The United Filipino Organization, the network of Filipino organizations in the CNMI, has seen a steady decline in its membership over the last few years.
The group's president, Bong Malasarte, said yesterday that UFO, which used to have about 30 member organizations, only has about 20 active groups at present.
Malasarte noted that some of the active groups also saw a drop in the number of active members owing to the decrease in the population of Filipinos in the Commonwealth, caused by the economic downturn and the federalization of immigration on the islands.
“The population decrease within the Filipino community is something beyond our control,” he told Saipan Tribune. “What we can do is make the most out of it and encourage continued participation among our members.”
Malasarte pointed out that non-active member organizations within UFO are not immediately removed from the roster.
“Once we observe the non-activity of a member group, what UFO does is we look into the matter by conducting our investigation, then we take it from there,” he explained.
Member groups that are unable to pay their annual dues are also grounds for removal from the umbrella organization.
Malasarte said only the active groups can participate in the annual election of officers set for Nov. 24.
According to Malasarte, only five representatives from each member organization will be allowed to participate in UFO's electoral process.
“We are optimistic that each member organization will cast their votes to elect the new set of officers that will lead the Filipino community of the Northern Marianas,” he said.
The president earlier said that next month's election will coincide with the group's Thanksgiving celebration.
UFO is expected to culminate its 2012 activities with the annual Christmas event dubbed Paskong Pinoy.