APCO BOARD RESHUFFLE (PARAS IS NEW PREXY) By Mars Cavestany and Evelyn Zaragoza

APCO BOARD RESHUFFLE (PARAS IS NEW PREXY) By Mars Cavestany and Evelyn Zaragoza Featured

 

 
After an overwhelming vote of no confidence APCO appointed President Violeta Escultura has been unanimously voted out by the official Board of Directors effectively reinstating Cora Paras, who was originally voted as President but declined the position and settled for the Senior Vice Presidency instead.
Ralph Improgo, another unconstitutionally appointed officer acting as PRO, has now been replaced by Richard Ford.
The case of both Escultura and Improgo were eventually deemed deft-of-hand appointments deliberately made by APCO past President Cen Amores and have been deemed unconstitutional and subjected to the right course of action by the new Board.
In righting the wrong, investigations appeared that both Escultura and Improgo are in truth technically not regular APCO members because they only paid their membership dues during the actual Election Day. Furthermore, they do not represent any affiliate group to which they are acting as President for them to be officially qualified for nomination to the APCO Board of Directors which elects and selects the top 15 of the highest contenders who eventually convene to vote amongst themselves the President and other specific positions as is mandated by the APCO Constitution and By-Laws.
Article 11.2.3 - Nominations to the Board positions are open to regular members who shall have continuously been a member of the Association for at least one (1) year prior to the election and who is in possession of good moral character as defined under the law of the land.
Art.17.2.1 - Only regular members of the Association are entitled to this process.
CHANGE OF BANK SIGNATORY
APCO's bank account has been frozen as when the duly elected treasurer went to the bank, her name was deleted as a signatory to the account and changed to 'Assistant Treasurer'.
Art 16.7 - The President and the Treasurer shall operate the Association's account with the Senior Vice President and the Public Officer being made alternate signatory.
 
“I AM STILL PRESIDENT”
Quite defiantly persistent, via an email immediately executed first thing in the morning of the following day, 27th August at 7:27 AM
declares to one and all:  
 “You may have received this communication from Jhun Salazar and to avoid confusion I would like to let you know that officially I am still the President of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations, Inc.
.
Please be guided accordingly.”
 
 
“RETURN TO NORMALCY”
 
 The above was Escultura’s leaving no stones unturned reaction in reference to Jhun Salazar, APCO Public Officer and Senior Adviser’s initial email as follows:
 
“This is to inform you that APCO Board at its meeting convened on 26 Aug 2018 at Club Marconi has elected a new President to lead the organisation to 2020.
 
This may come as a surprise to many of you, however, the change of leadership was essential to ensure APCO continues to serve the community and return the operation to normalcy.

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  • Dr. Cen Amores’ complaint dismissed APCO’s First President alleged assault against current VP Senior by Evelyn Zaragoza

     

    Cora Paras, VP Senior of APCO was summoned to the Police Station to report her side re: alleged assault complain filed by Dr. Cen Amores, First President of APCO. On the 18th of June 2018, Cora Paras gave her statement and some of the Board Members present during the “Officers and Board Members’ Meeting only” were also interviewed by the police.
    Cora Paras and some of the Board Members present during the meeting called PCHN as “There are untrue and incorrect rumours spreading in the community which I feel damaging my character and reputation, as well that of APCO.”
    Cora said, “On the 20th of April 2018, the officers and members of the Board of APCO, Inc. a non-profit local Filipino organization, held a meeting at the Library in Liverpool starting at 6:00pm.
    This meeting was approved and agreed upon by the Board as “Officers and Board of Directors’ Meeting Only”.
    A week prior to the Meeting, a Reminder/Notice was put on the APCO loop by the Public Officer that Advisers (the Past Presidents should not join the Meeting to give Autonomy to the newly-elected Board of Directors to conduct their meeting independently with no interference and influence from any of the Advisers. They will be consulted for Advice only when needed. Cen Amores was one of the advisers.
    Dr. Cen Amores who was insistent to go inside the meeting room. Cora said, “I politely told her, “No, Cen, sorry. Please read the Notice. We will call you when needed.” Unable to go inside the meeting room, she went to the police station with the alleged assault complain against Cora Paras.
    PCHN requested Dr. Cen Amores to give her comment but her response as of this writing,, “At this stage, I have no comment.”
    Dr. Cen Amores was recently awarded the Auburn Local Woman of the Year 2018. She was appointed one of the People of Australia Ambassadors (January to December 2012) during the term of former PM Julia Gillard.
    (Related Story on Page 2)

    LETTER TO THE PCHN PUBLISHER:
    To the Publisher
    Philippines Community Herald Newspaper
    Ms Evelyn Zaragosa
    Dear Evelyn,
    This is to cover the written Report/Statement to the Police I gave you after my Interview last June 18, 2018, in response to the Allegation of Assault filed against me by Cen Amores on the 20th of April 2018 . This was supposed to happen during our Officers and Directors Only Meeting on the 20/4/18 presided by Violeta Escultura, APCO President.
    Most of the Directors and members present in that Meeting ( Mick Miguel, Rita Agostino( Treasurer), Fe Hayward, Linda Trinidad, Linda Price, ( Secretary) Richard Ford (Auditor) , Violy Miguel, Dian Ford and Roberto Sacilloto willingly went with me to the Police Station to be interviewed as well.
    Untrue rumours already widely circulating around the Pilipino Community and local Organizations have reached me even before the Police confirmed and saw me about the Allegation. However, I did not react or comment about these rumours until after the Police Interview.
    To clear my name and correct these rumours ruining my reputation and character, I deemed it necessary and my right to publish the true story.
    I hope this will clear my name and APCO’s image.
    Thank you for your attention and fairness to my request.
    Truthfully yours,
    Cora Paras
    Vice President Snr.
    APCO
    “On the 20th of April 2018, the officers and members of the Board of APCO, Inc. a non-profit local Filipino organization, held a meeting at Liverpool Library starting at 6:00pm.
    This meeting was approved and agreed upon by the Board as “Officers and Board of Directors’ Meeting Only”.
    A week prior to the Meeting, a Reminder/Notice was put on the APCO loop by the Public Officer that Advisers (the Past Presidents – Cen Amores, Jhun Salazar, Ruben Amores, Pet Storey and Jimmy Lopez) should not join the Meeting to give Autonomy to the newly-elected Board of Directors to conduct their meeting independently with no interference and influence from any of the Advisers. They will be consulted for Advice only when needed.
    A few days before the Meeting, Cen Amores called an Advisers’ meeting. During their meeting, majority confirmed non-attendance, respecting the “Officers and Board of Directors’ Meeting Only” except for Cen Amores who insisted to attend, “just in case.
    A list of the Directors’ names was posted outside the door of the glass-enclosed mini-Conference Room together with the Reminder/Notice that Advisers will be consulted only when needed. Jimmy Lopez came, did not come in but only informed the Directors that photo shoots for APCO’s Souvenir Programme will start with the Affiliate members. Then he left.
    Cen Amores with her husband, Ruben Amores came with the President, Violeta Escultura with 2 Board Members, Glorina and Ralph. Cen Amores and husband stayed outside the Conference Room. The President upon entering, and without greeting the Directors, asked why Advisers are not allowed to join in the Meeting – saying, Quote – “I invited them. I want them here, I am the President. This is my meeting. I want my way,” unquote.
    I, as the Vice-President Senior, reminded her of the agreed nature of the Meeting. The President insisted that they come in, saying, “No, I want them here.”
    I then put a motion to adhere to the agreed nature of the Meeting - “Officers and Board Members Meeting Only”. This was seconded by Mick Miguel, Votation followed. Eight (8) Directors voted “Yes” and three Directors voted “No”.
    Majority won but the President again ignored it and said, “No, this is my meeting”.
    At this instant, Cen Amores was approaching the door, obviously to get in, after Ralph Improgo came in to fetch a bag for the President outside the room. I was sitting near the door and stood to close but Cen Amores was insisting to get in. However, I politely told her, “No, Cen, sorry. Please read the Notice. We will call you when needed.” She was outside the door and I was inside holding on to the door knob with my left hand and locking it with my right hand. The door opens inward, so when I locked it, I couldn’t possibly touch her or physically push her as she alleged. I went back to my seat and because the President would not listen to the voice of the majority and was conducting the meeting with no decorum and in an undemocratic way, I wiih the Board’s agreement declared to walk out of the Meeting Room and wait for her to call for another meeting after.
    The Librarian then came, as we were getting ready to go out and asked how many we were in the room. We said, 11. As the room only required 8-10 persons, she said, we exceederd the number and had to vacate the room. We all went out. On the way out, a few members (not on the Board) waiting, told us that Cen Amores with her husband went to the Police Station. We all asked, “Why?” Dian Ford with Roberto and Helen, said, “Because Cora Paras pushed her.” We were all surprised as we were not aware of that incident happening. Two Directors, Charles Chan and Cora Bojarski just came (late) and saw us leaving and asked, where we’re going. We said, we’re leaving. So, we went.
    After a week, I received a phone call at 8:17pm on the 28th of April 2018 from the police station. I was asked to answer questions about the alledged assault claim against me. I said, I am not aware of such an assault and didn’t assault anyone. I am not answering any question and if he was really a Policeman, I will go to the Police Station and look for him with someone with me. He agreed.
    After a month, on the 28th May 2018, I received a message from (Info Tech Svs), Thinking it was an harassment call, I ignored it.
    On the 9th of June 2018, after 7pm, while I was out, 2 Constables went to my address and handed a card to my husband for me to call them.
    I rang the police station and we agreed to meet on Monday, 18th of June 2018, 6:30pm to give my statement and to interview some of the Board members present during the “Officers and Board Members’ Meeting only” held on the 20th April 2018

  • PCC & APCO ELECT NEW OFFICERS By Mars Cavestany

     

    The Philippine Community Council, New South Wales (PCC NSW) and Alliance of Philippine Community Organizations Inc. (APCO), two of the leading and opposing Filipino-Australian organizations confederating many allied groups under each umbrella in NSW recently elected its officers for the next term of office.
    The separate elections came immediately after 7 years of cold war that climaxed in an open-ended joint statement signed by both groups affirming their commitment to effectively serve their respective constituents and the Filipino community at large whilst pledging to continue working with the Consulate in promoting and protecting the interests of all Filipinos in NSW.
    The PCC NSW elected officers 208-2019 are comprised of: Serna Ladia, president; Alric Bulseco, external vice president; Ethel Singzon, internal vice president; Rod Dingle, secretary; Judith del Prado, treasurer; Mercy Jones, internal auditor; Angelina Jenkins, public relations officer; Sheila Collantes, Espie Pogson, Lilian de los Reyes, Emily Rudd, Precy Santos, Darell Swadling, Rowena Turnbull, directors.
    APCO elected officers for 2018 to 2020 include: President (Violeta Escultura); VP Senior (Cora Paras), VP Junior (Charles Chan); Secretary (Linda Price); Asst. Secretary (Rita Agostino); Asst. Treasurer (Alma Middlebrook); Auditor (Richard Ford); PRO ( Ralph Imbrago) and Board of Directors (Cora Bojarski, Emma Braceros, Fe Hayward, Josie Maynard, Mick Miguel, Glorina Papaiannou, Albert Prias, and Linda Trinidad).

    AGAPI scores change to PCC NSW oath-taking

    We publish here in full a relevant and related press release from Evelyn Opilas.

    The Association of Golden Australian-Pilipinos Inc (AGAPI) has scored a change in the way elected officers of the Philippine Community Council of NSW are sworn into office, clearly demonstrating the important contribution seniors can make to the community.

    In a motion presented to the PCC NSW annual general meeting 25 March in Marayong, AGAPI moved that newly-elected officers of the peak body take their oath of office in front of the members, with the returning officer swearing them into their respective roles.

    Public figures, such as politicians and diplomats, previously inducted PCC NSW officers-elect to commence their roles.

    The Sydney Australian Filipino Seniors Inc. (SAFSI), represented by its president Angie Belleza, seconded the move.

    The motion, passed overwhelmingly without further debate, brings to the fore the clamour for procedural changes besetting PCC NSW in recent years.

    “I am glad AGAPI was given the opportunity to initiate this change,” said AGAPI president Dorothy del Villar, who is recuperating from surgery, and has appointed PRO Evelyn Opilas as her proxy to the PCC NSW annual general meeting.

    The AGAPI motion presented a three-point rationale, namely: that PCC NSW was formed to promote the interests of the Filipino community in NSW; that PCC NSW gets its mandate from affiliate organisations in NSW; and that PCC NSW, while composed of volunteers, is accountable to its affiliates, hence it is only proper that elected officers take their oath of office in front of the body they have sought to serve with the returning officer inducting them into office.

    Such move enables elected officers to perform their tasks immediately without having to wait until they are inducted by politicians or diplomats of choice.

    Rey Manoto, coincidentally a councillor at Campbelltown Council, inducted the elected officers, being the returning officer for the PCC NSW elections.

    UNSOLICITED KUDOS, HOWLS, & PROTESTS OVER MOSTLY REELECTIONISTS AND OVERSTAYING OFFICERS
    In much the same way as APCO which may have a new President, PCC retained many of its long-standing officers who keep running year in year out in different posts leaving practically no room or chance to other aspiring leaders thus causing a lot of muffled howls and election protests.

    The reality is that it will always be a numbers game so that new candidates who are hardly known and don’t really have the opportunities to campaign never get elected.

    The ‘fury over the jury’ (the elections per se) became more evident and vociferous in the case of PCC this year, who by the looks of it, chose to close ranks and re-elected its former President Serna Ladia, making her the second to Elsa Collado, another Ilocano who was also re-elected in a row of two terms, in much the same pattern as Kate Andres had served as President three times at different intervals. These three ladies -- Ilocanas all -- compose the long list of Ilocano-dominated PCC past Presidents which also includes Malynne Andres-Chun, Ric de Vera, Jimmy Lopez and Ruben Amores.
    PCHN gathered that many people questioned the winning of Mercy Jones, a long-standing PCC officer who has served the organization year in, year out in varying roles, this time as the new Auditor. Whilst everybody acknowledges Ms. Jones’ long-involvement and solid contributions to PCC, the “sayang na sayang naman” (loosely translated as ‘such a great loss’) general lamentation is really a hue and cry over the notion of letting good chances of discovering new people go by in reference to another new candidate who many opined should not have been wasted and given the opportunity to serve and offer new insights and experience given his professional background.
    Ms. Jones was quick enough to post her credentials online in a bid to tone down the strong reactions.
    Reacting vehemently to Ms. Jones, a Bicolana by the name of Demi Robinson who also ran for the post of VP Intl but lost, informed PCCHN that Ms. Jones sent her a “ Reference Letter from her Affiliate, the Illawarra Women’s Migrant Group as if justifying her win for the position of Auditor against a CPA/Lawyer.”
    “This is incomprehensible and I think the Filipino Community needs to know”, Ms. Robinson decried.
    Following is the rest of Ms. Robinson’s letter:
    ...In retrospect, I will start with what I saw as imperfections in the Election Processes. For all you know these ‘flaws’ in the systems may have contributed to my unsuccessful bid.
    Notwithstanding, the wider Filipino community should be informed in regard to the standing procedures/systems prior and during the election. Why, because PCC-NSW Inc is the peak body Filipino organisation and for me this peak body is accountable to the community. Besides, we all purport visibility in the Community.
    In a nutshell this was how the procedures went this year:
    • The President and/or Secretary received nominations for candidacy 7 days prior to AGM/Election.
    • A Working Bee within the Board convened to prepare the ballot paper 4 days before the Election.
    • A Returning Officer was appointed to conduct the election 5 days before the election.
    • A Reception Committee during the AGM/Election is appointed to authentic registered and financial Affiliates who will cast their votes.
    It is my view that the nomination forms were not properly scrutinised/examined according to the Constitution and that some candidates background were not checked as to their suitability to the position. Further, an email to the Board and Affiliates was sent by the Secretary prior to the AGM re names of candidates but without the names of Affiliates who nominated them. How do we know the legitimacy of the nominations from Affiliates when these documents were vetted only by the President and the Secretary who were both running as Office-Bearers for 2018?
    I am of the opinion that an independent person/s comprising a Committee on Elections (Comelec) must be appointed at least 4 weeks prior to the Elections, to ensure impartiality, transparency, accountability, accuracy, and most of all, data integrity. If the 7 days ruling is in the Constitution, then it has to be changed and develop new guidelines. Further, the preparation of ballot paper should be handled by the Committee on Elections and the appointment of the Reception Committee should be selected by the Comelec
    I do not wish to judge the Reception Committee this year; however my view is that the executive power vested on the President was exceeded by President Serna Ladia by appointing Elsa Collado in the Reception Committee as Chair. Ms Collado, President of the Affiliate Ilocano Association was casting her vote and I saw a conflict of interest in her role as Chair. The Committee was tasked to scrutinize paperwork and to distribute the ballot papers. Aside from being a financial member in 2018, a form must indicate the Affiliate activity/ties for the year. However, what is written on the form may not be the truth or perhaps no forms were submitted at all. How does the Reception make an informed decision in allowing an Affiliate to vote if these requirements are not met?
    Furthermore, and please correct me if I am wrong, Elsa Collado was given a Representative Form from another Affiliate (after the registration process has ceased) to cast a vote has, to authenticate her own paperwork co-signed by the other member of the Reception Committee.
    NOT THE LAST WORD
    In the same vein as taking PCC and Ms. Jone’s particularly to task, PCCH publisher Evelyn Zaragoza emailed Ms. Jone’s reinforcing other’s congratulatory messages re. Ms Jones background certifications displayed online at the same time prognosticating: “I hope with your 'Certificate' there will be a much better, more improved PCC, NSW.” Furthermore she underscored: “I also congratulate all the newly elected and re-elected officers.  I wish all the elected officers PERFORM THEIR DUTIES/RESPONSIBILITIES ACCORDING TO THE 'TITLE' THEY ASPIRED FOR and they will be more VISIONARY, ACTION & RESULT-ORIENTED. Looking forward to seeing PCC, NSW's activities more 'unique' from what their affiliates are already doing. REMEMBER: 'PCC NSW is the PEAK BODY.PCC; NSW's involvement should extend to the greater Australian community and be able to utilize its resources which will benefit PCC's affiliates and the wider Filipino-Australian community in NSW. Be more ACTIVE in involving PCC NSW to the Ethnic Communities Council (ECC, NSW); FECCA and other policy-making body. 
    REMEMBER: PCC NSW is the PEAK BODY.”

    YET ANOTHER FEEDBACK
    Meanwhile, in fulfilment of our promise in the last issue that we shall ’ print other important feedbacks to the never-ending talk about the famous PCC-APCO reconciliation, here is one more incisive comment from Ms. Evelyn Opilas: “My apologies for the delayed response – it took me a while to process what happened because up to now, I cannot imagine how the Embassy and the Consulate got involved in the seeming mess between PCC NSW and APCO only to come up with a ‘statement’ confirming the status quo.
    Reality check: It is not in the job description of diplomats to straighten out so-called wrinkles in a community that is not within their jurisdiction.
    Am I correct in assuming that both PCC NSW and APCO are groups formed within Australian rules?
    Then the two groups should have gone to an Australian arbitration/mediation body if they wanted their sad, sorry state to be straightened out, not run to the Consulate or the Embassy looking for ‘solutions’/ ‘reconciliation’/ etc. That’s not their job but then again, many so-called Filipino community leaders march to the Phil Consulate/ Embassy for recognition as if such gives them an imprimatur for effectiveness, ‘lakas’, and ‘karapatan’.
    I can only say ‘Nakakahiya. Nagsayang pa kayo ng oras.’
    Where is the integrity of purpose, stature of leadership, respect for process? How can you reconcile/ equate/ liken an apple with an orange that PCC NSW and APCO seem to have been? The only common ground would be that both have seeds, and assuming they grow, the plants would still produce apples and oranges. To her credit, the Ambassador’s letter seemed kind and non-committal.”

  • UNIFICATION FINDS CLOSURE

    It took a long time coming. 

    The clamorous and vigorous attempt to unify the Filipino community in NSW instigated by Evelyn Zaragoza, publisher of this newspaper finally came to a not-so-dramatic ending with the much-awaited RECONCILIATION meeting between the break-away groups of APCO with the mother organisation PCC-NSW over and done with, as dutifully engineered by the Philippine Consulate during the last remaining days of outgoing Consul General Marford Angeles in January 16, 2017.
    It should be recalled that since June 2017, a series of exploratory consultative and educative public forums were orchestrated by PCHN publisher Evelyn Zaragoza and duly documented by this writer-editor in banner headlines tracing the development of the UNIFICATION MOVEMENT in its monthly issues beginning June-July 2017 through to the present , generating a massive information campaign of underlying issues and concerns and publishing as well the consensus of opinions from various respected leaders and so-called movers and shapers of the Filipino-Australian society.
    HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
    Needless to say, it’s been in the works since perhaps the earliest recorded history of Filipino migration in Australia. As our population rose to become one of the top ten sources of overseas migrants, it is but natural that more and more intrinsic, internal, and germane conflicts floated along.
    It has been said that where there are Filipinos, there will always be disunity so much so that the issue of unification has grown whiskers. The longest surviving confederation of Filipino organizations is in itself fraught with political strife and coup attempts but nothing as major major as the famous walk-out of the Amoreses almost a decade ago and the consequent formation of the APCO has put PCC-NSW on tenterhooks enough to reinvestigate its reason for being.
    IS IT REALLY CLOSURE OR IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN
    When all is said and done, the final verdicts as to the issue of reconciliations are simply NO RECONCILIATION!
    But, on a more positive note, a joint statement struck between PCC-NSW and APCO which turned out to be more like a tripartite agreement between the previously opposing parties with the Philippine Consulate thrown in as peaceful negotiator achieved some kind of an amicable agreement best left for our readers to decipher closely and reflect on what the following statement shall mean to them now and in the long run. Here goes...

    STATEMENT
    On 16 January 2018, the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney hosted a meeting between the leaders of the Philippine Community Council of New South Wales Inc. (PCC-NSW) and the Alliance of Philippine Community Organizations Inc. (APCO).
    The leaders affirmed their groups’ commitment to effectively serve their respective constituents and the Filipino community at large. They likewise both pledged to continue working with the Consulate in promoting and protecting the interests of all Filipinos in NSW.
    PCC-NSW and APCO will continue to carry out their respective projects and mandates, and work with the Consulate towards harmonizing their respective programs to maximize efficiency, resources and output. The Consulate will assist both organizations in exploring joint activities and other possible areas of cooperation, with concurrence of their respective memberships.
    PCC-NSW was represented at the meeting by its President, Ms. Serna Ladia, and Board Members Mr. Alric Bulseco, Ms. Mercy Jones, Ms. Angie Jenkins, and Ms. Rowena Gonzaga Turnbull, and APCO by its President, Ms. Pet Storey, and Founding President and Adviser Dr. Cen Amores, Immediate Past President and Adviser Mr. Ruben Amores, Adviser Mr. Jimmy Lopez and Asst. Secretary Linda Price. Acting Head of Post Consul Marford Angeles represented the Consulate, joined by Consuls Melanie Diano and Emmanuel Guzman.
    The parties plan to meet again in the next months, as well as maintain open communication and effective coordination into the future.

    Feedbacks
    PCHN conducted a quick random survey amongst the very same people who actively participated in the series of Unification Movement Public Discussions and culled the following initial feedbacks.

    Jhun Salazar, who for the record was the first ever who stood up and advanced the notion of “reconciliation” between APCO and PCC, has this o say: (EVELYN NASAAN ANG COMMENT NI JHUN. PASULATIN MO SIYA NG SINASABI NIYA SA IYO PARA SA KANYA MAGSIMULA PLEASE).
    Who does not know Blacktown Councillor Jess Diaz, the first Filipino political face NSW has ever encountered. He said “Good dialogue, warm relationship, motherhood statements!  Unification?  No. Focus on goals and forget and bury unification for another day.
    Perhaps one of the most outspoken and creative younger generation of leaders we have who unfortunately is also a disillusioned fall-out from PCC_NSW is Mark Selorio who thinks: “This is not a merger, isn't it?  If both organisations continue to do their job and serve the greater community, it's fine. No need to merge, but perhaps if they can do a bigger collaborative project together (Independence Day Ball or President's visit) instead of tree planting projects, the Filipino community could appreciate it more. They have good leaders, they just need to think bigger picture.”
    Worse, we get an honest, in-the-face reaction of an adopted Filipino supporter Robert B. D. Bock, who dismisses the whole shebang thus: “I’m sorry but it looks like same old, same old (faces.) Where is the new blood?
    As always there are two sides to a coin such that there are likewise more welcoming, positive comments to lend some balance.
    Atty. Tom Baena is perhaps the first Filipino elected director of a huge RSL club who is quick to gush: “One small step taken by a few leading to a giant leap of community harmony and prosperity. 
    Still, some of our concerned citizens wants to admonish everyone of their obligations:
    “It is wonderful to know that both parties have agreed to work together for the good of the Filipino people. The people around us are fully aware of the great contributions that we have as part of the community. Filipinos are full of enthusiasm and charisma. Wherever we are, we excel. Our goal is to encourage and lift each other up. And be there for the good of all not for personal gain.  Having a humble heart will make it happen.  This is what both parties are doing. Well done! As we continue with our desires to move on and focus more on the positive, with the help of God, we all can do what needs to be done.  Let us be a blessing in the lives of others.  With many willing hands to do the work, we can accomplish much.Thank you everyone.
    That was a message from Luz Osbourne. Of equal resonance is former PCC-NSW President Jun Relunia’s thoughts:
    “The key message of the tripartite statement issued by the Philippine  Consulate, APCO and PCC - NSW ( to me an agreement that will bind the three parties) is that each can continue their own projects  and activities and work with the Philippine consulate to harmonise these activities. Also by this statement both APCO and PCC - NSW can explore and undertake joint projects with the concurrence of their respective memberships.

    For me there is one important ingredient that is missing on this agreement and that is an agreement to meet regularly ( say quarterly) to explore joint projects that will help the Filipino Australian community. The Statement only states that the parties will meet again in the next months. The statement / agreement for APCO and PCC - NSW to meet regularly with or without the presence of the Philippine Consulate  will enhance the prospect of both parties exploring joint projects and advocacy  beneficial to the entire Filipino Australian community in NSW.

    One such project is a functional Filipino Australian community centre. We have already the MPC in Blacktown and what APCO and PCC - NSW is to explore on ways of improving the community centre to become a truly functional centre thru the support of Federal and NSW state governments and Blacktown City Council and the support of Filipino Australian community.
    This is a project that is achievable with joint commitment of APCO and PCC - NSW in coordination with the present management of MPC.

    Despite his proximity Ishko Lopez delivers what is expected of him as a leader. His general comments:
    “Many thanks for sharing this email/letter from the Honourable Ambassador Cruz to our good friend Mars.  In regards to the contents of the article between PCC-NSW and APCO. I personally feel that genuine reconciliation between these 2 groups will ot succeed this year or perhaps another year or years (who knows).  As a former OFW community leader in Saudi Arabia for 22 years, I had this kind of experience before and it took years to resolve and not even the Philippine Embassy and Phil Overseas Labor Office/OWWA intervention worked.  As always, the problem of factionalization and tribo-tribo system is always at the center stage.   There was an absolutely ethnic divide syndrome in terms of running a a pinoy community organization aroudn the globe and there's a number game approach which plays an important role to gain leverage on every issue whether an Ambassador or Consul is present to mediate between warring factions.  Perhaps our crab mentality will never wane wherever we are and wherever we maybe.  It was a exhausting and draining experience to be a part of any group meeting involving pinoy association/organization and based on my experience, every elected leader does not want to give even an inch to every argument/deliberation whether it's a planned community event or cultural celebration and for me, it's just a waste of precious time of every attendee as it was a never ending story of proving who is the best among the rest on every issue the protagonist deliberate.  Right now, I believe that unless PCC-NSW and APCO back down from their recriminating ways of dealing with any concerned issue(s), genuine and lasting reconciliation between these 2 groups will never be attained.  At this point in time, we can feel and see total disenchantment from the pinoy community in general as they await the result of this reconciliation process.   I believe it will be a long and tedious work in process for all the involved parties to come up with an effective formula to bring and achieve peace and harmony in NSW that we clamor for so long and after many years of failed expectations.  For now, I am not losing hope and I continue to pray that one day, everybody will say - 'We are ready to unite and work for the common good of all of us pinoys in NSW.  Unless this happens, we have to live by the day and as we pinoys say - Pagpapasa- Diyos na lang natin ang kahihinatnan ng walang katapusang pagsubok at pakikibaka sa ating buhay kahit saan man tayo naroroon"

    NOT THE LAST WORD
    “I have read through the statements, and I have attended at least one your 'unification' meetings. In response to your request for comment, I have this to say: Personally, this issue of 'unification' or 'reconciliation' does not affect me. Further, I believe that the issue has no real impact on the larger number of Filipinos in Sydney or across Australia. The organisations involved with PCC-NSW, APCO - or the FILCAA for that matter - comprise only a very small section of the total number of members of Filipino-Australian community. They do not represent the rest of the Filipino community who are not members of these organisations. In effect, they do not represent every member or a great majority of the Filipino-Australian community.
    That said, I would like to see these organisations on friendly terms, working alongside each other on occasions. Whichever was founded first is of no great importance to me, especially considering that the truly first Filipino-Australian organisation in Sydney - and in Australia - was founded back in the mid-1960s - as was the first Filipino 'Federation' - both of which, as far as I know, have been defunct for decades.
    What I know is that conflicts among Filipino-Australian organisations reflect badly on all of us, and not just on the organisations. This is another reason why many members of the Filipino community do not join existing Filipino organisations. I am a member of the Ateneo Alumni Australia, but I have always resisted this organisation's joining the PCC-NSW precisely because I could see it being dragged into the conflicts of a larger organisation with agenda that do not represent the true spirit of my old school in the Philippines.

    A sticky point of conflict has been the idea of holding only one Independence Day Ball, organised by only one organisation in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate in Sydney. This seems unreasonable to me, even ridiculous. How could one fit in every member of the Filipino community - and friend - who wanted to celebrate Philippine Independence Day in single ballroom? The idea behind being able to accomplish this has been to price admission tickets beyond the affordability of the Filipino-Australian majority. The idea of democracy gives way to an elitist minority. My view is that the Philippine Consulate or the Embassy holds a Philippine Independence Day Ball on their own. After all, it's a 'Philippine' celebration ~ but open to any member of the Filipino-Australian community on a first come, first served arrangement. The Filipino-Australian community should then be able to hold their own Independence Day celebrations wherever and whenever.
    That's my own take.
    I wish your efforts in bringing 'peace' among the existing Filipino community organisations in Australia. And I wish these organisations would swallow their pride and co-exist without trying to outdo each other.
    As we go to the press, there are last minute messages which we could no longer include in this issue. Watch out or more feedbacks. (Mars Cavestany/All Rights Reserved))

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