Evelyn Zaragoza

Evelyn Zaragoza

 

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.

(Signed)
Pet Storey
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)

 

FR RENATO PARAS golden jubilee celebration was celebrated with a mass held at the St. Aidan’s Rooty Hill on Sunday, 26 Nov. 2017.
His legacy to Filipino-Australians is no doubt massive so much so that in the lead-up to his 50th anniversary sacerdotal ordination of Rev Fr Renato Paras, it is but proper and fitting that we contemplate his legacy and offer congratulations and thanks to him for a life of witnessing and service to Filipino Chaplaincy.
The Australian legacy of Fr Renato Paras began with his arrival in Sydney in November 1980, having been assigned by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries here for pastoral work among the growing population of Filipinos in New South Wales. A momentous event was the holding of the first ever Filipino mass in Australia on 1 January 1981 at St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Marayong. Fr Renato Paras thus marked his assignment as the first Filipino Chaplain in the history of Filipino migration in Australia. The Filipino Chaplaincy in Sydney was officially established in February 1981 when Cardinal James Freeman, then Archbishop of Sydney, certified Fr Renato Paras SVD as Chaplain of the Filipino community in New South Wales. The continued migration of Filipinos to Australia saw growing communities not just in Blacktown but also other areas in Western Sydney, in Sydney and in NSW.
The early history of the Filipino Chaplaincy is closely intertwined with that of the Filipino Catholic Organization of Sydney or FILCOS as it came to be popularly known. In early 1981, FILCOS was formed, largely due to the initiative of Fr Paras, who had a vision of a Filipino organisation that will promote strong Christian values and spiritual uplift among Filipino migrants in Sydney. He gathered a group of Filipinos from different areas and spelt out his vision. This meeting resulted in the election of the first set of FILCOS officers with Ampy Natividad elected as its first president. Four were designated vice-presidents representing the areas where they lived, namely Reming Biala (Blacktown), Roger Angara (Fairfield), Manny Villon (Kirribilli) and Tony Chiapoco (Marrickville). They in effect were the presidents of their respective chapters. The other officers were Mely Siasat, Secretary; Boy Suarez, Treasurer; Vivian Martinez, Auditor; and Oscar Landicho, P.R.O. Fr Paras was spiritual adviser. FILCOS chapters in Bankstown, Blacktown, Fairfield, North Shore area and Parramatta were established and continued to flourish during the 80s and 90s. In Blacktown, the establishment and growth of FILCOS occurred in relation to the Family Rosary Crusade led mainly by the late Bro. Joe “Tatang” Gonzales where the image of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to Filipino households in rotation for the recitation of the Holy Rosary starting in 1981. A brainstorming session held by Fr Paras, Bro. Joe and Bob Mendoza saw the need for a structure that would promote spiritual and social interaction among Filipino Christian families who were mostly new arrivals in this country within the framework of the Family Rosary Crusade.
FILCOS was the backbone for the administration and operation of the Filipino Chaplaincy until it came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Parramatta. Filipino Multi-Purpose Centre Now Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre The Filipino Catholic Organisations of Sydney initiated the idea of a Multi-Purpose Centre for the Filipino community and Fr Renato Paras has to get a lot of credit for that vision. The vision and the plan were born and nurtured over the years from as early as 1981 when FILCOS and its original chapters were established. The Philippine - Australian Community Foundation, Inc. was formed as trustee for the MPC in 1990 with Fr Renato Paras as settlor. April 9th 1994 The Multipurpose Centre on Duke Street, Rooty Hill became a reality when Stage 1 was completed in time for its blessing to be held during the FILCOS Blacktown fiesta on 26th March 1995. In 2008 MPC Rooty Hill was subsequently sold and a much larger property in Schofields purchased. Renamed the Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre, this was sold in 2015 paving the way for the purchase of a fully-paid property at 50 Forge Street, Blacktown. Fr Renato remains a staunch supporter of the cultural centre project, proud of his role in its establishment and continuing history. He is still spiritual adviser of the Philippine-Australian Community Foundation Inc. Diocese of Parramatta Fr Renato had been the spiritual adviser, the guiding hand, the father of the community, until a career change in 1993 saw him resign from the Filipino Chaplaincy to be incardinated into the Diocese of Parramatta.
His first appointment as a Diocesan priest was as assistant parish priest in Christ the King Parish in North Rocks. In 1996, Fr Renato was appointed parish priest of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Springwood and then in 1998 as parish priest of St Aidan’s Parish in Rooty Hill where he served for two terms or 13 years. During this time, Fr Renato established a Eucharistic Youth group with the aim of bringing young people closer to God through seminars and retreats. He offered scholarships in piano, guitar and drums to parishioners as well as non-parishioners. He also worked to improve the commitment of volunteers teaching catechism in state schools. In his busy work of providing pastoral care for a huge parish,
Fr Renato’s crowning achievement was the construction of the MacKillop Hall to serve the parish need for meeting, workshop and social space. In October 2011 Fr Renato retired as parish priest of St Aidan’s Parish. Fr Renato’s 30 years of providing pastoral care in Sydney was celebrated by the Filipino community through a theatrical presentation entitled Para Sayo, Amax created by Bob and Belen Mendoza as well as a number of mass celebrations and farewell parties. Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, then Bishop of Parramatta said that Fr Renato should be acknowledged for his ministry not only to the Filipino community but also to the parishes he had served in the Diocese. On 30 October 2011 Bishop Fisher presided at a Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The legacy of Fr Renato was recently recognised when he along with 19 individuals and two organisations were honoured during the celebration of Philippine Australia Friendship Day and National Heritage Month in May 2017 at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, ACT. The 70th Anniversary Awards were presented to individuals who have contributed to the enhancement of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Australia.
Fr Renato was cited for his contribution in community service through his pioneering role in the Filipino Chaplaincy. Fr Renato’s legacy will be ingrained in the minds and hearts of Filipinos in Sydney for a long time. Fr Renato wishes to be remembered for his legacy of service and witnessing. Service to him is service to the Lord through service to people. Witnessing is living his life in union with Jesus Christ proclaiming God’s word and leading people to believe that God is real.
Thank you Fr Renato, you have brought hope, joy and healing into the lives of so many people and in return may you be blessed with deep happiness and a sense of peace in the years to come.

 

FR RENATO PARAS golden jubilee celebration was celebrated with a mass held at the St. Aidan’s Rooty Hill on Sunday, 26 Nov. 2017.
His legacy to Filipino-Australians is no doubt massive so much so that in the lead-up to his 50th anniversary sacerdotal ordination of Rev Fr Renato Paras, it is but proper and fitting that we contemplate his legacy and offer congratulations and thanks to him for a life of witnessing and service to Filipino Chaplaincy.
The Australian legacy of Fr Renato Paras began with his arrival in Sydney in November 1980, having been assigned by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries here for pastoral work among the growing population of Filipinos in New South Wales. A momentous event was the holding of the first ever Filipino mass in Australia on 1 January 1981 at St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Marayong. Fr Renato Paras thus marked his assignment as the first Filipino Chaplain in the history of Filipino migration in Australia. The Filipino Chaplaincy in Sydney was officially established in February 1981 when Cardinal James Freeman, then Archbishop of Sydney, certified Fr Renato Paras SVD as Chaplain of the Filipino community in New South Wales. The continued migration of Filipinos to Australia saw growing communities not just in Blacktown but also other areas in Western Sydney, in Sydney and in NSW.
The early history of the Filipino Chaplaincy is closely intertwined with that of the Filipino Catholic Organization of Sydney or FILCOS as it came to be popularly known. In early 1981, FILCOS was formed, largely due to the initiative of Fr Paras, who had a vision of a Filipino organisation that will promote strong Christian values and spiritual uplift among Filipino migrants in Sydney. He gathered a group of Filipinos from different areas and spelt out his vision. This meeting resulted in the election of the first set of FILCOS officers with Ampy Natividad elected as its first president. Four were designated vice-presidents representing the areas where they lived, namely Reming Biala (Blacktown), Roger Angara (Fairfield), Manny Villon (Kirribilli) and Tony Chiapoco (Marrickville). They in effect were the presidents of their respective chapters. The other officers were Mely Siasat, Secretary; Boy Suarez, Treasurer; Vivian Martinez, Auditor; and Oscar Landicho, P.R.O. Fr Paras was spiritual adviser. FILCOS chapters in Bankstown, Blacktown, Fairfield, North Shore area and Parramatta were established and continued to flourish during the 80s and 90s. In Blacktown, the establishment and growth of FILCOS occurred in relation to the Family Rosary Crusade led mainly by the late Bro. Joe “Tatang” Gonzales where the image of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to Filipino households in rotation for the recitation of the Holy Rosary starting in 1981. A brainstorming session held by Fr Paras, Bro. Joe and Bob Mendoza saw the need for a structure that would promote spiritual and social interaction among Filipino Christian families who were mostly new arrivals in this country within the framework of the Family Rosary Crusade.
FILCOS was the backbone for the administration and operation of the Filipino Chaplaincy until it came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Parramatta. Filipino Multi-Purpose Centre Now Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre The Filipino Catholic Organisations of Sydney initiated the idea of a Multi-Purpose Centre for the Filipino community and Fr Renato Paras has to get a lot of credit for that vision. The vision and the plan were born and nurtured over the years from as early as 1981 when FILCOS and its original chapters were established. The Philippine - Australian Community Foundation, Inc. was formed as trustee for the MPC in 1990 with Fr Renato Paras as settlor. April 9th 1994 The Multipurpose Centre on Duke Street, Rooty Hill became a reality when Stage 1 was completed in time for its blessing to be held during the FILCOS Blacktown fiesta on 26th March 1995. In 2008 MPC Rooty Hill was subsequently sold and a much larger property in Schofields purchased. Renamed the Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre, this was sold in 2015 paving the way for the purchase of a fully-paid property at 50 Forge Street, Blacktown. Fr Renato remains a staunch supporter of the cultural centre project, proud of his role in its establishment and continuing history. He is still spiritual adviser of the Philippine-Australian Community Foundation Inc. Diocese of Parramatta Fr Renato had been the spiritual adviser, the guiding hand, the father of the community, until a career change in 1993 saw him resign from the Filipino Chaplaincy to be incardinated into the Diocese of Parramatta.
His first appointment as a Diocesan priest was as assistant parish priest in Christ the King Parish in North Rocks. In 1996, Fr Renato was appointed parish priest of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Springwood and then in 1998 as parish priest of St Aidan’s Parish in Rooty Hill where he served for two terms or 13 years. During this time, Fr Renato established a Eucharistic Youth group with the aim of bringing young people closer to God through seminars and retreats. He offered scholarships in piano, guitar and drums to parishioners as well as non-parishioners. He also worked to improve the commitment of volunteers teaching catechism in state schools. In his busy work of providing pastoral care for a huge parish,
Fr Renato’s crowning achievement was the construction of the MacKillop Hall to serve the parish need for meeting, workshop and social space. In October 2011 Fr Renato retired as parish priest of St Aidan’s Parish. Fr Renato’s 30 years of providing pastoral care in Sydney was celebrated by the Filipino community through a theatrical presentation entitled Para Sayo, Amax created by Bob and Belen Mendoza as well as a number of mass celebrations and farewell parties. Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, then Bishop of Parramatta said that Fr Renato should be acknowledged for his ministry not only to the Filipino community but also to the parishes he had served in the Diocese. On 30 October 2011 Bishop Fisher presided at a Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The legacy of Fr Renato was recently recognised when he along with 19 individuals and two organisations were honoured during the celebration of Philippine Australia Friendship Day and National Heritage Month in May 2017 at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, ACT. The 70th Anniversary Awards were presented to individuals who have contributed to the enhancement of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Australia.
Fr Renato was cited for his contribution in community service through his pioneering role in the Filipino Chaplaincy. Fr Renato’s legacy will be ingrained in the minds and hearts of Filipinos in Sydney for a long time. Fr Renato wishes to be remembered for his legacy of service and witnessing. Service to him is service to the Lord through service to people. Witnessing is living his life in union with Jesus Christ proclaiming God’s word and leading people to believe that God is real.
Thank you Fr Renato, you have brought hope, joy and healing into the lives of so many people and in return may you be blessed with deep happiness and a sense of peace in the years to come.

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