Editor’s Note: Filipino philanthropist and civic leader lawyer Loida Nicolas Lewis writes a reaction to the recent amendments to the By-laws of PIDCI, citing that it behaved like a private corporation when it actually uses public funds from the Filipino community. In 2016, PIDCI, the organizer of the Philippine Independence Day parade in New York, lost its 501 (c) 3 status for failure to submit financial reports to the IRS for three consecutive years. We print the letter of Ms. Lewis in full.
On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, the General Assembly of the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc (PIDCI) approved the amendments to the By-Laws without as much as a discussion and consultation from its more than 100 member organizations.
Thus, the Board of Directors of PIDCI which drafted the amendments, succeeded in making PIDCI their “private corporation”.
Now, membership in PIDCI is “a privilege, not a matter of right.”
It is contrary to PIDCI’s original purposes when it was incorporated in 2002, which states that PIDCI should “foster and strengthen mutual cooperation, unity and collaboration among ALL Filipino organizations” and that PIDCI should “encourage participation of ALL Filipino Americans.” (All caps my edit)
The amendments to the By-laws of PIDCI actually exclude any Filipino organization that engages in “all activities substantially similar to PIDCI”.
Thus, any organization that holds a parade, street fair, beauty contest, ballroom dancing, or gala would not be admitted as a member.
In addition, any member of an organization who receives a salary (financially benefitted) from that organization would also not be admitted.
PIDCI also with the new amendments could terminate any member organization when it “commits an act detrimental to PIDCI.”
In that case, all the Board Members of PIDCI in the years 2013. 2014 and 2015 should be expelled because PIDCI lost its 501 c 3 Status with the IRS. That situation is “detrimental to PIDCI”.
All Board Members of PIDCI in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 should also be expelled because they continued to hold parades and street fairs without telling the Filipino community that donations will no longer be tax deductible.
In fact, for the Parade on June 3 this year, they continue to say “in cooperation with the New York Consulate General” when PIDCI’s 501 c 3 status with IRS is still revoked.
This non-disclosure is “detrimental to PIDCI” and to the ignorant participants of the parade and street fair on June 3, 2019.
In short, the amendments to the By-Laws as approved will cause more disunity and disagreements among the FilAm community leaders of the New York Metropolitan Area.
Consul General Claro Cristobal when informed of these disturbing amendments to PIDCI By-Laws wrote in reply that the FilAm organizations who are not members should join as members of PIDCI in order to change it from within.
New members are not allowed to vote until after one year of membership.
We have a word in Filipino to describe what happened during the General Assembly March 20th approval of the amendments to the By-Laws- “Tapos na ang boxing”.
Very truly yours,
Loida Nicolas Lewis
Chair, US Pinoys for Good Governance