Out-of-court settlement, $6,525; Fiesta profit $5,000
MELBOURNE–Around 130 Filipino-Australians, feeling the chill of Sunday winter braved the cold weather to cast their votes in last Sunday’s election of Management Committee Members held at the Philippine Community Centre in Laverton. Never mind if it was a long weekend and everyone was doing other things either spending Sunday afternoon with family members and friends or having a long drive elsewhere. People who flocked to the Centre to attend the Annual General Meeting and eventually to vote were greeted by a security officer manning the attendance record. This is a good idea as people felt safe and the likelihood of any untoward incident is lessened. Well, it was generally a peaceful election in the end.
The 16 candidates who garnered the highest number of votes to be part of the Fiesta Management Committee were: Alex Ordona, Ernie Pagar, Fely Roxas, Judy Wright, Liz Honey, Lydia John, Manny Asuncion, Mario Dumrique, Mario Magbiray, Orly Victueles, Resy Lim, Remy Racquel, Rene Tamoro, Ross Manuel, Roy Carbungco and Sonia Santos Brewer. Nearly all the previous committee members were re-elected except for Cheryl De Leon and Lita Camacho. They will eventually elect among themselves who will be the officers for 2010- 2012.
In his final report to the members, Fiesta Chairperson Ross Manuel has reported that the recent litigation case between two officers and the Management Committee cost the Community $6,525. Part of this, $3,800 went to the settlement condition presented by plaintiff. Few months back, Gerry Ocampo and Ernie Ragel filed a litigation case to the Magistrate Court of Melbourne against the Fiesta organisation and its Management Committee for imposing disciplinary measures against them.
It was reported that the costs of court proceedings is estimated at around $32,000 for the losing side and between $8,000-$12,000 for the winning side. All in all, the $6,525 is cheaper compared to the lengthy and time-consuming court case.
The profit from the two-day November Fiesta celebration was only $5,000 due to the expensive venue, the Royal Melbourne Show. The venue was chosen as a last ditch effort when the Hobsons Bay City Council did not grant permit in the holding of the annual Fiesta at the Laverton site due to residents’ complaint of noise and traffic.
Manuel said the current Community Centre is badly needing repair. “Three years ago, there was an initial step to put up a task force to do the study about this site. But different opinions, preferences and distraction to internal issues affected the plan.” He blames the Filipinos’ habit of doing things not in a constructive way but in a destructive way. He enjoins the community and the incoming officers to instead focus and unite for the common good rather than dealing with personality differences. “We should look after this building as a priority as this is a better area to have our activities,” he said.
Former Public Relations Office Liz Honey told the Philippine Times that she decided to run again due to her previous commitment. “I started something already, I want to continue,” she said, expressing sadness that the money raised from the two-day Fiesta just went to the litigation proceedings. But she said now that this is over and done, she hopes that there will not be any more court cases in the future as this is a big distraction to the goal of having a better Fiesta celebration.
Roy Carbungco, Overall Coordinator of the Beauty Quest and Grand Reunion of Philippine Fiesta Victoria, has reported that the 31 January Grand Reunion and Beauty Quest presentation night was a success with more than 400 guest and members who attended. Aside from fostering camaraderie and friendship among officers and members of the Fiesta, including the candidates and their supporters, Carbungco said the event raised a substantial amount for the Philippine Fiesta. “It was the most attended function both talent and coronation night,” he said. The talent night alone gathered 800 guests while the coronation night had more the 700 guests.
Manuel told the Philippine Times that the Filipino community should learn to be pro-active and be constructive. “We should move on for the betterment of our community. This way we would progress. We need to change our mentality and give meaning and importance to the things that each one of us are doing. Let us forget the past and start a new beginning,” he said. And to those who supported him in his two-year term as Chairperson of the Fiesta Committee, “Thank you for helping me in doing my job as much as I can. With your great help and support I was able to do my job.” He also commended his officers for the support they provided to him during his term.