1) Jaime Estrada and Family (1st Row, 4-7) are flanked by Nilda Carpo, Larry Perez, Dr Cen Amores and Cora Perez. Ruben is on the back row. 2)  Jaime Estrada (holding the microphone) answers a question from the audience while other story tellers and production crew look on. 3) Jaime Estrada shares his story. On the screen is a still photo of Jaime and his wife in their prime years. 1) Jaime Estrada and Family (1st Row, 4-7) are flanked by Nilda Carpo, Larry Perez, Dr Cen Amores and Cora Perez. Ruben is on the back row. 2) Jaime Estrada (holding the microphone) answers a question from the audience while other story tellers and production crew look on. 3) Jaime Estrada shares his story. On the screen is a still photo of Jaime and his wife in their prime years.

APCO intensifies life giving campaign

In its commitment to encourage the Filipino community to take an active role in saving lives, the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations, Inc (APCO) intensified its campaign for organ and tissue donation,
Partnering with NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service through Jesusa Helaratne, APCO commenced its campaign during its regular monthly Board Meeting held at DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club on the 14th of August. As a take- off, a video was viewed showing a man in his prime years involved in a horrific bicycle accident, put in life support and declared brain-dead by his attending doctor. One could feel the heart wrenching experience that his family and girlfriend went through and finally deciding to donate his organs to give the ultimate gift of life to others.
A very engaging discussion, sharing of experiences and presentation of facts on organ donation followed. This resulted in an overwhelming positive response and keen interest from the APCO Board to take an active role in campaigning for organ donation first within their respective families, friends and work colleagues. The scheduled campaign was held at the Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd’s general membership meeting on the 23rd of August.
Meanwhile, in a related event, representatives from APCO, composed of Cora and Larry Perez, Ruben, Brillo and Dr Cen Amores attended the Life Giving Stories initiative of the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service and Performance 4A It was held at the Italian Forum, Performance Precinct in Leichhardt on the 15th of August.
Directed by master story teller and photographer William Yang and writer and producer Annette Shun Wah, Life Giving Stories is a very moving and inspiring platform that brought together five story tellers from CALD backgrounds recounting their heartbreaking personal life saving stories.
I ncidentally, one of the five story tellers is Filipino Jaime Estrada who was given a gift of life by a generous heart donor in Australia. It was a great opportunity for us to meet with Jaime, his lovely wife and two daughters and extend APCO’s invitation for him to share his story to the Filipino community during our succeeding organ and tissue donation campaigns. (Ruben Amores)

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

    The main objective is to open all communication lines and attract a consensus of opinions from all sectors and members of the Filipino-Australian community as well
    as concerned fellow Australians that shall serve as springboard for more concerted and definitive actions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    by Mars Cavestany & EZ (All Rights Reserved)


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

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

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

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

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

    (Lillian de los Reyes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (Via Hoffmann)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The issue now is how??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    If we are one, we can
    move “heaven and


  • A massive windfall for APCO and ASCON

    A total funding grant of $67, 311 was presented to 15 representatives of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc (APCO) and Auburn Small Community Organisation Network Inc (ASCON) led by APCO Founding President, Dr Cen Amores. John Munce, Board Chairman of DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club, happily presented the funds.
    This year, under Category 1 of ClubGrants, a funding pool of approximately $671,000 was awarded to 42 projects within Auburn LGA by DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club, Auburn Soccer Cub, Auburn Tennis Club and Granville Diggers Club.
    APCO received $24,250 for its ‘Managing for Excellence’ community development project, a practical training aimed to improve the leadership and management of not for profit community organisations from the Filipino and other CALD communities. ASCON’s ‘Connect to Work’ that will assist the employment opportunities of mature-aged migrants, youth and humanitarian entrants received $43,061. Incidentally, APCO and ASCON are headed by Ruben Amores as President and Chairman of the Board, respectively.
    Meanwhile, last year APCO also received $12,530 from DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic for Category 1 ClubGRANTS for its ‘Fill in the Gap’ project aimed to provide information on various services available and how to access them and training in job seeking skills for newly arrived migrants not eligible to be serviced by Job Services Australia, refugees and asylum seekers who have been granted permit to work in Australia. (Ruben Amores)

  • APCO to help employ refugees and asylum seekers

    The Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc (APCO) is partnering with the House of Welcome for the Empowerment for Work Project. Designed to facilitate refugees and people seeking asylum with work permits to get into work, this training project is being held at the Auburn Centre for Community, Auburn from 8th of July 2015 to 22 June 2016.
    The expected outcomes of this project is to engage 36 refugees and asylum seekers with work permits in the next 12 months, assist them in gaining a renewed sense of dignity and independence, encourage and assist them in getting into work until they no longer need financial assistance and eventually move them towards greater sustainability, increased engagement of the refugee and asylum seeker community in the workforce, with them contributing to Australian society through payment of taxes and better integration of these communities into Australian society.
    As detailed in the draft copy of the Partnership Agreement, APCO provides a facilitator with JSA training and work experience background, runs and completes 4 modules of 4 or 6 weeks depending on resources and availability, contributes the remaining funding from DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club towards the payment of the facilitator until it runs out and deliver all the employment modules on time.
    The House of Welcome on the other hand, refers refugees and asylum seeker clients to the program, liaises with agencies providing job placements so that suitable referrals can be made to place clients, organises for the use of all facilities required to run the program, provides three volunteer case managers to assist, mentor and assess clients’ skills and needs, pay and print the promotional materials and contribute towards the cost of the APCO facilitator subject to funding availability.
    The Empowerment for Work project is kindly supported by the Auburn City Council by providing the venue and the use of their facilities and resources.

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