by Benjie de Ubago

I received an invitation via email from the month-old Secretary of the Philippine Community Council (PCC) to the induction ceremony of the newly-elected board. The hand-raising event which could likewise turn out to be hair-raising was to be held on 1 April at the Council Chambers of the Blacktown City Council.

No, no, no, I was not the only privileged one! All the presidents of the other organisations have also been invited. I wonder if that means all the legitimate presidents of the legitimate clubs, or all the presidents, non-presidents and guests who voted for the winning team. I wonder if that will be 88 or 98. Then again, considering that there’s a lot of duplication of people sitting on different clubs, they may have a short invite list. However, one thing is for sure – there’ll be a few “titled” guests to give importance to an otherwise inconsequential event. I am sure the media would have been invited to ensure those Kodak moments even if they offered no apology for their non appearance at a press conference.

Two of the past PCC directors — Cesar Bartolome and Josie Musa were specifically invited by Doc Jimmy Lopez, who in his paltry style, assures them both of receiving a plaque of recognition for their services in 2006. Bartolome and Musa have declined the offer of a free ego massage.

Do Amores and company really think that a plaque, a few beso-besos, a few smiles for the camera and “kafi-kafi” will make all the community concerns go away? It’s more like somebody slaps and kicks you and then wants to kiss and make up. Musa, having spent for her trip to Hawaii was assured that she would sit on the Global Conference Committee. However, she was removed and replaced before she could even make the choice to resign. And now they want to give her a plaque?

There is no doubt that there are new board members who are eager beavers but who unfortunately are still wet behind the ears. They are probably not even aware of the whole scenario, so that the ones declining the invitations are made to look like the meanies. “Stop the small mindedness and childishness,” says one director!

Well, well, well. Small mindedness is the fact that President-elect Ruben Amores and the current PCC board have refused to look at the issues, which like it or not, they’ve inherited the sins of their predecessors. Despite warnings prior to the election, Lopez failed to resolve the issues. Besides, Amores, Lopez, Galang, Manoto, and Bock are carry-over from the last board….or should I say bored!

Small mindedness is not being able to see the damage it has already done to the credibility of PCC as the representative body for the Filipino community. Small mindedness is not being able to come up with solutions to the problems that plague them.

Childishness is going back on agreements. Childishness is not having the guts to face up to the media or having a dialogue with the people concerned re the issues.

Should we, the Filipino community sit back and just let it be? The PCC is in breach of the Office of Fair Trading’s Associations Act. The constitution was tampered with and there were two constitutions in effect during the February elections. The members were overcharged. The current PCC membership does not comply with the constitution and let us not forget the elections has left questions still unanswered.

At the elections, it was also noted that the balance of funds declared did not reflect the actual PCC coffers. The monies were raised and intended for Gawad Kalinga and should have been handed over immediately after the fund raising event in December of last year. To divert the proceeds of a fund raising project other than that for which it was intended for is against the regulations of the Department of Gaming and Racing. Oooohhhh… sudden thought… I hope they’re not using the funds for the plaques nor for the trivialities.

And now after all of the above, they want us to sit and witness the farce too? They can’t be serious!! A circus is definitely not going to fix it. The problems cannot be solved by the same mindset that created it in the first place. As for me, I don’t celebrate April Fool’s Day.