Monday, 30 November -0001 00:00

UNIFICATION : More responses

PCHN is ready to print all responses as we receive them These two are the latest we received as we rush to the press which, like the originals of the above, are printed here in toto.

“I start from the premise that the Philippine Community Council of NSW is the original umbrella organisation of Filipino community groups in NSW, and that needs to be recognised at the outset. I raise the following issues/ matters, hoping that if and when resolved, then ‘Unity’ may hopefully be reached.Firstly,What exactly is the mission/ goal of the PCC NSW?When one says Philippine Community Council of NSW, one would assume that PCC NSW advocates for issues/matters that relate to the Filipino community in NSW.
YET – what PCC NSW seems to have projected – after all these years in existence – is to involve itself in matters to do with the Philippines 4,435kms away, e.g., raise funds in times of natural disasters. Worthy activities these may be, but is that PCC NSW’s main reason for being? What about the ‘NSW’ component in PCC NSW?I was there when PCC NSW began.
From my understanding, PCC NSW, as the umbrella organisation, would be a policy-making body on behalf of the Filipino community in New South Wales in general, and for its affiliate organisations in particular.
PCC NSW would make a stand on issues/ matters that affect the Filipino community in New South Wales.
PCC NSW would put forward policies that would advance the Filipino cause/ presence in NSW, cognisant that the Filipino community contributes to the social, economic and political fabric of NSW.
PCC NSW would be the consultative body of mainstream New South Wales as it deals with the Filipino community.In the 25 years since its establishment, with due respect, PCC NSW seems to have had only two regular activities of note – holding the Philippine Independence Day Ball and preparing for the Philippine Independence Day Ball. Check the Treasurer’s Reports at each annual general meeting if this is not so. Other activities seem to be those of its affiliates, with PCC NSW basking in their creation/completion.Has PCC NSW ever made a stand on/ given a voice to issues/ matters that affect the Filipino community in New South Wales?
Has PCC NSW ever put forward policies to advance the Filipino cause/ presence in NSW?Has PCC NSW ever been a consultative body of mainstream New South Wales as it deals with the Filipino community?Many of PCC NSW’s so-called leaders seem to have reneged on what PCC NSW had been mandated to do, putting its worthy goals/ mission in the ‘too hard’ basket. With due respect, many seem to have sat through their terms doing ‘nothing’, basking in their official ‘titles’ through photo opps with politicians, diplomats and celebrities, and hiding behind the ‘volunteer’ aspect of their roles for not doing ‘anything’. After all these years, PCC NSW still has to have a permanent physical address. Missed opportunities would be an understatement. Secondly,
Attitudes need to change.Those in positions of leadership need to show the best in Filipino traits, values, behaviour, e.g., respect, courtesy, sensitivity.
It’s fabulous to be ‘sikat’ but not ‘pasikat’.During debates/discussions/disagreements, stay hard on the issues; easy on the persons.Not everyone elected to a position in PCC NSW is equipped for leadership. Being popular does not translate to leadership – more so as PCC NSW depends on volunteers, and volunteerism requires commitment, sacrifice, purpose.What next?
Hope springs eternal. If we are discussing this, things can only get better.The past cannot be undone but we can work on the present and hopefully, a better future.
Revisit PCC NSW’s core objectives; focus; apply.
Have credible selection criteria for those who aspire to lead.Consolidate the skills within our talented, intelligent, knowledgeable community.
Each individual who sits on the PCC NSW Board must be prepared to undertake leadership training, to profess commitment to PCC NSW’s goals/mission, and to follow these through.Protect the brand. God bless us all. (Evelyn Opilas)


Ang mga Pilipino sa diaspora saan man sa mundo ay kilala sa indibidwal na sipag, tiyaga, husay sa gawain at pagmamalasakit. Pero hindi sa pagkakaisa. The Filipino people's soul is not whole. This is what we exude behind our proficiency in English which we also speak with pride as our second language, apparently because it equalises our inefficiencies in using another region's language (eg Bisaya vs Tagalog, etc) Pero kahit English na nga ang ginagamit at hindi ang kanya-kanyang dialekto, nakikita pa rin na wala tayong matatag na pagkakabuklod. I am just one of the many with well-meaning opinions here. And mine is NOT FOR UNIFORMITY. I support and I do my best to advocate through my broadcasts, preachings and publications the beauty of our regional distinctions and tongues. But they all must come within and to fortify a UNIFIED SOUL of the Filipino, characterised by acceptance, empathy, self-sacrifice and love for a unified whole. When we nurture our common soul and keep it whole, then there is true unity above all our diversity. Hopefully, we are on our way to realise this during our lifetime.Mainam maging maliit na bato na bahagi ng iisang bantayog ng ating lahi (napi picturan at isinasali pa sa selfie ng mga tao) kaysa isa sa maraming nakakalat bato na may kanya kanyang pangalan na nakikita sa mga libingan, dinadaan lang kahit nung nabubuhay pa siya ay maraming nagawa at napatunayan.
Jesus said, "And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand" Mark 3:25, ESV . I appreciate the effort of Evelyn Zaragoza in starting the conversation about unification within the Filipino-Australian community. The stalwart community leader wishes to see the realisation of a common aspiration dating back to the heroes of our mother land's history - a community being seen as one despite it's diversity within.What are the fruits of our labour?The Filipino diaspora is a tale of love, sacrifice, resilience and hard work. The efforts of our older generation of community leaders in NSW are invaluable! But how are we leaving these traits as a legacy to the next generation of Australians? Let us build an enduring, united monument enshrined in the hearts of the now and the next generation rather than Individual mini totem poles that may just be buried in the sands of time.
(Eric C. Maliwat, book author, broadcaster, pastor)

Published in Incoming

Following the call for unification passionately and unstoppably began by Evelyn Zaragoza and promoted solely by PCHN as its 23rd anniversary celebration’s underlying theme, the possibility of UNIFICATION is indeed gaining steam.

As of that fateful day of Sunday 20th of August 2017, the first concrete and major step towards UNIFICATION happened via an open discussion on the subject held at Marayong Community Centre with the imprimatur of the Philippine Community Council (PCC).
A brief inspirational talk by outgoing Consul General Anne Jalandoon-Lois started the ball rolling. She stressed the importance of “community building” and called for the crowd of about 150 people in the audience to “rebuild and strengthen” the very foundations of the Filipino community.
After a quick run-down of PCC’s 3 annual sustaining events (the annual Independence Ball and , X-Mas at Tumbalong Park plus PADER), Malynne Andres-Chun, one of the past presidents of PCC who has been tasked to act as rapporteur efficiently laid down the strictly 3-minute parameter given each speaker.
UNIFICATION initiator Evelyn Zaragoza talked first and said “EVELYN please quote from your speech” When queried as to where the whole idea began she said the impetus came

Kate Andres, a two-time serving past president spoke of her love for an organization whose existence she has defended through the years. In the same breath, she acknowledged however that the present is “different from yesterday” and some damages done before are “irreparable” thus thinks that “merging is not a good idea” and opts instead to “start anew” with “new constitution” and all that.

Another past president now elected Councillor of Campbelltown suggested to “start from a clean state, zero, scratch—forming a discussion group that will brainstorm ideas first with no pre-conditions from both parties.” referring to PCC and APCO.
Other past presidents also spoke. Jun Relunia emphasized that the end goal should be towards “inclusion” with “one voice” to promote the common interests and shared benefits for the Philippine-Australian organizations.”Elsa Collado warned against many who want to be President and opined that ‘if two groups both do not want to dissolve then the possible option is to co-exist and collaborate without having to change names.”Rick de Vera, who claims that perhaps he was the oldest in the group, repeated the age-old expression “PCC will always be PCC” and alluded that to inn-fighting, confrontation, and separation happens even amongst couples and siblings. Current prexy, Serna Ladia, thanked everyone who took time out to share many “good ideas “out of which we all “decide which one is the best” even as she cautioned everyone as to “how e portray ourselves” and emphasized that “change must come from within.”
More Passionate Opinions
The robust UNIFICATION discussion per se which lasted almost two hours gave vent to various impassioned calls for “pagkakaisa” (unity) in terms of objectives, goals, purposes, vision and mission all for the greater benefit and welfare of and all Filipino-Australians.
Famous artists likewise inputted their ten cents worth of ideas kicking-off with veteran entertainer Lilian de los Reyes echoing ala-Hamlet, “to dissolve or not to dissolve”, that is the question saying that “everybody is capable” and regardless of whether you are in a position or not the important thing is to “put our efforts together.” Stage director Armando Reyes questioned everyone “what are we really prepared to give willingly” and reminded the leaders that if necessary “start again from the very beginning” with only one all-embracing “objective”. Visual artist-Daisy Cumming, a PCC drop-out and formerly associated with APCO expressed “to let the past be an experience for us to learn and unlearn:
“and bewared of ego-tripping and “self-centeredness.” Arts scholar-critic-educator Mars Cavestany summarized and philosophised three strands of thought pervading in the discussion: “that there exists factional war in the corridors of power; that it has been going on for 7 years and has spiralled out of control therefore we must act now; and that our fates are inextricably linked as ‘ka-puso’ and ‘kapamilya” and re-echoed Congen’s return to the basics of community building.”
Many other similar and divergent opinions were recorded and have been painstakingly transcribed and are printed on page 17 together with extracts from the numerous emails received by Ms. Zaragoza condensed for everyone to run through the plurality , diversity, and exquisiteness of thoughts and feelings expressed by one and all .
1. Ms. Zaragoza further noted and deemed it most important for PCC to disseminate the informational emails to all its affiliates especially those not present in the first meeting. The body agreed that there ought to be a series of further discussions encouraged by PCC as well as APCO to ensure diverse voices are heard and all are fully informed throughout the long process of dialoguing, consultation and synthesizing that hopes to arrived at a conclusive solution to the issue of UNIFICATION, which has been summarized as any of the following possibilities:

1. MAINTAINANCE of the STATUS QUO (As is, Where is)

-No room for unification
-Mind your own business; live and proceed separately based on track record and harvest of achievements and avowed goals
To each our own efforts, own mistakes/flaws, own innovations/changes/concrete projects that impact and benefit the Filipino community at large
- Let history decide


-Both groups agree to a united call for Reconciliation, Healing, Collaboration and Peaceful Co-existence
- Baptise/rename the merged groups with a new overarching/encompassing title e.g.
Philippine Council & Alliance of Community Organizations.(PCACO); Filipino-Australian Council of Elders and Confederation of Community Organizations (FACECCO), United Philippine –Australian Umbrella Organization (UPAUO), Philippine Community Alliance Inc-, NSW ( PCAI-NSW) etc.
-Charter Change ( Create a Volunteer Steering Committee who shall review both Constitutions, amalgamate, amend/correct flaws and weaknesses, and institute checks and balances thus resetting/creating an updated version)
-Create an Advisory Board (Council of Elders) composed of past PCC and APCO Presidents
-Call for a general Assembly of combined PCC and APCO affiliates plus possibly new non-aligned groups and Elect an Omnibus group of X number Board of Officers who shall elect themselves to specific posts (e.g. Pres, VP’s, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor, PRO, Committee Heads etc) as shall have been previously discussed and agreed upon in the revised Constitution & By-Laws
-Enlarge/strengthen membership by inviting/enlisting non-aligned groups


- Dissolve both PCC and APCO or leave them as they are and
- Start anew via the creation of a volunteer, people-initiated Constitutional Convention that shall formulate a new Constitution & By- Laws based on and inspired by PCC and APCO’s common vision and mission
-Ratify the new Constitution via General Referendum (Before the Constitution could become the law governing the operation of peak body of the community , it would have to withstand public scrutiny and debate then signed/ratified by the majority of Filipino-Australians in NSW.)
- Elect a new set of officers composed mostly of younger leaders with the option to invite past PCC and APCO Presidents as Council of Elders/Advisory Consultative Board


The following extracts represent the summation of ideas and consensus of opinions from various individuals initially responding to the call for UNIFICATION headed by Evelyn Zaragoza, who via the 23rd anniversary issue of the Philippine Community Herald Newspaper called for “reconciliation, fruitful co-existence, and over-all healing by adapting a new collective body with one voice, one direction as well as common goals and aspirations for the betterment of the Filipino community.” Highlights (excerpts) of other wide-ranging responses are as follows:

• There is great potential in the community – to do more, achieve more, help each other more, and promote the interests of the community more. In the true spirit of bayanihan, we can move forward and progress. But this requires a collective resolve and a determination to put the interest of the body above the interests of a few. A strong and united Filipino community would be better able to present and have its voice heard by the government, by the media, by members of civil society, and other stakeholders.(CONSUL GENERAL ANNE JALANDO-ON LOUISE)

• There is so much talent in the Australian-Filipino community that if harnessed less than one roof, or one title, we can move mountains. As one unified group, we may have stronger stand to attain solid benefits and greater access to government – of all levels, in terms of grants, land etc. It will also be more effective when we hand over the reins to the next generation without discounting the selfless sacrifices and efforts of existing and past organizations. (LINDA GERONIMO SANTOS)

• Just take steps/devise strategy to reconcile and aim to have one peak body. A successful outcome will raise our esteem, achieve more, leave lasting legacy and bring glory to our Motherland. The status quo has been a continuing embarrassment to us all and to no one’s credit and any achievements are marred or tainted by self-pride. (JESS DIAZ)

• There were scenarios before: (a) first 3 years of PCC (with Manique group) ;( b) with PASC and Lolita not recognizing PCC? (c) then breakaway of APCO.? If there’s something wrong on both sides, it’s the people running them. All personalities -- and instead of looking at the organization and how they can help, they look at their personal agenda. Tama na nga! ( RIC DE VERA)

• Merge APCO, PCC and other groups under the one roof and under a new name. We make it harder for ourselves to embrace the opportunities and challenges. I also feel like a child of divorced parents. Let's look back in history and say that 2017 was the year we set things right. I call on our present leaders to show us the way and be the change they want to see in the community.(MICHELLE BALTAZAR)

• The only way to do the Unification is to dissolve both bodies and have a new name, new constitution, new address, in short RENEW everything. (LILLIAN DE LOS REYES)

• This is possible if everyone is willing to sacrifice, to embrace togetherness, and to move on. This will be our best gift for the next generation of Filipino Australian community servants” (JUN RELUNIA)

• Establish a unification team that will be composed of non partisan members, people who can share their thoughts without being subjective to their own interest.” (AMOR RAMOS)

• No need to dissolve either bodies They should just have their leaders involved before in the breakaway/split to clear the air. Unity can be achieved when parts agree to work together with one goal for the benefit of all. (CORA PARAS)

• To ensure an effective and peaceful transition of power for these 2 rival umbrella groups should vacate their roles/positions and start a fresh election. A new mandate will enable the reunified group particularly their low ranking officers who have been top performers for many years but unable to get to get a chance to be nominated and occupy the top echelon of the organization. (FRANCIS (Boy) DE LOS SANTOS)

• Let’s start with a clean slate, out with the old guard and in with the new! This is not easy but with goodwill and popular support, combined with dynamic leadership, it could succeed. (NENITA WEEKES)

• Issue-based partnership (is the answer). Structurally, a working party is established that will manage to fruition the achievement of the objective or resolution of the issue. Partnership relies on collaborative actions through a formal organisational structure to achieve a specific goal that is common to partners and/or stakeholders. (AIDA MORDEN)

• It's about time that this subject of unification is discussed openly Time for all of us to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. Draw out a volunteer management plan to avoid overstaying and burn out because they do everything year after year, with the same ideas - stagnant and outdated events. (Michaela Ramas)

• Like the government leaders in Western countries our basis and format is G20, G30 or G40 depending on membership. Only Pres and one VP to represent organization members (must be legitimate & registered minimum members). To satisfy both parties change of new name must be coined from two existing names. Sample - Philippine Council & Alliance of Community Organizations. New constitution, mission and objectives must be derived from both.(MANNY B. CASTILLO)

• Both parties (should) nominate 3 mediators each and hopefully you can find a common nominee who will chair the mediation process. (IMELDA ARGEL).

• Convene a transition United Philippine Australian Umbrella Organization chaired by Dr Zen Amores and Ms. Ladia as Vice-Chair. The rest of the office becomes the transition board tasked to draft a new constitution and bylaws, policies and regulations. Then live happily ever after.(TOM BAENA)

• We need to embark upon some basic principles of unity – the need to have a common identity or vision, a campaign to influence the younger generation. (DAISY ANN GONZALEZ-CUMMING)

• Our elders are taking us back in their past when they newly migrated to Australia, with a lot to prove then, still thinking of past glories. But in our time now, we have assimilated.(ALBERT FRIAS )

• Set aside jealousy and intrigues so typical in our culture then unification should work out. (VIA HOFFMANN)

• To tell all, no holds-barred- in reasonably colorful language is a testament to our indomitable democratic spirit, our resilient culture, and our unfathomable valor as Filipino-Australians. When more unified voices coexist and coalesce, UNIFICATION, naturally reigns supreme. (MARS CAVESTANY)

• I am all for One Direction. Maybe about time we solve this division in our Community. 
I believe that what we do as individuals or in a group is just as relevant as what the "other groups" are doing. 
In our Faith COMMUNITY, we talk about justice, equality, fairness, love and forgiveness. 
I advocate peace and understanding in my line of work. Be a proud, unified Filipino- Australian enjoying this very sublime country we now call home.
Mabuhay! (EMILY RUDD)

• Let us involve our young people to assist us in sharing our ‘community building capacity’ so we can be a stronger TEAM –working together and responding to all age groups. Old leaders should show more sense of humility and build up their capacity to be mentors, not tormentors. No ego players please! Let us stop these people from monopolizing’ (PENNY PERFECTO)

• I have seen how the two groups have operated and ran its organization and meetings. I also seek unity but am also wary of what motivation has been behind a lot of the people's well meaning comments. Unity must mean being of one mind, one objective, respect and non-ego seeking motivation but to seek only the betterment of the Filipino-Australian community on the whole. So until we can do that and set aside difference and corruption to enable accountability for each board member to its peers, I am sorry to say it will never be appealing to the younger upcoming youth. ( RICHARD FORD)

• I tried my hardest to keep an open mind, but I gave up. A peak body that celebrates Filipinos thru an annual ball lacks the creativity and foresight to serve their very own people. Furthermore, the vision and mission of PCC-NSW seems to be limited, lack creativity and many of its former leaders are more on a power trip with the title/status given to them. I've been a member and director in the past, and I've now removed myself from any future dealings with PCC-NSW for these very reasons. (MIKO SELORIO)

• Let us look at the bigger picture. What is it do we desire to accomplish as Filipino Australian in this beautiful country of ours - Australia? (LUZ PRESS)

• Very ambitious objective. Go for it. You might just be able to get it happening and going! (ROD DINGLE

• UNIFICATION issue to be confined to organisations only and nothing to do with personal matters and personalities. It would be nice (if rather naive) to think that these Filipino organisations are totally independent of personal matters and personalities. (DIZZY DIZON)

• Send both organization’s leaders to Mindanao to prepare soup kitchen to indigenous people to prove their sincerity to serve the less fortunate.(MARX CANOY)

• Interesting. Yes there is definitely a benefit to have a stronger voice so that we can raise issues of importance to us. (MARISSA MEYN)

• YEMCHA – (Yes to Merger and Change!) Reprepresentatives from both organizations will meet for the Unification Process for a definite period of time and at which cost will be borne by both parties. Among the topics to be considered are: type of organization of the new body; winding up and dissolution of the affairs of the Council and the Alliance, determination-selection process, celebration. Finally, an end to conflict of ideas and of personalities (MANNY ROUX)

• I am young and new. Hindi ko alam kung ano talaga ang punot dulo ng conflict. I am disappointed with what I saw and what I observed. I said to myself I don't want to be a member anymore dahil wala akong mapulot na magandang values sa mga leaders. As a new member, I can consider myself as an active supporters to the Filipino community most specially when there is a fundraising para sa ating mga less fortunate na kababayan sa Pilipinas pero what I can observe is para lang sa mga kapakanan ng may mga katungkulan. (ALMA MIDDLEBROOK)

• True humility and generosity are the top factors to unity and peace. Only with these two values can one avoid being self-centered, hence will become more objective and focused on the vision/mission. Hope it will materialise. (SOL LAPALMA)

• Wouldn’t it look better if the headline speaks: APCO and PCC sets aside difference merges to establish Filipino community peak body? This is me thinking ideally but if people involved in the conflict cling on to their ego, pride, and personal interests, unification will remain an afterthought. (DAVE TAN)


• With the split of PCC into two groups, the dream seems more difficult to become a reality. At this point in time, it may not be productive to go through what happened and worse engage in a 'blaming game'. I feel that we need to take little steps at a time towards healing and moving forward. My view is that going for the "instant" dissolution of both groups and having one group could present issues that would set us back further. (VIOLI CALVERT)

• This is a very noble and big task. We always aim for a unified, strong, body for the Filipino community. (SERNA LADIA)

• I believe that if we are thinking and acting as one, we will be able to assist our compatriots who have been duly elected to the positions they hold now in supporting legislations that will benefit the multi-cultural community that includes us. Let us show and continuously prove that we, Filipinos, are uniquely cohesive and we think as ONE...... ISANG BANSA, ISANG DIWA. (LINDA BAISA).

• Whether the collective path we choose be division, unification, cooperative, co-existence or subordination, the most important factor to consider is the well being of the ordinary Filipino resident in NSW. Competition is inherently adversarial. Cooperation and peace, on the other hand is the state most conductive to advancing the collective interests of the Filipino people in a foreign country. (PERRY PERALTA)

 CONDENSED, EDITED & PRESENTED BY: Evelyn Zaragoza and Mars Cavestany


Published in Incoming
Saturday, 29 July 2017 12:47



In keeping with the 23rd celebration of the founding of the people-oriented Philippine Community Herald Newspaper (PCHN), a passionate call for an inspired movement
towards “unification” has been initiated by publisher Evelyn Zaragoza, in her own right as a community leader.

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
as concerned fellow Australians that shall serve as springboard for more concerted and definitive actions.

More specifically, the call for unification is made in immediate response to the widening gap and ongoing difference of opinions between two major organisations –
the Philippine Community Council of New South Wales Inc. (PCC) and the Alliance of Philippine Community .Organizations Inc. (APCO).

These two organisations continue to make opposing claims: one being the reigning ‘peak body’ for 27 years and the other, as an ‘umbrella group’ now on its 7th year
of operation after its great fall-out from PCC in 2010. Each alleges to be the peak body of the entire Filipino-Australian community in NSW.

PCC, Inc. President Serna Ladia said, “Our meeting on the 4th of July 2017, the first Tuesday of the month, was a regular meeting. I invited the advisory body for
their thoughts/comments not only for this “unification issue” but also for other important matters like the “Pasko sa Tumbalong”, one of the main projects of PCC-
NSW. Responding to your “Unification Proposal”, the PCC-NSW board, in that recent meeting with the PCC-NSW former presidents, resolved to convene a General
Assembly on the 20th of August 2017 -1:30 to 4:30 at Marayong Community Centre, 62 Railway Road, Marayong (close to Marayong train station) inviting all its
43 affiliates and concerned members of the community to discuss about our “Filipino Community in NSW - Today and Tomorrow.”

APCO, Inc. for its part has convened its affiliate groups and individual members. President Pet Storey said, “Members suggested their views and opinions. We
listened to each one’s suggestions; but, not one has been put to motion, so there was no established APCO’s position. Jimmy Lopez suggested a referendum but not
put to motion, nor seconded by anyone.”

Following is an initial documentation representing a cross section of early responses to the e-mail sent by Ms. Zaragoza which reads in part:

“Don’t you think it will be great to call it, “one voice”, if we have one main Filipino-Australian community in NSW? Each of the above organizations are performing
its roles/duties well, but only for their own affiliates/members and few from our community. We are aware that there are issues that are dividing us (personal, different
opinions) but let us put them aside. We as individuals in our own respective groups are doing well, surviving and comfortably enjoying ourselves BUT only for
ourselves and our own enjoyment NOW. We have to be realistic and think of the FUTURE generation. It’s an ever- changing world, everything is possible. It’s our
choice! (EZ) 

by Mars Cavestany & EZ (All Rights Reserved)


Good initiative which I fully endorse and support.
As has been said, move forward. At the meeting, do
not talk of the past. Just take steps/devise strategy
to reconcile and aim to have one peak body. A successful
outcome will raise our esteem, achieve more,
leave lasting legacy and bring glory to our Motherland.
The status quo has been a continuing embarrassment
to us all and to no one’s credit and any
achievements are marred or tainted by self pride.
(Jess Diaz)

Our elders are taking us back in their past when
they newly migrated in Australia. They have a lot
“TO PROVE” then. They are still thinking of their
past glories. BUT in our time now, we have assimilated.
A few of them could not adapt to the change
of time.

In our time now, we are doing our best for the Filipino-
Australian community even though we don’t
have to as Australia is providing us with many of the
resources that we may need.

We simply love our country, our culture and traditions
which we can share to other young children
with Filipino background so they will continue Filipino
culture & traditions to stay here in Australia.
We keep promoting to them their ‘roots’. So the transition
of having future leaders in the Filipino-Australian
community will continue. That’s why majority
of us want to be UNITED. And please note, there are
a few ‘elders’, giving their opinions and yet they are
not actively participating in our community activities.
(Albert Prias)

Congratulations for initiating this Move. It’s about
time that WE, the Filipino-Australian Community of
NSW and its 2 Main Bodies namely PCC and APCO
Inc must unite and bury the bitterness and disharmony.
As discussed, the only way to do the Unification
is to dissolve both bodies and have a new Name, new
Constitution, and New Address, in short RENEW
everything. Create an FB Page specifically for this
UNIFICATION and invite people to comment. Suggestions
and ideas are welcome. My Thoughts,

(Lillian de los Reyes)

I agree. It’s a great idea Evelyn. Excellent initiative.
I suggest both parties nominate 3 mediators each
and hopefully you can find a common nominee who
will chair the mediation process. Imelda Argel

We will be taking this “Unification” issue in our
board meeting today (4/7/17).In order for the Body
to make an informed and objective decision, kindly
forward the process/mechanics on how this “Unification”
can be done. This is a very critical/important
issue that would affect the PCC-NSW, the peak
body, which is in existence for a very long time. Evelyn,
I appreciate what you have done and what you
are doing. This is a very noble and big task. Like you,
we always aim for a unified, strong body for the Filipino
Community. Thanks again. (Serna Ladia)

This letter is to address my views on the recent matters
occurring among the various Filipino organisations.
I write this with passion guided by my conviction
in the God Almighty.

We have had so many unhealthy encounters during the
past several years mostly politically motivated. This is
even attested by the unsuccessful attempts to become
one united organisation. We have had our taste of self-
inflicted wounds from our self-inflated egos.

My heart still yearns for a united movement among
all of us. In order to do so, we need to embark upon some
basic principles of unity - the need to have common identity
or vision, a campaign to influence the younger generation. I
believe that if we have a united vision, we will have an identity
as one Filipino segment of the Australian community.
Our identity will direct our intentionality. Our intentionality
will direct our dispositions. With a common identity, our
motivations will determine our methods. With one spirit and
a united inspiring vision, then we can harmoniously work
together. I quote 1Corinthians 12:12 “For just as the body
is one and has many members, and all the members of the
body, though many, are one body. (Daisy Ann Gonzalez-

It’s not easy to unify 2 organizations. Set aside jealousy
and intrigues which is so typical in our culture then it should
work out OK!? I wish you all the best!

(Via Hoffmann)

Thanks for including me on your email. I know my opinion
don’t really matter, but as a concerned individual who’s
been in this country for nearly 40 years, this is what I think
of our community. Everyone wants to be A LEADER, BUT
NOT ALL). To be a good leader you need to give
importance to what your flock is saying, listen and give
importance to those around you. Ask for their inputs and
Ideas that will grow your organization, FOR THE BETTERMENT
Nearly 30 thousands. What do we have? A community
centre! That’s all! Other communities have Clubs, Church,
Nursing home and etc. Our Philippine Independence Day
Celebration. Is celebrated separately? What a pity? APCO
was the first one to inform the CONSULATE that they are
celebrating on the 10th June 2017. PCC did it on the same
day. Due to the fact that PCC has been in operation for 25
years, they were given more importance by both the CONSUL
one of them could have joined APCO?). Mr ANGELES
represented the Consulate and the Ambassador which we
are very thankful. If these two “PEAK BODY” OR “UMBRELLA”
DON’T WANT TO UNITE, what‘s the next option?
Our hope is to unite PCC and APCO AS ONE VOICE.
you mentioned, we need a change? Forget the past, move
forward for a better future of our community. Let’s organize
a forum, between PCC and APCO? I WILL GET THE
(Fe Hayward)

I am writing not as a representative of the association I
am affiliated with but as a young Filipino who is new to the
community and who is also trying to understand why such
a division exists. To disclose though, I never knew about
APCO and PCC as them being the “peak bodies” that supposedly
fosters the welfare and interests of fellow Filipinos;
or the causes of the disagreement that they currently have.

As frustrating as it is, I believe the Filipino community is a
lot more divided than the 7,641 Philippine islands or the 187
Philippine dialects spoken. From my standpoint, as of one of
the youth members of the community, I can say that the issue
at hand is also driven by politics and personal interests
which goes against the goals of APCO and PCC in trying to
promote a unified Filipino community.

I know for a fact that branding will be an issue if they decide
to merge. “What name will we use?” will be one argument
as they both worked hard in their respective years to
build their history and identity. That is an indisputable fact
they have actually worked hard to establish themselves in
their own rights. However, I feel like the branding and identity
of the greater Filipino community is already tarnished
and lost by having two supposedly “peak bodies” trying to
outdo each other for that limelight to show that one is better
than the other. Wouldn’t it look better if the headline
speaks, “APCO and PCC sets aside difference, merges to
establish Filipino community peak body”? Again, this is
me thinking ideally but if the people involved in this conflict
cling on their ego, pride and personal interests, this
unification will all remain as an afterthought.

Although I believe and hope that the adults leading
APCO and PCC would be able to solve their differences,
it might be a good consideration if the Philippine Embassy
in Australia and the Philippine Consulate in Sydney would
be able to mediate this unification and have them send a
stronger message that they will no longer be tolerating
this disunity and that the two groups should get their acts

I am humbly challenging the “adults” of the community
to render a solution for us younger generation who might
be interested to become more active in this community
both groups have tried to build. Please show us what it
actually means to lead by example and answer the question,
“How do you get everyone to think in terms of ‘Us’ –
we’re all on the same team – rather than thinking of other
organisations as ‘Them’?” Kind regards, (Dave Tan)

“The fact that people are able to tell all, no holds barred
– you know, as in openly saying the shit and not be scared
shit about our innermost thoughts and feelings captured
with such reasonably colourful languages is a testament
to our indomitable democratic spirit, our resilient culture,
and our unfathomable valour as Filipino-Australians.
When more unified voices coexist and coalesce, UNIFICATION
naturally reigns supreme! (Mars Cavestany)

Some food for thought: Convene a Transition United
Philippine Australian Umbrella Organization. Transition
Chair Dr Zen Amores. Vice chair Ms Ladia. The rest of the
office will become the Transition board. Their task: Draft
a new constitution and bylaws, policies and regulations.
Then live happily ever after. (Tom Baena)

Hope it’s not too late. If this was done in 2011 or 2012
puede pa siguro. Anyway, I wish you good luck!

Question: Who was the breakaway group? You should
confine your efforts on that aspect. It was really done out
of emotion. “kaya nila - kaya din natin” see?.

If there’s something wrong on both sides, it’s the people
who are running PCC & APCO. Perhaps we should wait
until new generations should take over.

There were scenarios before: a) first 3 years of PCC (with
Maniques group); b) with PASC & Lolita not recognising
PCC? c) then now breakaway of APCO?

But as we say “PCC will always be PCC” - What are
the problems? All personalities. Instead of looking at the
Organisation and how they can help, they look at their
personal agenda.

Tama na nga. Sorry that’s my short contribution to what
you are trying to achieve - UNIFICATION. (Ric de Vera)

Great start. Good luck and let me know if I could do
more. It will be a mammoth task, but I congratulate you
on your wherewithal to initiate this unification project. I
am all for it. There is so much talent in the Australian-
Filipino community that if harnessed less than one roof, or
one title, we can move mountains. As one unified group,
we may have a stronger stand to attain solid benefits for
the entire Filipino-Australian community. One large, unified
body may have greater access to the government - of
all levels, in terms of seeking grants, land, etc. We are
definitely a significant entity in the country. We are one of
the largest non-European migrant groups in Australia. It
will also be more effective when we hand over the reins to
the next generation, if this generation can inherit a single,
unified, efficient and effective body. Of course, this is not
discounting the selfless sacrifices and efforts of existing
and past organisation officers. Good luck! Am behind this
(Linda Geronimo Santos)

Unification Initiator Evelyn Zaragoza’s Collective Statement to Various Responses:

With the comments
shared, we can agree
that majority is in
favour of UNIFICATION.

The issue now is how??

The difference between
the years do not mean
anything to new leaders
now who are not aware
of the underlying issues
then and couldn’t be
bothered for they simply
want to perform their
duties/roles. There are
many questions left unresolved
but to me they
are past and cannot be
brought back. Just memories
now and I hope that
we’ve learned from such
unpleasant experiences.

Of course we may discuss
so as to clear the
air but at the end of the
day, we have to move on,
we cannot cling to it all
throughout our lives, repeating
same issues all
the time. What we are
after now is for the sake
of the future generation.
The same challenges
maybe encountered by
this new generation, but
at least while we’re here
we can help unify the
community and leave
them united. We now
live in a new era with
many new changes. I
also have an ‘emotional
attachment’ with PCC
but I’m being practical.
With its 27 years existence,
I tend to reflect:
what ‘solid’ project has it
accomplished in all these
many years that our community
is benefitting from
till now?

Many of us are on our
‘twilight time’ now, we
can’t be ‘sentimental’
about the values/traditions
our group holds because a
new era set their new set of

The reality is, it is so hard
nowadays to find time to
be actively involved with
many community activities.
Better to start anew,
harnessing the new, youthful
energies in our community!

Let’s not just make this
another lip service. We are
the ones who can and must
make the unification happen.
No finger-pointing,
no blaming, no mention of
names (specially if hearsay
only). We don’t want to
defame anyone. We should
confine ourselves to the issue
at hand which is unification
and give our ideas/
opinions that will stay and
be passed on to others.
Good/Brilliant ideas stay
forever, not people.

In a ‘collective body’ (one
voice) we can be focused,
move towards one direction,
one common goal and
be more effective. We can
do more! We are stronger
as joint force with all our
positive comments and
possible solutions. I can
foresee a ‘vibrant/positive’
Filipino-Australian community
in NSW because
we will make it happen
now!!! Let us avoid the sad
experience of some leaders
who approached the federal
and local government
re: acquisition of land and
were denied precisely for
the reason that their perception
is that the Filipino-
Australian community is
divided. And this was not
made aware to the affiliates.
To begin with, there
are organizations who feel
better off not being members
of either the “peak” or
“umbrella” body. Please no
more playing politics and
number game.

We need not prolong our
agonies. There are leaders
in our community who
still want to retain their
name. Understandably
they worked hard for it
for years, established their
‘brand’. just like a family
wherein they consider
themselves the ‘head’ and
must be followed. Magpatigasan
tayo, matira

I just hope that they will
realize that this is different
from their ‘family’, it’s a
community group for the
interests of the Filipino-
Australian community
in NSW as a whole and
not their personal interests/
family or what they
want!!! Please forget your
pride, ego and the bitterness
in your hearts.

With the silent cry of
many, sana united tayo,
sayang matatalino pa
naman ang mga Filipino.
meron na sana
tayong club house,
church, etc. just like
other nationalities who
arrived after us, naunahan
pa tayo.

Please let us help each
other to encourage more
the enthusiasm of our
next leaders. No one
owns the community – it
is a “collective body” for
‘everybody’. I know unification
will not happen
overnight. But new leaders
needn’t have to gather
years of experience just
to prove that “you” are
better or until one dies.
you don’t have to outdo
each other.

Let’s prove to the world
that ‘crab mentality’ does
not exist in the Filipino
community. Don’t let
jealousy get the better of
us. If you want things
done, there should be no
“IFs” and “BUTs”. Just
do it, especially if it’s
for the betterment of our

It’s a changing world
and don’t let the Filipino-
Australian community in
NSW suffer and be left
behind and not progress
because of someone’s
personal agenda.

If we are one, we can
move “heaven and


Published in Incoming