Meet the Candidates for PCC-NSW 2022 Elections

February 11th, 2022 · No Comments

By Benjie de Ubago

Finally – at long last – the much awaited the elections of the Philippine Community Council of NSW (PCC-NSW) are upon us!  The date has been set for 20 February, 2022 at 3:00 pm although at Marayong Community Hall.  And this year – the battle for top post is between FERDI FRANCISCO and CESAR BARTOLOME.

Covid-19 has thrown the best laid plans and schedules into chaos but if only the powers that be had listened, it would have been done and dusted. Elections could have been held sometime between March and June 2021 – or between October and December 2021 when the lockdown was lifted and restrictions eased. This year, the numbers of attendees will be scaled down.

Despite the covid imposed hibernation, let us not forget that the affiliates slapped a vote of no confidence on the incumbent president, Alric Bulseco in August 2020. Bulseco of course held tighter to his reins and pulled every delaying tactic out of his bag of magic tricks.  Bulseco stated in his 2021 Independence Day speech “the affiliates are the lifeblood of the organization” . However, we know, based on experience – that the affiliates are the last ones listened to unless you’re in their circle of pals.

Although the PCC elections have been postponed twice due to covid restrictions, the candidates have been gearing up and the exasperated affiliates are clinging to their last strand of hope for real change.  Aspiring for this year’s much coveted seat – (drum roll please) – the TRUE Team headed by Ferdi Francisco vs. the B2B6 Team of Cesar Bartolome.

Mr. Bartolome has refused to give a phone interview and has simply ignored my text message. So, to be fair – I thought not to interview the opposing candidate too. However, since I had been associated and actually worked with both candidates on various projects over the last 10 years, I am able to write this article based on my actual first hand experience with the candidates.



Ferdi Francisco is a Civil Engineering graduate from Mapua University and then worked at the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant in Bataan, Philippines; worked in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as an Engineering Manager; then moved to Australia in the late 80s and established his own Francisco construction company. He now manages the family business C.F. Francisco Pty. Ltd.  Ferdi Francisco is a fully licensed Engineer here in Australia.

Cesar Bartolome is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of Feati University; worked as the VP for Manufacturing for BF Corporation in the Philippines; was VP for steel fabrication for ECCO; then moved to Australia in the 90s. Here in Oz, he shifted careers and is a scheduler/program and planning development for Department of Transport, NSW.


Francisco has been of service to the community since 1987. Whatever role he takes on in an association, whether he’s the founder/co-founder, a lifetime member or simply there for support, he is undoubtedly a valuable team player and performs to his utmost best for the benefit of the organization and the Filipino community. Some of  community organisatons who have benefited from his leadership include: MPC, Ilocano Association, Engineers Association, Mapua Alumni Associaton, Philippine Health Care,Philippine Nurses Associaiton , Filipino Australian Movement for Empowermet (FAME), Kalayaan and Handog Pinoy. He is the incumbent president of Timek Iti La Union. It is Francisco who established the suburban chapters for FAME.  And when he’s not front and centre, he takes an active role behind the scenes, i.e. initiating scholarship fundraisers for UP Alumni Association of Australia and providing support for PAMA’s medical missions to the Philippines. He’s generous at all times especially at times of calamities.As a licensed engineer in Australia, he constructed the first Multi Purpose Centre in Rooty Hill, FREE of charge. Although Francisco has never held a position in PCC, he has been a supporter of PCC since day one with more tangible achievements and donations to boost.

Bartolome first surfaced when he joined the Engineers Association, where Francisco was also a co-founder. He then joined the Lions Club International of Riverstone. He was the founding president of the Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment (FAME), an organization which has now slipped in a comatose state after 11 years of existence.  His focus and efforts have shifted to the Order of the Knights of Rizal where he now holds the rank of ANZO Regional Commander.  He is also the current president of the Tagalog Association.  He has been in and out of PCC in various capacities but has always targeted the top post. He ran for a Councillor position in Blacktown at the recent local elections but lost badly.

Both Cesar and Ferdi were together at one point in FAME. Although Cesar was the founding chairperson of FAME, it was Ferdi who managed to establish four (4) grass roots chapters in Blacktown in accordance with  Fame’s vision and mission.  Cesar seemed more focused on projects like Clean Up Australia and parading at the Blacktown Festival.


Aha!  Here is where they vary – big time!  Both appear hospitable and friendly but that’s as far as their similarities go. Francisco is genuine, altruistic with untainted integrity.  He is decisive, kind hearted and level-headed in all his community dealings. Ferdi has built on his friendships and relations. Bartolome on the other hand is quick to anger and rages complete with conniption fits for added effect. Cesar perceives something as a slight when it is unintentional. Others have witnessed these unfavorable, hostile incidents and so have I. Cesar has also abandoned all those who assisted him in FAME.  So anything he says on unity and friendship and the teachings of Rizal may simply be dumped  in a pool of doubt – empty words!

At a time, when PCC is in complete disarray and disunited even from the inside, we need someone who is cool and level headed to bring neutrality back, to help restore civility, reform and crush the invisible walls within PCC. 

Francisco has been courted to run for PCC President for the last few years and he has finally agreed. He felt that the time is right.  He believes in PCC as an organization. He feels that he can put it back in order and help restore peace and harmony. 

Bartolome I am sure would say, “he wants to serve the community” – How? – is probably the question that we’ll need to wait to be answered.  But he’s been wanting to be president since 2005. As I see it, it’s more a desire to be at the top than really wanting to serve. As he said more than once:  “Bale wala ka, kung hindi ka presidente.”(You’re nothing, unless you’re a president.)  That statement alone should be revealing of his real intentions. Also ironically, Bartolome never wanted FAME to be an affiliate of PCC but obviously he has now made an about face.


Ferdi Francisco calls his team – the TRUE team – which stands for Transparency – Respect – Unity – Empowerment.  These are core values that need to be restored in the community. Being open and transparent demonstrates respect and would likewise garner respect. Mutual respect will lead to a shared vision and unity which will lead to empowerment and subsequently lift the profile of the Filipino community. More importantly, Ferdi hopes to mend fences and heal relations gone awry; listen to affiliates; reform outdated policies, and restore the peace and harmony within PCC.  Their vision is to restore PCC as the peak community organization and make it relevant again.

Ferdi’s team includes a diverse group of individuals, each one with their own set of skills that match the position they’re eyeing on. Their diverse experiences in management, finance, IT, women, senior citizens, health etc is guaranteed to contribute to the team’s vision which would be beneficial to the community. Only one (1) candidate (Vangie Leones) comes from the current board and four (4) have served in PCC the previous years. More exciting are the fresh, new, young, and dedicated community leaders especially like – Maureen Santiago for director representing Ateneo and Dave Tan a candidate for PRO.  All TRUE team members are passionate about community service and are ready to serve.

Bartolome has dubbed his team as the B2B6 team which stands for Balik to Basics”. He also disseminated his thesis-type material outlining his intentions for PCC packed with acronyms that no one remembers.  It tantamount to admitting that there has been something wrong all along and yet ignored. After 30 years of PCC, one wonders why regress to basics rather than move towards progress. As Cesar is currently the PCC External Vice President, one also wonders why he has not done what he now promises to do. He was in a position to effect changes. More importantly why has he not been able to help pacify the affiliates clamoring for change?  

Six (6) of the candidates on Cesar’s team are on the current Board; four (4) are familiar faces in the community; and two (2) are newbies – one representing the youth. Rod Dingle has quietly squeezed in, in the list of nominees as a Director, though has not been publicly declared to be a part of the B2B6 team. That will mean that the majority will be old timers going through a revolving door.  But I note that they’ve got a caterer, a cake maker and a water provider – just right for a picnic.

One can only hope against hope that when doors swing open again and the election finally happens on 20 February, people who call themselves leaders will stop – think – and vote right for the sake of the community – not based on the K-K-K system – Kakilala, Kaibigan, Kabarkada.  After all, this is not a popularity contest nor is it a place to feed starving egos, though some may think so.

PCC needs a complete overhaul.  At this point in time, we need new faces with fresh ideas, with skills to match  and who are performance oriented – not display oriented.  But most importantly, we need someone level-headed with honesty and impeccable integrity to lead.  One can only hope!


11 February 2022 

Tags: News