KOTA KINABALU: To be integrally united, culturally and community service oriented, economically progressive and a responsible community amongst the diverse ethnic groups in Sabah and Malaysia as a whole is the priority of the Persatuan Kababayan Sabah which is made up of Filipino community called Kababayan, originating and residing mainly in Sabah.
This was disclosed by its advisor, Dato John Clark, during the first ever Kababayan Sabah Family Day held at the Tanjung Aru Beach 1 here on Sunday.
With attendance of over 200 members who brought along with them their siblings, John said the beach party was designed to create an awareness of the existence of the association among the Kababayan community in Sabah.
“The family gathering also reminds us of our forefathers who had come to North Borneo in 1920s and 1930s to serve under the British government and various private companies,”he said.
He said the Kababayan community comprised Ilongos, Waray, Chavacano, Tagalog, Cebuanos and Bicolanos to mention few who arrived in North Borneo as early as in the 1920s.
Before World War Two, John said there was a fairly huge Kababayan community in Sandakan where dance parties and fellowship were held periodically during Christmas and other special occasions.
After the war, more Kababayans came to Sabah (North Borneo then) to work mainly in the logging and plantation sectors and even in the local judiciaries and as administrative staff under the British administration, he said, adding that it was in the 1950’s where more Filipino professionals and skilled personnel migrated to the state for employment purposes.
“It was during this period when Sabah saw the arrivals of the much needed forestry engineers, surveyors, draftsmen, nurses, school teachers, clerks and other experts from the Philippines,” he added.
To a question, John, who hails from Lahad Datu and is a lawyer by profession actively practising in West Malaysia, said that the present PKS office bearers headed by chairman Teddy Pacaldo, are focused and determined to ensure that all its members will be properly guided on the association’s core values, namely unity, respect, integrity, compassion and progressive.
“PKS officials will strive to deliver and achieve our objectives for the welfare of every Kababayan member with strong determination and commitment, sacrifice, patience with faith and hope,”he stressed.
He said PKS will also ensure that its members will be richly aware of its culture and heritage, apart from improving their social and economic status, increased higher academic standing, and become a more civic and service oriented community.
To qualify to be a member, John said the applicant must be a Sabah-born citizen with Filipino background. Spouse of members are qualified to be associate members without voting rights.
Meanwhile, Teddy said PKS will be organizing a membership recruitment drive statewide starting next month.
“We will be providing all the necessary information on the membership campaign as soon as all the preparations are ready,” he said.
Teddy also said that the association is presently finalizing the various programmes and activities of the association for this year, especially for the forthcoming Christmas celebration.
“Records show that we have some 50,000 qualified applicants in Sabah and we hope the majority, if not all, will be registered within this year,”he said.
According to him, the membership drive will be focused in the areas of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and will be followed up in the other areas.
“I am very delighted that today’s family day was participated by a very encouraging crowd, which was described by many as a successful event,”Teddy said.
During the family day, he said members were treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch replete with favourite local Filipino fare, beach games, lucky draws and lots of merry-making programmes.