Moving On

August 28th, 2014 · No Comments

For a while there was a glimmer of hope.  Now I am simply more confused than when I first started.

PCC President, Jun Relunia rolled out the first of the series of Ugnayan sessions planned 2014.  After the tummy feeds, beso-besos and chika-chikas, it was time to buckle down for some serious work, or so they thought.  The 2014 PCC Board positioned themselves in front of the room and sat facing the audience, at a long table which ran practically the whole width of the room.  It made a statement and commanded attention.   I stared bemused and I thought, hmmm…… it sure looks like The Last Supper.

Relunia’s plans for the remainder of the year were made with no doubt the best of intentions but he will need skilled volunteers to see it to fruition. He reiterated his call for support, commitment.  Words like unity and Jun’s catch phrase “Together, we can” brought cheers from the komrads in the korner; and yet the mention of the 2013 Board by Solina Lapalma got a booing, with Bulseco yelling “out of order” and who in reality has been has been out of order for a few years now. Relunia later had the decency and humility to apologise to Lapalma for the Board’s uncalled behavior.

And then came the parade of Chairman of committees, who one after another recited a litany of  Google-packed  information or copied  from brochures.  There were overlaps and duplications.  But someone forgot to ask what the community really wants and needs.  This will be a case of wait and see as time goes by.

One good thing that came out from the meeting was the Treasurer’s report from Danny Peralta who expressed difficulty in reconciling 2013 records due to the lack or absence of it.  The financial report presented was clearer and made more sense than that which was presented at the AGM.  The 2012 Board (Sayas) had a profit of $12,368; the 2013 Board (Collado) had a loss of -$3,480. The 2014 Board (Relunia) currently has $10,446 in their account plus outstanding collectibles are still forthcoming.  The balance of the PADER Account had been restored  to contain only the original seed money of $4,000 plus.   All monies left over from previous PADER fundraising activities had been disbursed by Collado/Banan in a timely manner, and that’s just prior to the 2014 elections.

Ms. Serna Ladia, stood in defense of Banan saying that there were proper accounting procedures in place and the  loss was due to the rent paid for the Nirimba office in 2013. Yes, that’s an expense.  However, a 2013 press release posted on the PCC website states that the PCC gave up the Nirimba office and now has a rent free office at Parramatta Migrant Centre which resulted to  a “savings of $7,700”.  And that amount was also wrong.  The office rent was $430 per month – so for six months – since the 2013 election to the time they gave up the office (March to August 2013) – the total amount on rent would have been $2,580.  They cannot include the months prior to the election as that would still be part of Atoy Sayas’ 2012 term.

As expected, “Pader” remained an impasse .  One could feel the undercurrents of tension and  it was obvious that people uttered the word with caution.   I wondered if some had been subjected to intimidating tactics,  to silence some and avoid the mention of the word “Pader”.  But it failed to explain what the whole controversy was all about.  Some of the new members had the impression that the PADER committee did something wrong.  Nix, nix…this is the misinformation that has been floating around. So let me clarify.

The PADER committee worked on PADER from 2010 to March 2013 and members included: Mao de Vera, Atoy Sayas, Tess Sayas, Marivic Manalo, Solina Lapalma, Bert Rejante, Robert Book, Alexis Leones, Lillian de los Reyes and myself along with some other community volunteers like Rod Dingle, Noel Bernardo and Normie Steward.  The people mentioned were not – I repeat – not responsible for the PADER fiasco.

The controversy stems from Millie Banan’s  issuance of a cheque from the PADER account in 2013, which was against OLGR regulations, with no prior Board approval, and with one signatory, which was a blatant disregard of the constitution. Collado claims she had no knowledge but the bank alleges otherwise.   Bulseco came to the rescue of the damsels in distress but OLGR confirmed that such action was a no, no and a violation of OLGR rules.   Rather than an acceptance, a dialogue and an apology which would have placed the case to rest, Collado, Banan and Bulseco went on overdrive to deny, evade and isolate any member of the committee except for Emma de Vera who flipped sides and Lillian de los Reyes who retracted her signature with the help of an affidavit from Ric de Vera but which really had no bearing on the issue.   Apologies were made to the Board but not to the other committee members.  It was a matter that had to be swept under the carpet and forgotten with no consequences.  Complaints fell on deaf ears and ignored, after all the guilty were the decision makers and chose to forgive themselves.  Anybody who dares to question, was simply cut off. It was stonewalling at its best.

Unfortunately, the PCC has no justice department and no council elders to bring issues/complaints to especially when relating to the breaches of constitution.  While human errors are understandable,  people should still be accountable for their mistakes, and being a “volunteer” does not lessen the gravity of the sin  nor is it an excuse for wrongdoing.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, contradictions kept popping up.  Support us, together, let’s unite were repeated but the truth of the matter is you’re out if you do not keep quiet and you do not agree to have sudden amnesia and forget what happened in 2013.

So for PADER issue, it’s an impasse for no one will apologise and no one will say thank you to those who worked on Pader. And perhaps no one will ever check with the bank as to who authorized the one signature.  Borrowing the words of Pres. Pinoy, Relunia said the affiliates, the community is his boss.   Well, Mr. President, if I am the “boss of you”,  for the sake of PCC, the community and everyone’s sanity,  please sack the unreasonable bully and will be there to support you.   Let’s move on, but that  may be simply an illusion.  And I’m definitely taking a detour until further notice.


Tags: Grey Matter