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The settlement and integration of newly-arrived immigrants to the wider community were mainly led by ethno-cultural groups themselves. They have established community centres or housing facilities, as means of fulfilling their roles in welcoming new arrivals. Through the activities of the community centres and socials halls, the wider community have learned to appreciate the culture that newly-arrived immigrants brought with them and how each culture would enrich the social, economic, political, and cultural life of Manitoba and Canada.
The first Philippine Centre, formerly located at the corner of Juno Street and McDermot Avenue was established by the Philippine Association of Manitoba, Inc. (PAM) in 1984.
Since the establishment of this community centre, it has provided both a venue where settlement services were delivered. Similar to the pattern that has been experienced by the Italian and Portuguese communities, most newly-arrived Filipino immigrants have settled in the inner city within close proximity of the then Philippine Centre. The influx of large numbers of newly-arrived Filipino immigrants in the mid-1990’s has made it inaccessible to many of the activities of the Filipino community.
The then Philippine Centre has limited space and the poor configuration of the rooms and hall has made it difficult to accommodate more than one activity at a time. The deteriorating state of the building has made repair costs prohibitive and wasteful. Among others, it is for this reason that a larger and more accessible community centre is required.
PHILIPPINE CANADIAN CENTRE
In early 1989, a public meeting of the Filipino community of Winnipeg was unanimous in the relocation of a Philippine Centre into a new and larger facility. The commitment and with the strong representations made by PAM, other Filipino organized groups, and individual members of the Filipino community – the City of Winnipeg leased 2.9 acres of city property at $1 per year for 50 years, at the southeast corner of Keewatin Street and Burrows Avenue to PAM as a site of today’s Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM).
The location of PCCM became an ideal location as it is accessible and central to a large portion of the Filipino community that is largely clustered in the Northwest quadrant of the city. The construction of new housing developments west of Keewatin and north of Inkster has resulted in a population base of many users of PCCM’s facilities, programs, and services.
The construction of PCCM has been made possible through funding by the three-levels of government and donations from Filipino organizations and individuals. It’s original plan was to build a self-sustaining Philippine Centre with Multi-Purpose Room, a city library and adjacent housing complex.
The city library and the housing complex were planned to be the source of revenue for its maintenance. This plan did not materialize for reasons that the City of Winnipeg cannot build a city library that is attached to a particular ethno-cultural group. As a result, the original acreage that the City of Winnipeg planned to donate shrunk, and in the end losing a space for the housing complex. Having lost the original plan for a self-sustaining facility, the need to draw a mortgage loan to establish a commercial wing of the facility became a necessity. The revenues from the commercial wing have been a source for payment of monthly blended mortgage payments and maintenance of the entire facility.
The organization of PCCM was originally an adhoc committee of PAM in the 1990’s, with a fundraising mandate. Immediately before the facility was built, the same adhoc committee eventually became a duly-registered corporation, with 15 elected board of directors that continues to manage the property today.
Since the completion of the construction of the PCCM facility in 2004, it has maintained a steady number of long-term tenants, including Pearl Dental Clinic, Sarbit Insurance, Sarbit Travel, PNB Remittance, Salon De Manila, Salakot Restaurant.
The proceeds of rental income from these businesses were initially planned to sustain monthly mortgage payments and maintenance and upkeep of the facility.
Unfortunately, this is not the situation today. The monthly mortgage payments and cost of maintaining the facility such as hydro, water, air conditioning & heating, snow removal, garbage disposal, and maintenance supplies are significantly higher than rental income.
This current difficulty appears to be the result of poor planning when a decision to build a facility with a commercial wing was made. The other issue that contributed to the shortfall or ongoing deficit is the low rental rates that appear to be below average market rates in the area.
Without the tireless efforts of Board of Directors and members who willingly volunteer their time, maintenance costs would have been higher. Today, PCCM continues to be managed, operated, and maintained by volunteers.
Today, PCCM is a facility that is used for workshops, programs & services, arts, music, athletics, cultural activities, classroom for heritage language classes, banquets for various celebrations, and recreation for the benefit of the Filipino community and the community-at-large.
This primary objective supports the settlement and adjustment needs of newly-arrived Filipino immigrants. PCCM prides itself in providing a venue where Filipino culture and heritage is preserved and shared to the wider community.
In recent past, many of our “kababayans” seem to have confusion as to the existence or mandate of PCCM.
This organization is no different than any other organization or association in the Filipino community. Unlike regional organizations, PCCM is regarded as an organization that is open to any individual with Filipino ancestry regardless of their home town, city or province.
PCCM take pride in welcoming members of the Filipino community regardless of their dialects. More importantly, it should be regarded as an organization that does not dwell on past mistakes or shortcomings but an organization that moves forward with a commitment or resolve to serve the Filipino community and beyond with transparency, integrity and accountability.
Members of the Filipino community are welcome to join us. Talk to any current Board of Director or member in good standing who can hopefully provide you with better information about PCCM today. Don’t restrict yourselves to second-hand information.
For more information about PCCM today, you are invited to call or leave a message at 204-775-4928 or Text 2049511088 .