The new board members who took their oath last Friday, February 17, will tackle the MPC issue in discussions with members of the community including representatives of PCC affiliates and Philippine media as part of its Ugnayan or community consultations initiative, a PCC media release announced.
In the media release, PCC-NSW vice pesident for external affairs Alric Bulseco said, “… the time is ripe for the Philippine community to be fully informed about the MPC issue,” adding that “The MPC project is a critical issue that our community has long wanted to discuss about and would no doubt generate great participation on March 4. We welcome everyone to join us next Sunday.”
The multi-purpose centre, also known as MPC or FMPC, was described in the media release as being a “long-standing and overdue” project.
Based on reports in the past, other members of the community also consider the MPC project as a “very touchy” issue with the reports focused on the management of the project.
The building project started in 1990 as an initiative by the Filipino Catholic Organisations (FILCOS). A building complex was originally planned to be built on a 2,400 sq m block of land in Rooty Hill. A one-story brick-veneer cottage was erected and was the venue for some community activities for some years.
In late 2007, the MPC management sold the Rooty Hill property and purchased a 5.5 acre (22,258 sq m) property for $1.15M in Schofields, also in Western Sydney. The property included a three-bedroom house, garage, utility and cool rooms and shed.
In a visit to the property last August meeting with three PACC volunteer officers, TFA writer Violi Calvert gleaned from PACC’s newsletter, “… the bedrooms had been converted into offices, the garage into a meeting room, and the kitchen and bathroom tidied up. The dilapidated shed and cool room were demolished and the block cleared of overgrown grass and shrubbery. Members of the community were generous with their time and help in the clean-up project.”
Over the years and up to its move to the Schofields site, the MPC has been a widely debated topic in the Philippine community.
In one meeting with Filipino Australian media in November 2007, the issues of the MPC having a permanent board and the public perception of “lack of transparency” were raised.
In that meeting, members of the MPC board “decried the spread of false and misleading stories about the centre’s management and its activities, but admitted it had not used the Filipino media often enough to provide regular flow of information about its activities.”
The MPC board also “vowed to be more transparent in disseminating information about their activities and issuing more timely or fresh information to avoid what they referred to as gossip and misleading stories about the FMPC.”
More Ugnayan projects
The MPC is only one of several issues that the Ugnayan will tackle, the PCC media release also stated.
“Ugnayan is an opportunity for the Philippine community to meet and greet each other, hold discussions about pressing issues and current affairs, and provide feedback about the community’s needs.
“Four Ugnayan events are scheduled to take place in Sydney as well as regional areas including Bathurst and Wollongong.
“Besides the MPC issue, the other discussion points in the upcoming Ugnayan will be the participation of affiliates and the community in the main areas of interests that PCC-NSW spearheads. The following committees have been created to cater for different areas of interest: Youth, Women, Elderly, Education, Immigration, Special Projects, Disaster & Calamity, Arts & Culture, Health and Sports.”
PCC-NSW is an umbrella organisation of 54 community organisations in New South Wales. It held its annual general meeting and elections last February 11 in which Mr Arturo Sayas was voted as 2012 president.
The Philippine Australian Cultural Centre which manages the MPC project is a non affiliate, but PCC-NSW is an ex-officio member of the PACC board.