PCC NSW’S CHALLENGES AHEAD By: Manny Diel

The Philippine Community Council of NSW , the State’s Peak Body that celebrated its 25 years last year received a big boast with the election of Kate Andres as its State President . She was the State President from 1994-1997 then 2003-2004 and also became the FILCCA National President before. The new Board has to work harder to regain that credibility under a very experienced leader.
Although it was a very close result against Bobby Lastica 16 -15 and with two delegates abstaining , it was a mandate , the 33 affiliates gave who want more direction as to where PCC has to go in the next ten years and live up to what a real peak body is supposed to do in the community . It should do more than what an affiliate can do , as a peak body.
The PCC has a lot of challenges to tackle in its 25 years of existence. It should revisit the PCC ‘s objectives and its Mission Statement for the community. It should have a STRATEGIC PLAN for the next ten years based on community needs like a Building Fund , Deductible Gift Recipient . We are much behind compared to other Ethnic Group affiliated with ECC and FECCA.
It has done a lot in organising major events like the Philippine National Day Ball and many more but we still have to see activities and projects that will benefit the Filipino Community in its entirety that every Filipino can be proud of.
Many Filipino Organisations exist in NSW but they are not part of the Peak Body . PCC is concentrated only in Sydney and the metropolitan suburbs and a few organisations from Wollongong , Central Coast and Bathurst. There should be a common ground that each of this other group can join and can work together for a common cause.
The planned Tumbalong Project in November if undertaken by PCC could be a common ground to unite a divided community.
There so much projects to do and accomplish this year and the resources within PCC structure and in the cross sections of the Filipino Community are always there to harness but PCC has to do the first move.

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  • UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO

     

    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.

    MESSAGES

    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.

     

    DISCUSSION PROPER

    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.

    ON PCC

    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.

     

    CLOSING REMARKS

    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).

  • UNIFICATION RECONCILES PCC & APCO

     

    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.

    MESSAGES

    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.

     

    DISCUSSION PROPER

    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.

    ON PCC

    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.

     

    CLOSING REMARKS

    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).

  • UNIFICATION PCHN Turns 23

    UNIFICATION
    PCHN TURNS 23

    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) 

    THE PHILIPPINE COMMUNITY HERALD NEWSPAPER
    NEW SOUTH WALES
    UNIFICATION PCHN TURNS 23
    by Mars Cavestany & EZ (All Rights Reserved)

    (continued)

    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-
    Cumming)

    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
    DON’T KNOW HOW TO LEAD. THEIR ONLY CONCERN
    IS THEIR INDIVIDUAL EGOISTIC STARDOM. (The Majority,
    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
    OF OUR FILIPINO- AUSTRALIANS COMMUNITY.
    BLACKTOWN HAS a HUGE POPULATION OF FILIPINOS.
    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
    GENERAL AND THE AMBASSADOR. (My opinion
    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.
    MAYBE, WE SHOULD CALL THIS PEAK BODY, “PHILIPPINE
    COMMUNITY and ALLIANCE OF NSW, INC”. As
    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
    VENUE? SEE HOW MANY WOULD TURN UP. I THINK
    IT’S ABOUT TIME WE DO SOMETHING. Kind Regards,
    (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
    together.

    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
    move.
    (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
    values.

    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
    matibay.

    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
    community.

    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
    earth”.

     

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