Twenty four representatives of associations and organisations out of 36 member organisations of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria Inc (FCCVI) have voted Marithes Dumapias as Interim President to run the FCCVI from today until the next FCCVI election in November 2019. The interim election was held last 31 March 2019 at Visy Cares Hub in Harvester Road, Sunshine.
The elected Interim FCCVI Officers are the following:
- Interim President: Marithes Dumapias
- Interim Vice-President: Marisa Vedar
- Interim Secretary: Siegfredo Jover
- Interim Assistant Secretary: Lorna Ramirez
- Interim Treasurer: Vincent Jimenez
- Interim Assistant Treasurer: Vilma Dimasaca
- Interim Internal Auditor: Cora Calkin
- Interim Public Relations Officer: Liza Di Blasio
- Interim Assistant Public Relations Officer: Melvin Mata
In her acceptance speech, Dumapias said governmental funding bodies have already intervened to fix the FCCVI issue with the other faction (Marlon De Leon’s camp) but to no avail.
“We have to unite. No matter what, there are struggles, no matter what there are challenges that are happening to us. Sometimes because of a lot of emotional disturbances into our body we also have discrepancies in our thoughts. That we have offended some of our comrades, our supporters,” said Dumapias.
“But I beg you, we have to be united to look after each other and you are the speakers of the Filipino community,” she said thanking the three Independent Election Committee Convenors, Walter Villagonzalo, Melba Marginson and Ollie Squires and Sam Afra who served as scrutineer during the election.
Dumapias is encouraging the community and organisations to field out candidates for the FCCVI election this November and she will even assist in guiding the new officers and in the turn-over of documents. She admits that what she cannot accept is how the De Leon camp tried to takeover the FCCVI management.
A day before the election, the Filipino community was surprised by a statement released by the Philippine Honorary of Victoria Consul Felix Pintado to the community and the media supporting the early interim election.
The past few months, Consul Pintado deliberately chose not to be involved in the FCCVI crisis. But this changed when the conflict would most likely affect the Australian government funding of the Filipino community for its elderly program.
“Without a legitimate outcome from this election, the whole Filipino community in Victoria stands to lose approximately 300,000 dollars in government funding for aged care services provided by FCCVI to the elderly in their homes.”
On 22 March 2019, the Department of Health (DoH) has written to Marithes Dumapias and Marlon De Leon asking for relevant information about FCCVI’s suitability to be an approved provider of aged care. Failure to submit the documents within 14 days would jeopardise future funding.
Riddled with doubts, criticisms
The FCCVI issue has certainly divided the community anew with both friends and supporters taking sides. Despite the call for unity and healing, the past few weeks saw them bickering, posting negative comments on social media and even blaming the other group for the crisis and possible cancellation of funding for the elderlies.
Villagonzalo and Marginson were even criticised by the De Leon camp for not being neutral due to their affiliation with some organisations and individuals. The two, however, insisted their assistance for an independent election was genuine.
No media, closed door meeting of De Leon’s group
Meanwhile, the camp of Marlon De Leon held its First Quarterly Meeting on the same day, 31 March 2019 from 1pm to 4pm at its temporary office at 20A Droop Street, Footscray.
The Philippine Times requested De Leon to attend the meeting but was told that his execom have agreed that the meeting will be only be for members and organisations supporting their working committees. The meeting, he said, is “more of strategic planning” and their plans need not be broadcasted at this stage. He promised though that his Public Relations Officer will be in contact for announcements.
FCCVI founder speaks
FCCVI founding president Rina Garcia-Ruivivar, in a statement released to The Philippine Times last 31 March 2019, reminded everyone of the FCCVI’s vision and mission to unify and to have one strong voice for the marginalised groups in the community.
“The politicising of the Council’s role is significantly impacting on the core values of law-abiding and peace-loving Pinoys in this, our adopted country,” she said.
She wants the community to protect the beneficiaries of all the services and programs from becoming the victims of the current “vicious games played in public” which can undermine access to funding from the commonwealth, state and local governments and NGOs.
Supporting De Leon and his executive committee, Garcia-Ruivivar said they deserve “the respect and cooperation of the whole community: to continue its obligations to lead its bonafide member organisations based on the Constitution and community governance and more importantly, to provide ongoing aged care services to deserving clients, as per Council policies and procedures and its contractual agreements with the funding agencies and their funding guidelines.”
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