A bold step has been done by the current Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba president Virginia Gayot and her board members by inviting many leaders of various organization in Winnipeg. And this is a long time coming to clear some issues on the relationship between the PCCM and the Filipino community in general.
“We want to welcome them back to the Philippine Centre, to be a part of new program to open the door for everybody and to let them know what is going on in the Centre, and to share our sides on some hearsays and innuendos about the Centre, which is considered as the pride of the Filipino community,” Virgie Gayot, PCCM president said.
At the first meeting, Gayot and his board invited the religious leaders in the community to have a good start. Then followed by the meeting of the various presidents of the organizations for the purpose of opening the PCCM to everbody.
The Philippine Centre had been inaugurated in 2004 with an ad hoc committee to run the centre. It was a dream realized by the Filipino leaders and by the thousands of donors and volunteers. And this followed by the 1st elected board of directors, and the 1st elected executive officers. And followed by succeeding executive officers facing many problems in running the centre. Many former officers and board members left with sour taste and this led to the barrage of hearsays and opinions about the Centre in social media.
The following are Q and A between the Filipino Journal and PCCM President Virginia Gayot:
(FJ): What prompted you to call the community leaders for a meeting at PCCM?
MVGayot: The community wants to know what is happening at PCCM and I had read comments from social media which were based on gossips and hearsays that is destroying the image of the center.
FJ: What are your goals and the timeline to improve the image, making the PCCM as you said, “the pride of the Filipino community in Winnipeg?”
MVGayot: We want to bring back the trust of the community. Our goal is to serve our community with all honesty and transparency. The timeline is right now.
FJ: Are your executive officers and board members totally in favour of
MVGayot: The PCCM Board members are very supportive and have the desire to work as a team in welcoming back the community and make them come home because we believe that the center is our home away from home.
FJ: Efficient financial management is the key in building the PCCM image, with this in mind, are the financial reports of the Centre available for the PCCM members ?
MVGayot: I am proud to say that the financial status of the center is acceptable at the moment. We are on time with our mortgage and property tax. We pay our bills on time , despite of some unexpected maintenance at the center. We are planning for an external audit for the financial status of the center and once it is done, I will be reporting again in our 2nd community leaders meeting. The financial reports will be available to the members and anytime a member wishes to ask or see the financial status, he/ she can come to the office and our admin staff will be happy to serve.
FJ: As the current PCCM president, you have made a bold move to open the Centre to the community, are you willing to take a stand if someone will force you to resign because your open policy is not accepted by some board members?
MVGayot: I am fully aware
that the center is owned by the community. As president of PCCM, my goal is to serve the organization in fulfilling its mission/vision in connecting & serving to our community in all honesty. I have no personal interest or any other personal business agenda. I want to see our community be united and be proud of who we are as Filipinos, people that are united, peaceful and helping each other. I want to work with our community leaders in strengthening the relationship of the center and our community. I would say that I have an independent mind and cannot be dictated by anybody. I know my responsibility and limitations but can ask the advise of other leaders for the good of the center. Majority of the board have supported my decision in connecting with our community. But if that happens, I will stand to fight what is right. I will not resign. I will continue to lead the Centre in whatever capacity I have in the right direction in achieving its mission/vision in the service to our community. But if the majority of the board members will decide to vote me out because of this reason, then I will have to respect the majority decision of the board. But most of all, I cling to Our Almighty God for all the wisdom, knowledge and direction in fulfilling the mission.
FJ: With the meeting you had with some religious groups and current leaders of community associations and organization, will there be another community or townhall meeting to further discuss the current situation and the future of PCCM?
MVGayot: As I have said, we will have another meeting once our finances is done with external audit. We want to be transparent to you all.