PCC has a problem. And those of you who do not agree with me are turning a blind eye to this reality or just do not care. PCC through the years had become the most disrespected organisation in the Filipino community. And those who do not believe that this is so, are either part of the cause of this current standing of PCC or just do not care.
Today, I stand before you because I care about PCC and I am not part of the cause of the current downgraded and denigrated PCC. I care about PCC because it is an organisation that symbolises the Filipino presence in the Australian society and has been in the last 30 years. And as a proud Filipino-Australian I believe that PCC is the organisation that carries the interests of the Filipino community of New South Wales.
The current state of PCC, I cannot say that I am proud of. But my conviction and my respect to the historical significance of PCC in the community is my motivation for running to lead this beleaguered organisation into great achievements reflecting the Filipino-Australian community, an organisation that practices professionalism and good governance, recognised and respected by other organisations by the Filipino community and by the mainstream Australian society.
My respected opponent’s platform is to continue advocacy as PCC President. I agree. As a peak body, PCC must be the leading advocacy organisation of the Filipino community. And this is not an easy task for an organisation that wants to become or claiming to be the peak body of the Filipino Community.
But in order to advocate, to represent, to promote and uphold the interests of the community, PCC must be a strong, cohesive and principled, an organisation that is exemplary in its governance, an organisation that leads rather than being led, an organisation that promotes unity rather than drives divisiveness; an organisation that fosters unity, cooperation and partnerships rather than factionalism, regionalism, nepotism and corruption; an organisation dominated by friendship and camaraderie rather than arrogance and jealousy. At its current condition, PCC cannot effectively function as an advocacy organisation.
The first thing that PCC needs is REFORMATION.
PCC needs a massive reconstruction, both organisationally and socio-culturally. Organisationally, PCC needs to clearly define itself, its roles, functions, aims and objectives and then its programs and plans. PCC currently have settled comfortably on two major functions: the Philippine Independence Ball and Calamity Fund Raising, two major events that are also major events of almost all Filipino organisations. These are the major accomplishments that PCC officers will report time and time again. The current PCC competes rather than assist its members. It tails rather than leads. PCC needs to practice good governance in running the organisation. PCC needs to discard the cultural ways that made our origin country, one of the most corrupt countries in the world; ways that are incompatible with good governance such as factionalism, regionalism, barkadahan; voting for officers because he or she is KABABAYAN or KAIBIGAN; doing organisational favours to those who voted for them. PCC needs to uphold the Filipino spirit of bayanihan, pagtutulungan and the values of equality, fairness and justice. And PCC needs leaders with experience, knowledge, vision, commitment and time to lead the organisation into correct path and to achieve its goals.
I am running for President. I will lead my team to the reformation of PCC. I began by asking the Filipino community, listening to their perception and observations of PCC, attending meetings and consultations with community groups, respected and leading members of the community and becoming an active member of PCC as president and founder of the Tagalog Association of Australian Inc, by attending its functions and meetings. I joined the PCC Constitution Committee to revise the constitution. Finally, I initiated a brainstorming of PCC who were attended by 13 current officers and members of PCC. Consolidating my immersion with people, groups and PCC and these are the concrete problems facing PCC:
1. Leadership. The leadership is riddled with factionalism, barkadahan and nepotism. Leaders make decisions arbitrarily, ignoring the rules and the constitution and decisions are based on favours and friendship. Leaders lack professionalism: lack of proper decorum; they personalise criticisms and treat those who criticise there organisational conduct as their enemies. Most leaders do not have the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience in governing a peak body. As a result the leadership is dysfunctional. Lack of training and education in community organising in the areas of governance and management.
2. Communication. Lack of and poor communication between leaders and between leaders and members. Communication is based on mistrust, dishonesty and lack of respect. There is no genuine intention of arriving at a result or outcome, but defensive when questioned. Meeting as facilitated with bias and undemocratic.
3. Membership. Affiliates are dissatisfied. PCC does not assist its affiliates. But members are expected to help PCC’s fund raising events. Events organised by PCC often compete with the activities of its affiliates and other groups. The participation of members are largely during election and buying and selling tickets for PCC.
4. Roles and Functions. PCC does not have clear roles and functions for each Board Member. The relationship between executive officers, Board of Directors and committees are disconnected. No clear responsibilities and therefore accountabilities. PCC does not update itself of Fair Trading rules. I identified several flaws in the constitution, some even contravene the fair trading rules. Action: I volunteered to be a member of the Constitution Committee of PCC realising that the current PCC Constitution needs revision. The flaws or silence of the Constitution has been used to gain votes from affiliates who do not comply with governmental registration rules. Moreover there are persistent rumour of ghost groups that do not meet eligibility criteria.
In the last two years of being a member of PCC these were the problems that I experienced first hand and/or was made aware of:
1. PCC meetings are characterised by antagonistic and disrespectful communication. Meetings are not properly facilitated and unprofessional behaviour are the norm rather than exception.
2. PCC has been investigated by Office of Liquor and Gaming and Racing (OLGR) for officers’ cashing cheques without following procedures. PCC is under scrutiny because of this infraction.
3. Delay in the sending of $15,000 donation by a mainstream group to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, due to lack of proper governance.
4. Resignation of genuine and well-populated affiliate organisations such as Ateneo de Manila and La Salle. I hear remarks of further threats of resignation by dissatisfied members looming over PCC.
5. Factionalism and barkadahan system leading to dissatisfied affiliates forming their own groups.
These are only some of the major problems that PCC faced in the last two years of my involvement as a member. And one does not have to be a long-term member to discover the lack of good governance within PCC. Just attend a meeting and either you will be sucked into argument or leave cursing yourself and swearing not to attend PCC meetings again.
THE TWO MAJOR PROBLEMS OF PCC IS LEADERSHIP AND DIRECTION. These are the problems that I will lead my team of officers to solve.
1. LEADERSHIP involves Experience, Expertise, Character and Commitment.
Experience. I was told that I do not have the experience that my opponents have of running PCC. This is in fact a compliment and my advantage. I did not lead PCC to be what it is now, an organisation that needs massive reformation. I am not and was not the President when the breaches I enumerated happened. I was not even a member of the committee of PCC when these problems occurred. If I was, I would have done something in my capacity as an active committee member.
I have the advantage of being detached and more holistic in my analysis of PCC. Objectiveness and vision are important for a leader to be able to lead. My experience as a leader are:
- I was a successful Senior Accountant for many years since 1975 working mostly in manufacturing industries not only in Australia but also overseas. I achieved the Financial Director position in a major property trust company in Australia and manufacturing company (timber and woodchip operations) with $78m budget under my responsibilities.
- Twice recognised as the most efficient accountant in the group of a multi- national companies in Papua New Guinea and Australia (one of the top 50 corporations of Australia).
- Elected Chairman of the Knights of the Southern Cross – Sydney City Branch and been elevated and elected to the post of State Treasurer of the Knights of the Southern Cross of NSW for a period of 4 years.
- Founder and President of the Tagalog Association of Australia Incorporated (TAA) which is a non-profit organization.
- Elected to the post of Deputy Vice Chapter Commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKOR) for 2014-16 with missions to promote the spirit of patriotism by raising awareness and perpetuation of the ideas and principles of Dr Jose Rizal. OKOR is a Philippine-chartered civic, patriotic and non-sectarian organization.
- Member of Launceston Jaycees during my residence in Tasmania in 1979-80 and I was involved in many charitable fund raising especially children with disabilities.
- My strong leadership comes from my military background having achieved my P/2nd Lt in Armed Forces of the Philippines due to my advanced course in ROTC.
- Recognised as a life time member of the American Legion Yanks Down Under Post No 1 from 1986-1997 due to my father serving in USAFFE during the war 1941-44.
Expertise. I have expertise in the following which are critical for a leader to possess in order to lead successfully a team:
- Knowledge and training of fair trading rules;
- Knowledge, application and training of good governance;
- Experience and knowledge of running a community organisation;
- Extensive knowledge in corporate management, feasibility studies, corporate reports and budgeting cash flow and reporting to the board up to tax assessment.
- Solid background in big manufacturing operations, the skills and knowledge of which I have for the proper administration of PCC.
Character: I am a well-respected community member of the Filipino-Australian community and I maintain this respect for the last 40 years. I am a reliable person with integrity and honesty which are the qualities that I learned and inherited from my parents and I instil to all my children. These are my strong characteristics that I will never compromised.
Commitment: I have the time and commitment to lead PCC to its reformation.
2. MY DIRECTION IS THE REFORMATION OF PCC. To reform PCC, these are my two main tasks:
Firstly, Define what PCC as a peak body should be. As a peak body PCC has five major tasks: 1. information and dissemination services, 2. membership support, 3. coordination, 4. advocacy and representation, 5. research and policy development. I will insure that these major tasks are fulfilled.
Secondly, Good Governance. I Good governance is about the process of making and implementing decisions. I will lead the Council to adhere to the principles of good governance. Good governance can only be properly implemented with:
(1) being accountable, an obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences and decisions made on behalf of PCC;
(2) transparent, members should be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made;
(3) follows the rule of law, decisions are consistent with relevant legislation such as fair trading law or common law;
(4) being responsive to serve the needs of the members;
(5) equitable and inclusive, all members particularly the vulnerable should have opportunities to participate in the organisation’s activities and decision making process;
(6) being effective and efficient which means implementing decisions and following the right processes to make the best available use of members, resources and time to ensure best possible results of the organisation; and lastly
(7) good governance is participatory, which means that those who are affected or are interested in a decision should have the opportunity to participate. Under my leadership affiliates will be provided with information, asked for their opinion and give opportunity to make recommendations and be part of the actual decision-making process.
Whatever your decision, please consider that you are voting for the existence of PCC whether you want it to become a mediocre Social Club or a respected Peak Body.
TAGALOG ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED
An Affiliate of Philippine Community Council of NSW , INC