As seen on the March 2020 issue of Philippine Tribune
I was really planning to attend the AGM/Annual elections of the Philippine Community Council-NSW last February 16 but I had second thoughts. I said to myself ━ what for? Would it be anything different from the past years?
The last Annual General Meeting, as in all other previous years, were characterised by shouting matches among and between affiliates. As always, there would be conflicts and differences of opinions, resulting in personal attacks and hurling of insults against the combatants. Somehow, Filipinos are unable to concentrate on issues. Instead, they violently throw stones of hatred against each other.
Why is this so? Are we naturally belligerent? Is it in our blood to be warmongers? But of course, Philippine history is filled with narratives of bravery and heroism. The Philippines was occupied by the Spaniards for 400 years, also by the Americans for 48 years and by Japanese invaders during World War II for four years. During this period, many Filipinos lost their lives. None would be willing to be enslaved by any foreign coloniser.
But what is happening in the Philippines today?
There is another form of invasion, though subtle which is very visible to many of our countrymen but blindly unrecognised by incumbent president Rodrigo Duterte. He appears to be subservient to the wishes of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
As early as the start of his presidency in July 2016, he did not pursue the ruling of The Hague regarding ownership of the West Philippine Sea. The WPS, otherwise known as the South China Sea is very much within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines. And yet China, in its bid to gain more territory drew its so-called “nine dash line,” claiming ownership of the entire area. The “brave” President said the country might as well become a province of China. But that is another story.
Now back to the PCC Erections…Ooops, Elections.
But we might as well use the first word as it seems that is what actually happened. (In Tagalog, erection means palakihan ng ba**g.)
The incumbent sought re-election. He was challenged by a formidable opponent in the person of Ms Demi Robinson, a native of the Bicol Region. But in the last minute, another combatant━Roberto Lastica threw in his helmet in the ring. Surprisingly, Lastica is also a Bicolano. It seemed that Alric Bulseco used a sort of “divide and conquer” strategy. Word from reliable sources alleged that Lastica is actually an ally of Bulseco and that his entry into the arena would divide the vote and loyalty of the Bicolanos.
Indeed, it worked! Bulseco won a second term in his playground.
Earlier, Bulseco was challenged in a debate by Robinson. Not surprisingly, he declined the invitation. According to sources, Bulseco said that the affiliates had already made a decision and that a debate was unnecessary.
In a Facebook post, Ms. Benjie de Ubago said that Bulseco’s speech was an enumeration of his attendance record during PCC meetings but was devoid of any real accomplishment during his one-year term.
A glaring controversy during the PCC elections was the fact that Ms Julie Nuñez, OAM was prevented from casting her ballot by Returning Officer Rey Manoto. Dr Nuñez, PhD who represented Philippine Health Care Association and Philippine Nurses Association of Australia did not have a written authorisation signed by incumbent PNAA president Marvin Ang who was overseas. Manoto defended his negative decision stating that the rules were spelled out in the PCC Constitution. Manoto apparently is also an affiliate of PCC. Shouldn’t the Returning Officer come from a non-affiliate and disinterested member of the Community?
The political exercise resulted in the voluntary resignation of PNAA from PCC-NSW through a letter sent by Nelma Galas, acting PNAA president. Her action was endorsed by PHCAA founding director Alfred Silvino.
Not surprisingly, Demi Robinson resigned her post as director of Ateneo Alumni Association of Australia. In the first place, PNAA is an apolitical organisation that should never have been affiliated with PCC-NSW. ━ DMC