Jade Roberts, Mutya ng Pilipinas Australia newly crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities 2018.
50th Year Celebration of Mutya ng Pilipinas and Coronation Night held at Mall of Asia Arena
in Pasay City, Philippines last September 2018. (Rey Padernilla)
BEAUTY PAGEANTS GALORE
By Mars Cavestany
Life within the Filipino community won’t be complete without the traditional beauty pageants. In the past month of September alone four beauty pageants reeled off within our midst.
One is spectacularly humongous in scope and production staging being essentially global in nature and is a brainchild of Filipina-Australian who is a nurse by profession and a beauty specialist by trade apart from her unstoppable passion to professionalise the mechanisms of beauty pageants. She is none other than Ms. Cindy Dionisio.
The other must-see events are all integrated with the annual biggest fiesta celebration in NSW (proudly on its 30th year) as institutionalized by Philippine Australian Sports & Culture Inc. celebrating beauty, diversity, talent and intelligence of Filipino-Australian women.
Whereas in the past years the beauty pageant itself was the main event climaxing the Grand Philippine Fiesta Kultura in the evenings, this year, the grand coronation night of Miss Philippines-Australia and Charity Queen Australia 2018 reeled off earlier with the most-coveted title-holder of “Miss Philippines- Australia” representing the Filipino community throughout Australia to the most iconic and wonderfully storied Miss Universe Pageant in our home country Philippines.
Be it a marketing strategy or simply an inevitable expansion move, this year the organizers created a three-pronged competition reviving the long-sought-after crowd favourite “Little Miss Philippines Pageant” on the one hand, as well as adroitly including the hugely popular if controversially exciting search for “Miss Transgender Global Queen, “on the other.
Both events proved to be such a crowd-pleasing and teasing happening for the motley crowd who experienced a double treat on d’ day of the Fiesta celebration.
The Great Divide
TWO IN ONE
Two sets of Board of Directors in one APCO body
By Mars Cavestany
The protracted battle between APCO Inc’s two warring camps -- the Paras-Salazar group versus that of Escultura-Amores – continues to drag for seven months now since its controversy-ridden election of officers in 10 March 2018.
2 BOARDS BOTH CLAIM LEGITIMACY
The first to create a new Board is the Paras-Salazar group following a reshuffle of officers by effectively removing the unconstitutionally appointed President Violetta Escultura and PRO, Ralph Improgo via a Board Resolution-cum-vote of no confidence with matching complaints of abuse of power and authority.
On 26 August 2018 this majority group elected and replaced the two ousted officers with Cora Paras, President and Richard Ford, PRO respectively.
On the other hand, based on its series of coordinated social media pronouncements, the Escultura-Amores group issued one public announcement after another in open defiance of the new Board claiming themselves as the true and legitimate APCO group.
After issuing suspensions and revocations of membership to the Paras-Salazar group, the Escultura-Amores group created an Ad Hoc Committee and hastily submitted a new set of Board of Directors to the Department of Fair Trading, using the DFT’s acknowledgement to make alleged unofficial transactions at the bank practically depleting APCO funds and its coffers running dry.
As of press time, PCHN learned that, APCO’s bank account has been frozen once again following the second alleged contestable withdrawal made by the Escultura-Paras camp. (See related interview story on Page 17 and 41 )
MEMBERSHIPS REVOKED, VICE VERSA
What is more, each camp citing specific provisions of the APCO Constitution has practically revoked the memberships of those who have aligned themselves to the other group, vice versa. .
A public statement on 8th September by Escultura cited the Paras-Salazar group as comprising of a number of “dissenting and dissatisfied officers and members who had been sowing seeds of division and discord among the APCO membership””.
As of 2 Oct. another Escultura statement was circulated in social media declaring her removal as a total disregard of due process thereby “vexatious and frivolous and therefore null and void.”
Thus, the vigilantly unrelenting Escultura issued suspensions to some and absolute revocation of membership to others in emails individually sent to the Paras-Salazar office bearers dated as early as the 13th of September 2018.
The common standard demand in these emails letters “to dispute via the grievance committee in 14 days” fell on deaf ears.
As far as the Paras-Salazar groups is concerned, Escultura’s orders are baseless having been earlier officially stripped of her position and rights as President. Her separate emails to the original Board officials outside of her camp comprising a greater majority who have persisted on functioning in their rightfully elected posts had unanimously ignored and treated Escultura’s marching orders as a “big joke and a great mockery of herself and those who connives with her” They further stated that Escultura’s claim to having been “legitimately elected President at the AGM is fraudulent and gross misrepresentation of the truth.” The quotes are from the open letter of Jun Salazar to Charles Chan (acting as Head of the Grievance Committee in his capacity as Junior VP) as posted by Richard J. Ford, (APCO PRO’s) in his FB account on 17th September.
WHO’s WHO at EACH BOARD?
The new Escultura-Amores Board is now composed of the following with mention of the group(s)/affiliations they represent if not stand-alone as an individual members.
President - Violeta Escultura, Filipino Women Support Group Inc
Senior Vice President - Mariam McCauley, Club Filipino Illawara Inc
Jr Vice President - Charles Chan, Sedgwick Housing Co-operative Ltd
Secretary - Carmen Fraser
Treasurer - Jimmy Lopez, NARRA Co-op Ltd
Auditor - Marissa Collins, Global Ilocanos Australia Inc
PRO - Ralph Improgo
Director - Cora Bojarski, Fil-Oz Liverpool
Director - Emma Braceros, Filipinas Dance Group
Director - Pitz Dorninger, Illawara Filipino and Multicultural Women’s Group
Director - Rose Lay, Filipino Women Support Group
Director - Glorina Papaiannou
Director - Zeny Piosik
Director - Albert Prias, Flagcom
Director - George Torres, Plaza Filipino Inc
Public Officer - Ruben Amores, Kapitbahayan Co-operative Ltd
Adviser - Cen Amores, Kapitbahayan Co-operative Ltd and Past President APCO
Meanwhile, the recently completed Paras-Escultura Board with new officers elected to fill in the gaps during the special meeting held last 21st October at the Marconi Club. There was a motion to remove the 'breakaway' officers on Sept. 16, 2018 because, they were not attending the required meetings and was confirmed on the 21st Oct 2018, when the election of the new officers finally transpired:
President: Cora Paras
VP Senior: Fe Hayward
VP Junior: Jhun Salazar
Secretary: Linda Price
Treasurer: Rita Agostino
Int. Auditor: Mick Miguel
PRO: Richard Ford
Board of Directors:
1. Doug Myers
2. Pet Storey
3. Linda Trinidad
4. Edna Voros
5. Dian Ford
6. Frank Floro
7. Roberto Sacilotto
8. Larry Perez
The Paras-Salazar group is now awaiting the most crucial official response to their complaint letter to set the record straight at the Department of Fair Trading.
As we go to the press, we received copy of Cora Paras' reply to the text sent her and members of her groupwhich we reprint here in full:
On 22nd October 2018 at 11.16pm, an anonymous person sent an unsigned message to me, Jhun Salazar, Richard Ford and others. Below is the complete message. Lucky I copied it straightaway, now it’s been deleted.
“Hi, Jhun Salazar and C. Paras group, what history is being repeated you’re claiming? You can repeat the history by having a different name, create your own logo and start from zero finance. Cora P. didn’t you disagree on the unification and published in E. Zaragosa’s newspaper? What made you change your mind? Is it to become popular like the Amoreses. They work hard and have the brain to think of projects sponsored by the government and not using the publics, contestants and member’s money to go to the P.I. Start from scratch to show and prove to the community how brilliant you are too. Or are you only jealous of the achievements of the original APCO?
The reply of Millie of Kalatas shows her being Christian and moral values – by not dragging others down and keep internal issues within the association. Have you been yet to CJC? Or you’re scared to find out the truth?
I am open and would like my answer to be seen by everyone. Obviously this sender hides behind the screen, to harass and invade people’s privacy in representing the breakaway group – Escultura / Amoreses, hiding behind our backs, lacking Courage to face the Truth and showing their Cowardice and Weakness to cope with the Truth. Finally, by losing the plot and self-control, resulting in tantrums like a spoiled brat.
1. What history? The split and spill history from PCC NSW was because Cen Amores couldn’t accept being defeated (like now) and not welcomed.
2. We will not have a different name, nor create a new logo and the group will need to pay the $12,000.00 back.
3. I did not disagree on the idea of unity. Unification has raised meanings of uniting if you are using your “brilliant” mind. There were options given. I did not agree on the Dissolution of the two (2) Peak Bodies to form One Body. I agreed on the two (2) Bodies staying as is – with own identity but collaborating and working together as a team in carrying out the goals and objectives for the common good. Collaboration, Harmony, Friendship and Teamwork can achieve unity and one voice for the Filipino-Australian Community. I haven’t changed my mind and we have started the harmonizing and team working promise with the PCC NSW and other Organisations.
4. You never see me in front of any newspapers seeking popularity with the Politicians like the Amoreses, Publicity-seeking gestures. I do community work quietly with no flash bulbs and pomposity. Until Cen Amores ran to the Police to file false physical assault charges against me, which have been dismissed as a closed case, a while ago, for lack of evidence, I was just a selfless community leader, happy to work with no fanfare. Cen Amores made me popular! Thanks to her tantrums. Because of this too, the road was opened for the Truth to come out.
5 A. Brains? Where did they get their Brains? Many are startled, surprised and are asking – how did she get her “Dr” before her name? When?
The Teachers Group in APCO including Pet Storey and me, are all recognized and qualified teachers of the Department of Education and Training in Australia. I have been teaching here for nearly 40 years plus the 15years I taught in the Philippines before coming here.
5 B. Hard Work? Oh, yes, working hard to get grants/funding from the Government putting the cheques through APCO Bank account and withdrawing them for their own perusal, sometimes the next day. Ruben and Cen Amores did not have to think of Projects. You’re right when you said, “they are Projects sponsored by the government.” The projects are there they first have to apply for them. Easy! With their manipulative means, they get them; use them for their own benefits, not APCO’s. Cen Amores haven’t initiated any project of APCO. With ASCON, Auburn now Cumberland Council maybe, but not with APCO. The Haiyan Typhoon Fundraising through Bucket Collection – train stations were done by APCO members and friends, not only by herself and Ruben. There are other unanswered questions regarding money that are not answered clearly by the Amoreses. We are still waiting for receipts.
6. Who are you referring to as using “the publics, contestants and member’s money to get donation for the P.I.?” Do you mean the VAA? Look through the FB pages and see the pictures of 500+ School Children enjoying the Feeding Programs, receiving the distribution of School Supplies, smiling faces of students helped through Scholarships and the grateful families helped through the Livelihood Program. During the AGM on 10th March 2018, I suggested to pass the hat around to give something for the good cause of the Feeding Program in May for the VAA, an affiliate member of APCO. Cen Amores first tossed the nose up and disregarded the suggestion and instead used the hard-earned money of the Pet Storey administration to subsidise new members and their partners and friends to pay for their tickets to the Premier’s Harmony Dinner. Then when she saw the photos of VAA’s very successful Humanitarian Programme, she hastened to congratulate them. Hypocrisy at its best!
7. You’re asking – am I jealous of the achievements of the original APCO?
Of course not! I don’t get jealous of any organisation. I think you meant the Amoreses. APCO under the leadership of the Amoreses did not achieve anything beneficial to its members or the Filipino-Australian Community. Achievements were for themselves, self-promotion, and popularity, self-glory, self-fame and false power. No one is jealous, surely not me! Writing their own awards, nominating themselves and asking people/members to endorse and sign their nominations are what they are good for.
8. You say, keep “internal” issues within the organisation!
With Cen Amores running to the Police, laying false assault charges against me without any evidence just because she didn’t get what she wanted. Do you call that keeping internal issues within the organisation and not “dragging others down?”
9. Have I been to the CJC or is scared to find out the truth? No, I haven’t been to the Community Justice Centre, but will gladly welcome dialogues with you. I have nothing to be scared about because the Truth is with us.
I hope you have been enlightened now. Open your eyes and see the Truth.
“Open your eyes and see the Truth. The Truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Yours in Truth,
President APCO Inc.
Condolences and sympathies are extended to Clarita (Laling) Bucao his family on the passing of FASHVI Life Member Rey Bucao Snr on Tuesday evening 7th August 2018 at 86 years of age at Mayfield Aged Care.
Rey was the father & father-in-law of Rizalito & Ranu, Leilani & Paul & Reynaldo Jr. Rey was much loved Lolo of Nelson, Marqus, Bailey, Yashmin and Jaiden.
Rey Bucao had been cared for at home by his wife Laling and family over the past few years as his health deteriorated. Rey’s respiratory problems and heart issues confined him to his home, with medication to help his quality of life.
Rey was admitted to the Calvary Mater Hospital at Waratah on several occasions over the past few years. Then on Friday 1st June 2018 he was again admitted to the Calvary Mater Hospital.
Rey was given oxygen, intravenous drip medication to stabilize his condition. In early July, Rey was transferred to Belmont Hospital for placement in an Aged Care Facility.
Rey was transferred in July to Mayfield Aged Care, where despite daily visits by his wife Laling and family he passed away on Tuesday 7th August 2018.
Rey’s funeral was held on Wednesday 15th August 2018 at Pettigrew's Funeral at Wallsend, after which a private cremation followed.
A profile of Rey’s Life
Reynaldo Beguilme Bucao was born on 29th June 1932 at San Pablo, Laguna, Philippines where he grew up and completed his education.
After school Rey was a Marine Engineer on a ship, when it went to Cebu he met Laling (Clarita), who was working as a Ship Chandler in Cebu.
After a 2 year courtship they were married on 7th April 1960 in Cebu, where she lived while Rey was at sea.
Rey and Laling had 3 children, Rizalito who is 51 years of age, then Lelani who is 48 years of age and Reynaldo Jnr. who is 46 years of age.
He worked in Papua New Guinea from 1970 for Burns Philip Ltd as a Refrigeration & Air conditioning Supervisor.
After 10 years Rey travelled to Townsville, 5th September 1980 for 5 months and after passed examinations to migrate to Australia.
In March 1981 Rey and family moved to the BHP Steelworks, Newcastle to take up his new employment in refrigeration, where he often recruited and trained workers who were sent to Melbourne to work.
Hence the legacy of Rey Bucao began in Newcastle, lasting for over 37 years. Even up till 2 months prior to his passing he continued to write ‘Newsbits’ for the Mabuhay Newsletter a monthly publication of FASHVI.
Rey Bucao Founder of FASHVI
On relocating to Newcastle with his family in March 1981, Rey was eager to meet Filipino-Australians. Rey enquired at the newly formed Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) at Hamilton if there was a Filipino-Australian association. Mrs. Veronica Henry told Rey “There was None”.
A few weeks later he met Zeny Edmonds and Ursie Thuel, who told Rey there were many Pilipinas married to Aussies but there was no formal association. Rey with Zeny & Ursie contacted more Pinay-Aussies, and drew up a organisation structure, constitution, a name and a logo.
On Sunday 14th June, 1981 at Lutheran Church Hall, Broadmeadow, Rey presented a proposal to a gathered group who enthusiastically signified approval and support. Hence the Filipino-Australian Society of the Hunter Valley was born. At the meeting the late Ray Williams was elected as the 1st President.
Initially FASHV operated as an unincorporated charity, so besides a lot of social and cultural activities in the following months, embarking on fund raising schemes.
At this time Rey with Velia McNamara & Zoraida King organized the Mabuhay Dance Troupe, and later on the Sampaguita Choir.
Rey was the Filipino Society delegate to Ethnic Communities Council of Newcastle & Hunter Region Inc; (ECCNHR). FASHVI was amongst the first to be involved. Rey was awarded Life Membership of the ECC in about Year 2008, in recognition of his services to multiculturalism.
Rey helped organize sporting activities, eg:- Basketball, Volleyball, Tenpin Bowling, Golf and even “Simpa” a Filipino sport.
Rey was initiated publishing the Mabuhay Newsletter. Rey continued to write his “Newsbits” column which he submitted each month right up till May 2018.
On the spiritual aspect, Rey with Fr. R. Paras, initiated the monthly religious revival which eventually led to the celebration of an Annual ‘Fiesta’ in honor of the First Filipino Saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila. The first fiesta was held at the Scallabrini Centre, Hamilton it provided the venue for spiritual and Social functions.
In 1987 FASHVI was legally incorporated legal association in NSW, as membership grew, hence the FASHVI.
In June 1984, Rey initiated the establishment of a Filipino Language School now known as the SCHOOL OF PHILIPPINE STUDIES (SOPS). Funding from the NSW Community Language Program under the Department of Education & Training and the Migrant Resource Centre of Newcastle; which Rey led with help from other Filipino’s to teach and development of children of Filipino-Australians of the Filipino language and culture. Rey continued this task well into the 21st century.
Rey was also President of FASHVI on several occasions and his passing will leave a large gap in knowledge not only of FASHVI, but also his writings in not only the Mabuhay Newsletter, also the Philippine Community Herald and also occasionally the Bayanihan News, and also SBS Radio.
Rey’s legacy will live on, but the Bucao family will miss a man who they loved. During this time of grieving and sorrow, they can rest assured there are hundreds of Filipino-Australians, who will also miss Rey’s wisdom, his willingness to help others. On behalf of all FASHVI members please accept our condolences on the passing of your husband and father, whom we all loved and admired.
After an overwhelming vote of no confidence APCO appointed President Violeta Escultura has been unanimously voted out by the official Board of Directors effectively reinstating Cora Paras, who was originally voted as President but declined the position and settled for the Senior Vice Presidency instead.
Ralph Improgo, another unconstitutionally appointed officer acting as PRO, has now been replaced by Richard Ford.
The case of both Escultura and Improgo were eventually deemed deft-of-hand appointments deliberately made by APCO past President Cen Amores and have been deemed unconstitutional and subjected to the right course of action by the new Board.
In righting the wrong, investigations appeared that both Escultura and Improgo are in truth technically not regular APCO members because they only paid their membership dues during the actual Election Day. Furthermore, they do not represent any affiliate group to which they are acting as President for them to be officially qualified for nomination to the APCO Board of Directors which elects and selects the top 15 of the highest contenders who eventually convene to vote amongst themselves the President and other specific positions as is mandated by the APCO Constitution and By-Laws.
Article 11.2.3 - Nominations to the Board positions are open to regular members who shall have continuously been a member of the Association for at least one (1) year prior to the election and who is in possession of good moral character as defined under the law of the land.
Art.17.2.1 - Only regular members of the Association are entitled to this process.
CHANGE OF BANK SIGNATORY
APCO's bank account has been frozen as when the duly elected treasurer went to the bank, her name was deleted as a signatory to the account and changed to 'Assistant Treasurer'.
Art 16.7 - The President and the Treasurer shall operate the Association's account with the Senior Vice President and the Public Officer being made alternate signatory.
“I AM STILL PRESIDENT”
Quite defiantly persistent, via an email immediately executed first thing in the morning of the following day, 27th August at 7:27 AM declares to one and all:
“You may have received this communication from Jhun Salazar and to avoid confusion I would like to let you know that officially I am still the President of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations, Inc.
Please be guided accordingly.”
“RETURN TO NORMALCY”
The above was Escultura’s leaving no stones unturned reaction in reference to Jhun Salazar, APCO Public Officer and Senior Adviser’s initial email as follows:
“This is to inform you that APCO Board at its meeting convened on 26 Aug 2018 at Club Marconi has elected a new President to lead the organisation to 2020.
This may come as a surprise to many of you, however, the change of leadership was essential to ensure APCO continues to serve the community and return the operation to normalcy.