THE FILIPINO AUSTRALIAN editor and publisher, Romy Cayabyab, recently contacted PCC-NSW new president Arturo Sayas, for an email interview with five questions.
Sayas was elected president of the Philippine Communities Council of New South Wales last Saturday, February 11 in the organisation’s Annual General Meeting and Election at the Imperial Hall, Blacktown Showground winning over Serna Ladia.
The questions emailed out focused on Sayas’ family business, top priorities as president, consultation with the Blacktown City Council, dialogue with APCO, and suggestions of having only one celebration event for Philippine Independence Day.
Following is a record of the interview:
You have a very successful business with your wife, Tess, and managing it is not an easy task. How much time do you plan to devote to the affairs of your business now that you are the president of PCC?
Zignal Travels is well established with systems in place, being in operation for more than 20 years. We also have efficient staff in the day to day running of the business. My wife Tess and I work together very well and have good time management skills. With these resources, I am confident that our business will continue to operate and grow successfully and not be affected from my being PCC President.
What are your top priorities as president of PCC?
These are my top priorities:
* Establish a permanent office for PCC
* Develop further the Philippine Australian Disaster Emergency Relief (PADER) program
* Ugnayan networking and forums with affiliates
* Develop a youth involvement program, including community leadership mentoring
Blacktown has the largest concentration of residents with Philippine background in Australia. Do you see yourself actively holding regular consultations with the Blacktown City Council on amenities and other programs that will benefit Filipino Australian residents? What programs for Filipino Australian residents in Blacktown do you see yourself initiating as president of PCC-NSW?
Blacktown City Council has always been supportive of Filipino Australian organisations in Blacktown as well as PCC. Blacktown, having the largest concentration of Filipino Australians, probably also has the largest number of Filipino Australian organisations. It is therefore not surprising that I will have even more active consultation with the council for the programs of the organisations. The priority program with the Blacktown City Council will be determined after consultation with the different organisations which may include age care and youth development.
In your pre-election statements to The Filipino Australian, you said that there is a challenge for PCC to create “opportunities for dialogues, forum and collaborated activities and projects” in order to “harness the strengths of the community.” Now that you are the elected president of PCC, do you see yourself or the PCC initiating a dialogue with APCO on how you can work together for the community?
I believe that Filipino Australian organisations have the benefit of the community in mind. That is a common ground. I have no problem inviting the leaders of APCO, FAME, PACSI and other non PCC affiliated organisations to a friendly dialogue in the common ground.
For the last two or three years, celebration of Philippine Independence in Sydney has been staged by two groups, one in Parramatta led by PCC-NSW and another in Blacktown, by APSL (known to have an alliance with APCO). During your tenure as president as PCC-NSW, do you see having only one celebration activity for Metro Sydney, that is, collaborating PCC-NSW celebration activities with APSL?
There are a number of Philippine Independence Day celebrations around Sydney. In Parramatta, it is led by Banag-Banag, in Blacktown, one is led by APSL Inc. and another by MPC, in Campbelltown, it is led by the CRFCC, in Fairfield, it is led by PASSCI and in Penrith, it is led by PLCAA. Banag-Banag, CRFCC, PASCCI and PLCAA are PCC affiliates, while APSL Inc was a former PCC affiliate and MPC is non affiliate but PCC is an ex-oficio member. There are also some celebrations outside Sydney like the one in Bathurst, led by Filipiniana Friends Group, also a PCC affiliate.
All of these organisations leading the Independence Day celebrations take pride in holding the annual ceremonies where the Philippines is honored with the support of their local councils. They are becoming traditional celebrations in their respective areas where the Filipino Australians, with Philippine government officials and the local Australian government officials joining the community in remembering Philippine Independence.
I see these celebrations as significant expressions of remembrance of the Filipino Australian community. Rather than organising these events into a single celebration and take them away from the support of the respective councils, it will be more fitting to put together these events into a collaborated one month (June) celebration, promoting them together in a unified campaign. This is what I propose.
End of interview.