from fellow “kababayan” but the impetus or driving force was positively engendered by the opposing leaders themselves, otherwise, EZ would not have deliberately if enduringly plodded along
But the continuing state of resentful antagonism between two parties (PCC and APCO) has been raging for seven years and something needed to be done NOW before things spin out of control and all hell breaks loose. To test the waters, EZ disseminated an email questionnaire asking people to share their thoughts on the notion of “one voice.” The number of responses from who’s who in the community far exceeded our expectations.
Thus, UNIFICATION banner headline number 1 came out in the June-July issue just in time when PCHN turned 23. We published not all but as many of the email responses at the same time as I began sifting through all the ideas and distilling their essences and synthesizing them into three possible options of conflict resolution: status quo, reconciliation, or dissolution. Given the resounding imprimatur from a cross section of personages in the community, we further conceptualised and sallied forth organising the twin-bill of fora in which to present the 3 golden suggestions for further discussion, if at all – resolution. Lo and behold, EZ coordinated with PCC first and they gamely complied following their general assembly meet at Marayong Community Centre in 20 August.
Afterwards, came UNIFICATION GATHERS STEAM banner headline number 2 featured in the August-September issue which highlighted more fervid expressions, this time, from outspoken PCC former Presidents the likes of Kate Andres, Malynne Chun, Ric de Vera, and Jun Relunia among others with transcripts of messages and other verbal inputs incorporated in my 2nd news report.
Banner headline number 3, which came out in the October issue was entitled UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO with a matching editorial also by yours truly titled, PCC and APCO RECONCILE, AT LONG LAST. Both drew a lot of flak and negative feedbacks.
Unfortunately I missed such historic meet that fateful day of 22 October 201 as I had been hospitalized. But we proceeded with aplomb, as if nothing had happened. Evelyn supplied me with all the materials I needed to write the news. But even before that, I couldn’t help myself hearing what’s what so that I had already phoned my good friend and former high school classmate Francisco de los Santos, plus the host himself, the ever-reliable Manny Roux of Leon Aguila group who donated a thousand dollars to pay for the merienda that day.
Initially, they had briefed me, blow by blow on the flow of dialoguing amongst an amazing array of personalities that took one Evelyn Zaragoza to gather under one roof, Certainly no mean feat, this! Of course the venue available could only accommodate 60 PAX so much so that Miss Benjie de Ubago, the self-anointed chronicler of both PCC history and happenstance, cried foul for having been “simply not advised” or “disinvited”. She wasn’t literally present at the event either but that didn’t stop a true journalist that she is from filing a report. See the point Madame Serna? Since you have propped yourself up as a broadcaster it would be wise to learn some ethical practice and professional cordiality amongst your fellow colleagues, the same way Ms. Ubago observes hers de rigueur, so that in the final analysis, she merely freely expressed her opinions without having to castrate her fellow writer. Respetuhan lang. We can agree to disagree on the level of ideas and opinions pero walang bastusan, which brings me to the case of APCO.
Charlatanism and Philistinism Amongst My Critics: (Sagot sa mga Bumabatikos
As to the other points questioned by Ms. Serna, I find them too naive and puerile to dignify. EZ’s response will suffice. “If you're worried about the title of his editorial, "PCC and APCO reconcile at long last!” can you not think of it as POSITIVE and forward looking?
Can you not feel a positive vibration with that title? Anyway, if you read carefully the content of the news it explains that a meeting is being organized by Consul Marford for 'PCC & APCO officers to meet re: reconciliation and PID.”
Quite the contrary, APCO’s supposed press statement attacked us hook, line and sinker. This is a classic case of argumentum ad populum (go ahead Google that). In hindsight however, this is the kind of positioning that could only be reduced to mere charlatanism or at best philistinism amongst our attackers.
The Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc. a federation of several autonomous, socially conscious and democratic Filipino-Australian community organisations in NSW in a special meeting of the Board held last Saturday, 18thNovember 2017, has agreed to publicly denounce the highly misleading, grossly subjective and untruthful reporting being disseminated by the proponents of so-called “Unification” in a newspaper owned and staffed by “Unification” proponents who are also closely involved with PCC. Previously, APCO Inc. has not made any official stand on the issue of “unification” and those who attended any meeting have declared beforehand that they were not representing APCO in any capacity.
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?
It is well known that APCO has been actively participating and effectively representing the community to the mainstream, multicultural and government bodies, supporting and developing its affiliate members, promoting and serving the community through coop housing, welfare for the youth, children and elderly, quality cultural presentations, organisational capacity building, charities, various community welfare services and effective engagements with the mainstream Australian, CALD and Filipino community. In contrast, we do not see anything that the ageing PCC did re community development. Compare the evidences, read the credible newspapers, see the community projects and look at the meritorious achievements and performance-based awards!
APCO is instead suggesting that the process of Unification should start with a Reconciliation
The issues surrounding the supposed PCC-NSW AGM in 2010 that disenfranchised many members from voting should be discussed and resolved so that what caused the continuing rift will not be repeated and hopefully, trust and unity will bless the community.
The history of this contentious issue is: closely prior to the scheduled PCC Annual General Meeting and Elections, several dozens of regular and financial members were not allowed to vote by a committee headed by Elsa Collado, a candidate for president. The aggrieved organisations were denied the right of appeal by the Board headed by Ronaldo Villaver. There was no general membership meeting held, no attendance taken, no annual financial report submitted, and no balloting took place - but Elsa Collado and company were declared winners by the Returning Officer, Manny Diel amidst the grievances due to the above-mentioned anomalies.
Therefore, because of the irresponsible, shameless and self-serving lies circulated re alleged success of “Unification”, the APCO Board unanimously decided that it will hold a Referendum among the general membership on the issue of “Unification” only after the Reconciliation process is concluded.
President APCO Inc.
The Unification Movement initiated by PCHN publisher Evelyn Zaragoza since June 2017 has been making inroads into our community life, thus .enhancing the social fabric.
Enhancing the social fabric, means allowing for more and better healthy interactions and expression of shared values, creating deeper sense of awareness and understanding, as well as developing a more critical outlook through logical thinking, rational analysis, as well as investigative accountability of the officials of the various organizations to which we belong.
The end goal of unification is for all members of the community to sustain pro-active, action-driven engagement, ready and willing to help one another especially those with special needs at all times, and be inspired to keep our community a positive, pleasant place to live.
Thus far, there has been two no-holds-barred Unification Discussion Meetings held at the Marayong Community Centre in 20th August and at the Sizzling Filo Restaurant in 22nd October, a complete reportage of which were bannered on this paper.
VOLLEY OF COMPLAINTS
As is the nature of the freedom of expression, we welcome the fact that the very headlines alone of the October issue banner news (UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO) along with its matching editorial (PCC AND APCO RECONCILE AT LONG LAST) had launched a volley of complaints.
As well, we are heartened that criticisms are manifold, that is, met with widespread acclaim and praise by some, yet drew enormous negative attention from both camps of PCC and APCO.
However, when passions run high enough, it is understandable that some readers make a litmus test of our reports then make rush conclusions. Too often in the process, they get carried away by their emotions ignoring the actual substance of the news report.
What we're saying is, the accusations levied on us remain on the level of “allegations”, couched in general, motherhood statements without pinpointing specifics. Where have we gone wrong, pray tell?
The general practice when anyone corrects a supposed mistake in anything published is to underline and quote the error, then suggest or offer to rectify it with the appropriately acceptable correction. If we are wrong, certainly we shall be first to publish an erratum. .
None of that appears on both emailed personal response of PCC President as well as that of the official statement of APCO that have been heaped upon on our Unification efforts.
The publisher of this paper and its editor still await concrete and definitive position statements from PCC and APCO even as we look forward to the results of each groups’ further meetings where the most contentious issue of “RECONCILIATION” shall be tackled hopefully in depth and in length.
Meanwhile, we invite readers to have a closer read of the editorial page where much of the “allegations” are addressed.
PCC & APCO MEET AGAIN: TO RECONCILE or NOT AT ALL
Without waving our own flag, fact is, the first three-in-a-series of continuing reportage on the development of the Unification Movement has created quite a stir, enough to get people involved and continuously discussing the crying issues of the day as in the two Unification Discussion/Community Consultation Meetings we have so far conducted.
What is more, the two peak/umbrella groups framed at the centre of the controversy of whether to reconcile or not at all, have now taken notice. The initial fruitful discussions have paved the way towards more argumentations.
As of press time, we are informed that past prexy Kate Andres has taken the cudgels to call for another meeting that will once and for all settle the issue of reconciliation on the side of PCC.
As for APCO, even if an official press release has been issued, we gathered that affiliates who have not been thoroughly informed and appraised of the situation are demanding a consensus that the body agreed to resolve via a referendum.
BROUGHT TO FRUITION
All these developments are positive proof that the original intent of the Unification Movement initiator/convenor Evelyn Zaragoza has been brought to fruition.
To wit: The main objective is to open all communication lines and attract a consensus of opinions from all sectors and members of the Filipino-Australian community as well a fellow Australians that shall serve as springboard for more concerted and definitive actions. (Unification, PCHN Turns 23, June-July issue).
True enough, Unification raised a flood of questions, and it is only a matter of time for these questions to be answered. Surely, it always takes two to tango, but if PCC and APCO simply couldn’t just get along, then we’ll leave it at that.
But let us stop pointing accusing fingers at each other. Do not crucify us for attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable. At least we tried. But it doesn’t end there because of the promise of the Task Force Unification.
When all is said and done, “Unification” is not a fizzer. It has motivated, driven, and caused our community to react responsibly, thereby showing the true picture and state of affairs.
CONGEN MARFORD TEXT MESSAGE
As of this writing, the Consulate has confirmed that the reconciliation meeting between the two presidents only that Consul Marford Angeles proposed to undertake during the Oct. 22 meeting as duly recorded in the minutes, has not materialised for one reason or another. Meantime, Consul Angeles sent us the following text:
(Evelyn please insert in full.)
(All Rights Reserved/Mars Cavestany)
As of press time, the issue of “reconciliation” between PCC and APCO that was agreed to be arranged by Consul Marford Angeles of the Philippine Consulate has not materialised.
Outgoing Consul Angeles originally set the meeting in his office last 19th November only between Serna Ladia and Pet Storey, PCC and APCO presidents respectively; but he had to cancel it because “something came up.”
To clarify what happens now since the meeting tentatively rescheduled on 29th November did not push through as we found out from the Consulate’s Cultural Officer Rachel Calisin, we sent a follow up email clarifying Consul Angeles’ position to which he texted back and reprinted here in full:
“Thanks as I only got now by email Marz’ message and request for clarification. I am currently waiting for word from Manila if I am to be extended instead of departing this Thursday (30th November 2017). So it’s a bit of a nail-biting time for me, on my birthday, which also happens to be the day I need to pack my things given that I need to move out of my apartment on the 29th. But you’re right, there needs to be closure. Will see if I can set a meeting for the 29th. If I am to go, Manny (new Consul Manny Guzman) should be able to take over the matter with you guys. Salamat for the heads up.”
VOLLEY OF COMPLAINTS
In the meantime, the October issue banner news (UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO) along with its matching editorial (PCC AND APCO RECONCILE AT LONG LAST) had launched a volley of complaints from both camps.
The first email “personal” response came from PCC President Serna Ladia dated Nov. 11.
Soon to follow was, the official press release sent by APCO dated 20th November sent to all channels and signed by its President Pat Storey.
Not to be left behind, PCC eventually issued a media release entitled “PCC NSW Statement on Unification” last 21st November citing Ms. Ladia as contact person for further information. .
Criticisms are manifold --met with widespread acclaim and praise by some, but drew enormous negative attention from both camps which has been duly responded to by this writer in an editorialised opinion. (See page 2)
As we go to the press, we gathered that PCC and APCO are consolidating its forces and conducting internal meetings.
(All Rights Reserved/Mars Cavestany)
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).