UNIFICATION PCHN Turns 23 Featured


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


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