1) The lovely APCO officers pose (L to R) Cora Perez, DOOLEYS Board Chair John Munce, Dr Cen Amores, Glorina Papaioannou, Pet Storey and Linda Trinidad  2) Representing ASCON were: (L – R) Richard Ford, Ralph Improgo, DOOLEYS Board Chairman, John Munce, Dr Cen Amores, Albert Prias, Dian Ford, Roberto Sacilotto, Larry Perez and Emma Braceros.  3) Posing with the APCO and ASCON representatives are: Adama Kamara, projects Officer of Auburn City Council (2nd row, 3rd from Left) and Julie Milsom, Community Relations Manager of DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club (3rd row, rear Left) 1) The lovely APCO officers pose (L to R) Cora Perez, DOOLEYS Board Chair John Munce, Dr Cen Amores, Glorina Papaioannou, Pet Storey and Linda Trinidad 2) Representing ASCON were: (L – R) Richard Ford, Ralph Improgo, DOOLEYS Board Chairman, John Munce, Dr Cen Amores, Albert Prias, Dian Ford, Roberto Sacilotto, Larry Perez and Emma Braceros. 3) Posing with the APCO and ASCON representatives are: Adama Kamara, projects Officer of Auburn City Council (2nd row, 3rd from Left) and Julie Milsom, Community Relations Manager of DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club (3rd row, rear Left)

A massive windfall for APCO and ASCON

A total funding grant of $67, 311 was presented to 15 representatives of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc (APCO) and Auburn Small Community Organisation Network Inc (ASCON) led by APCO Founding President, Dr Cen Amores. John Munce, Board Chairman of DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club, happily presented the funds.
This year, under Category 1 of ClubGrants, a funding pool of approximately $671,000 was awarded to 42 projects within Auburn LGA by DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club, Auburn Soccer Cub, Auburn Tennis Club and Granville Diggers Club.
APCO received $24,250 for its ‘Managing for Excellence’ community development project, a practical training aimed to improve the leadership and management of not for profit community organisations from the Filipino and other CALD communities. ASCON’s ‘Connect to Work’ that will assist the employment opportunities of mature-aged migrants, youth and humanitarian entrants received $43,061. Incidentally, APCO and ASCON are headed by Ruben Amores as President and Chairman of the Board, respectively.
Meanwhile, last year APCO also received $12,530 from DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic for Category 1 ClubGRANTS for its ‘Fill in the Gap’ project aimed to provide information on various services available and how to access them and training in job seeking skills for newly arrived migrants not eligible to be serviced by Job Services Australia, refugees and asylum seekers who have been granted permit to work in Australia. (Ruben Amores)

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  • EDITORIAL : DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS (But Constitutional & Structural Reforms may still save APCO)

     

    THERE”S MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

    Just a simple letter from the Department of Fair Trading in response to Jhun Salazar’s letter of complaint as regards his ill-boding, inauspicious, and sinister dislodgement as Public Officer , but when you break it down to the basic premise/proposition, argumentation, and conclusion -- there ‘s more than meets the eye.

    In effect, we are faced exactly with the very root as well as the bare realities underpinning the two-in-one APCO problem that has been pestering the Filo commune in NSW for two years now.

    Allow me to quote just the last sentence of Ms. Jodie Matheson, Team Manager, Case Management, which goes:
    “...Accordingly, whilst it is regrettable a small organisation such as this finds itself in a situation of conflict; I encourage all of the parties to make every endeavour to resolve the internal dispute as soon as possible.”
     
    Let’s analyse this statement well. As we say in the vernacular, “kung baga may gusot, himay-mayin natin, para mahanap ang lusot.”
    Going by the premise or proposition antecedently supposed or proved as a basis of argument or inference, it appears that...
    • APCO is regrettably a small organization
    • It now finds itself in a situation of conflict
    • All of the parties are encouraged to make every endeavour to resolve the internal dispute as soon as possible.
    We can assume, rather explicitly or implicitly, that it should not be logically difficult to support the plain and simple conclusion that all parties (MUST) endeavour to resolve the situation of conflict or internal dispute.
    When all is said and done, one thing is loud and clear. The problem of APCO is not within the province or jurisdiction of Department of Fair Trading, nor is it their responsibility to interfere in internal dispute. .

    BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

    Where does this bring us? Back to the drawing board.
    .
    I take liberties to shift to our lingua franca .Mas mainam kasi kungTatagalugin na lang natin para mas higit na maunawaan at maliwanagan ng higit na nakararami.

    Una, balikan natin ang tatlong bagay na hinimay ko sa simula’t sapul na napakasimple at diretsahang sinagot ni Ms. Matheson.

    Kung tutuusin maliit na organisasyon lang naman talaga ang APCO kahima’t maraming iba pang samahang napapailalim dito.
    Kaso ang problema ang lalaki ng mga “EGO” ng mga taong nasasangkot sa mga usapin.Lahat may ambisyon. Bawat isa may kani-kaniyang ipinagpupumilit o ipinaglalabang prinsipyo kuno. Ang tunay na nangyari sa APCO ay ang pagkabuwag ng pananalig at pananampalataya ng mga dati-rating sunud-sunurang miembro sa mga opisyales na naghari-harian.
    Ang resulta nahati ang grupo at nagkampi-kampihan.
    Hindi na bago ito sa ating mga Pilipino. Ugali na natin ito. Ang pagkakabuwag ng mga partido, pag-aaway-away ng mga kampo ng maka- Kaliwa o ng maka-Kanan (halimbawa sa Pilipinas ngayon, ang hidwaan ng mga Dutertards/DDS laban sa mga Dilawan) ay ordinaryong kalakaran na sa politika.
    Bahagi na ito ng ating kasaysayan, ng ating pinagmulan at kinamulatan kaya paulit-ulit na nangyayari sa iba’t ibang panahon.
    Sa kaso ng APCO, lumalim at lumala ang di-pagkakaunawaan nang pinangatawananan ng bawat grupo ang kanilang paninindigan. Umabot na sa puntong ang mga miyembro at opisyales mismo ng APCO ay di na magkasundu-sundo dahil nag-uumpugan ang mga EGO.

    Eto ngayon ang tanong? Posible ba na magsipagbaba sa kanilang trono ang mga nagsasalpukang opisyal dahil iisa lang naman ang pinagmulan ng iisang bunga?
    Matay ko mang isipin, pwedeng-pwede kung maghaharap muli ang dalawang grupo at magkakasundong mamili at maghalal ng mga bagong opisyal.
    Balik-tanawin natin ang pinagmulan ng UNIFICATION MOVEMENT na pinasimulan ng pahayagang ito sa pamumuno ng Tagapaglimbag.
    Patapus na halos ang dalawang taon ng bawat kampo. Nairaos din ang kanilang termino kahit nauwi sa malawakang bangayan. Tuloy naisantabi ang mga tunay na simulain at nakaligtaan ang mga proyektong pinaka – raison de etre (reason for being) ng organisasyon.
    Ang dapat pagkasunduan ng dalawang kampo ay ito. Kailangang magtakda ng isang araw para sa UNIFICATION at RECONCILIATION kung saan nagkakaisa ang lahat na magsimulang muli – isantabi ang mga di pagkakaunawaan at magkasundong magbuo ng BAGONG PINAGTIBAY na APCO sa pamamahala ng mga bago ring liderato.
    Para sa akin, kalokohan ang magtumbang preso pa kayo sa Korte Suprema, gaya ng isinasaad sa sulat ng Fair Trading. Wala naman kayong mapapala. Wala rin kayong mapapatunayan. Ending, bale minasahe nyo lang ang inyong mga ego na naman. At what cost?

    TABULA RASA (CLEAN SLATE)

    Sa madali’t sabi, iminumungkahi kong magsimula sa zero, parang tabula rasa o yung tinatawag na CLEAN SLATE dapat.
    Clean slate begins with the common decision and agreed action of wiping the slate clean. It’s like starting anew, a fresh approach. But the only way to do achieve this is to get rid of the old directors. Anybody who has been elected to the Board for more than two years should give a chance to those who have never served before.

    MY RECOMMENDATIONS
    What I believe that can be done is to form a Council of Elders – composed of those who began APCO, all the past Presidents and Vice Presidents and other outstanding past officers and Board of Directors. That way there can be no place `for DICTATORSHIP.
    The Council of Elders are supposed to be respected and honoured for their experiential knowledge of the organization not to mention their actual work and life experiences. Factor in their spirituality, teachings, wisdom, and high intelligence --Elders have a deep understanding of people and communities. They are recognized for their gifts, special abilities and distinguished work that make them role models, resource persons, and advisors providing guidance and support to everyone.

    Specifically, they shall work in partnership with the various Standing Committees by providing guidance, support, plus sharing of traditional knowledge of wisdom, beliefs and values in a caring and respectful way. Whenever consulted, the Council of Elders will be actively involved in decisions respecting the direction and governance of the organization.
     
    What is more and very promising indeed, is that Constitutional Amendment is in the offing, and should by all means be the order of the day. This is the best opportunity whereby sufficient safeguards can be put in place to ensure an appropriate level of governance and financial responsibility.

    To this end, and mindful of the lessons learned from the first-hand experience of a disintegrating organization, I am the first to suggest a structural change in the organization by demolishing the Board of Directors and creating instead a more streamlined yet very strong and encompassing STANDING COMMITTEES with a Chair and Vice –Chair.

    • ETHICS COMMITTEE need be instituted in place of the age-old and ineffectual GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE so that any and all matters relating to the conduct, rights, privileges, safety, dignity, integrity and reputation of APCO and its members shall significantly fall under this all-important Committee.

    Inevitably, this committee should encroach on and include Accountability of Officers and Proper Conduct of Investigations of any matter of public interest on its own initiative or brought to its attention by any member of APCO. Thus every APCO member is intrinsically tasked to report alleged wrongdoings of its officials and its attached agencies, including the management, control, and use of its owned equipment and facilities if any.
    B.) COMMITTEE ON PEACE/UNIFICATION/RECONCILIATION shall handle all matters relating to peace, internal conflict resolution, political negotiation, cessation of hostilities, including integration and development thru national unification and reconciliation with other Filipino-Australian organizations.
    C.SPECIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE
    All matters relating to SPECIAL PROJECTS
    In the following areas :
    -- The preservation, enrichment and evolution of Filipino-Australian ARTS and CULTURE.
    _ ADVOCACY projects in public health in general not to mention IMMIGRATION issues, concerns, policies and programs affecting individuals and their families, as well as matters relating to the YOUTH, WOMEN, and FAMILY RELATION
    --Establishment and maintenance of libraries, mini- museums, shrines, monuments, and other historical sites and edifices; training programs and cultural and artistic programs

    BREAKING DOWN DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS
    Finally my one last statement about what happened to APCO is akin to a death by a thousand cuts. This is a figure of speech that refers to a failure that occurs as a result of many small problems. Death by a thousand cuts could refer to the split within an organization such as APCO as a result of a tangle of individual egos concretised in the battle between two ladies each claiming to be rightful President.
    To paraphrase Hamlet, the failure to come to terms or to reach mutual agreement, that is the question! Both parties failed to begin to or make an effort to understand, accept, and deal with a difficult or problematic person, thing, or situation. As such, the problem blew up to uncontrollable proportions and resulted in spewing several small issues rather than one major one.
    Perhaps readers will understand the phrase better and my application of it in the case of APCO, when you consider the term was originally used to describe an ancient form of torture wherein the condemned person was subjected to a number of minor wounds until the accumulation of damage became fatal. This hyperbole, so to speak, refers to the idea that while a single small cut may not be all that fatal but the total cumulative effect may eventually cause a person to bleed to death.
    This is what I’m afraid may happen to APCO eventually.
    Hindi naman kasi ang mga taong napakatataas ng lipad, bilib na bilib sa sarili, at pagkalalaki ng mga ego (mas malaki pa sa organisasyon) ang sadyang nasasakal at unti-unting kinikitil ng walang pinatutunguhang pag-aaway ng dalawang kampo kundi ang APCO mismo.
    (Mars Cavestany/All Rights Reserved)

  • Fair Trading on APCO Dispute: Resolve Internal Conflict or Raise to Supreme Court (WHO WILL MAKE THE FIRST MOVE?)

     

    By Mars Cavestany

    The response of Fair Trading to the two warring camps in APCO is loud and clear: that it is none of their business to interfere in an intrinsically internal dispute that must be resolved following the constitutional provisions by the parties involved if not raised to the level of the Supreme Court.

    NOT WITHIN THE DOMAIN OF DFT

    Jodie Matheson, Team Manager, Case Management of the Department of Fair Trading wrote more explicitly of Fair Tradings’ non-involvement in matters not within their domain.
     
    “The Association is registered under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009, which is administered by NSW Fair Trading. The Act is designed to find a balance between freedom and flexibility for associations to establish themselves and to operate while ensuring there are sufficient safeguards in place to ensure an appropriate level of governance and financial responsibility. It follows that the legislation does not provide the Registry with the authority to intervene in matters relating to the internal administration of an association.
    For your information I have attached information on Fair Trading’s powers to enquire and investigate and areas for which Fair Trading does not have responsibilities.
     
    The committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the association is operating in accordance with the legislation generally and the association’s constitution specifically. Fair Trading has no jurisdiction to determine the facts at the base of an internal dispute or an alleged breach of an association’s constitution, the only body with this jurisdiction is the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
     
    It would appear the Association may be subject to an internal dispute regarding the validity regarding the identity of the validly appointed public officer and those responsible for the management of the Association. This is not a matter Fair Trading can determine, in such cases where such a dispute arises the association must resolve it by agreement, through the dispute resolution provisions in the Association’s constitution or ultimately by order of the Supreme Court.”

    DOCUMENTS NOT ACCEPTED ANYMORE

    As a result of the two different sets of protest letters with matching evidential documents being presented by two camps to Fair Trading, they ruled no to accept anymore documents lodged from both parties. Ms. Jamison further explains:
     
    “In such cases, until Fair Trading has evidence of either an agreement or an order by the Court determining the matter the Association may be noted as being ‘in dispute’ on the Register of Incorporated Associations. In these circumstances Fair Trading will inform all parties to the dispute that no documents will be accepted for lodgement on behalf of the association.
     
    Accordingly, whilst it is regrettable a small organisation such as this finds itself in a situation of conflict, I encourage all of the parties to make every endeavour to resolve the internal dispute as soon as possible.”
     
     WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

    The internal dispute within APCO grounds began when the appointed and not duly elected President Violetta Escultura was removed from her post following a vote of no confidence from the Board and general membership.
    Consequently Cora Paras won in the new elections to replace Escultura but the latter refuse d to step down and thus caused a rift and a split between two camps,
    Trouble further ensued when the Escultura camp was quick enough to lodge their own documents to the Department of Fair Trading. They submitted a list of new Elected Board of Officers and even replaced the Public Officer to one of their own.
    The documentation Escultura’s group received from Fair Trading effectively gave them further access to withdraw 12 thousand of APCO funds reportedly deposited in a new account for safeguarding.

    THE BATTLE CONTINUES AS BANK ACCOUNTS AND DOCUMENT MOVEMENTS ARE FROZEN

    Cora Paras’ camp which, from all legal indications and implications, appear to be the real legitimate APCO Board, did not take the Escultura group’s legerdemain sitting down.
    Complaint/protest letters were filed to both the Fair Trading and Commonwealth Bank where proper investigations are ongoing.

    Meanwhile, the final resolution to the seemingly never ending conflict has been offered by Fair Trading to let the Supreme Court rule over matters that cannot be resolved internally and amicably between the two-in-one APCO.

    Needless to say, there are costs involved for lawyers’ fees and all other expenses. The big asks remain: Who shall make the first move? When and where will all these end?

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