The live interview initiative of Ang Kalatas publisher Millie Phillips is truly remarkable and worthy of commendation. She was able to accomplish what the Filipino media in general has been seeking for many years.
It is apparent however, that the PACF (Philippine Australian Community Foundation) officers chose Millie because she is relatively a new comer to the business in the Blacktown area. That being the case, Ms Phillips is not very familiar with the background of the Filipino Multi-Purpose Centre, now re-named as Philippine Australian Community Centre. Thus, she was not expected to ask questions that may infuriate PACF officers.
Though ‘live,’ the interview was supposedly exclusive to Millie’s newspaper and questions thrown in by the few listeners were somehow ‘softened’ by the amicable interview host in the person of retired Major Tom Baena.
The interview was announced close to midnight of Sept. 11 to the Filipino press group, barely 3 days before it actually happened on Sept. 14, a Wednesday at 10:30am when most people were working. Millie should not be blamed because it was only on Sept. 11 that PACF officers confirmed their availability.
It was done through webcam using Millie’s sophisticated equipment. Thus, accessibility to the interview was very limited to people who were computer literate and who knew how to access internet ‘live stream.’ The older generation of course, many of whom gave donations to MPC, missed the interview. Those who knew did not know the correct URL or Universal Resource Locator.
I listed a number of questions but only two were asked by the interviewer. My first question focused on a target completion date for the MPC. The answer given clearly proved that PACF has no solid plan for its completion. The answer was no different from what PACF Chairman Manny Villon gave during a media conference held in Schofields on Nov. 17, 2007. He said at that time: “It depends on you people.”
My second question was about the permanent tenure of PACF directors as stipulated in the Trust Deed signed by its Settlor, Fr. Renato Paras. The same answer was given by Mr. Villon, that no bank would approve a loan unless the officers held their positions on a permanent basis. PACF should make available to media a copy of the loan document that states so.
Resignation from the PACF board
Messrs. Cosme Purruganan and Ric de Vera have resigned from the PACF board during a closed-door meeting that happened after the Kalatas live interview. Many years ago, during the ex-officio term of Kate Andres, the gutsy lawyer challenged the entire MPC board to resign. No one did until now. De Vera and Purruganan should be congratulated for doing the right thing. – Dino Crescini