Editor’s Note: The largest organization of Filipino Americans in the US has signified its participation in the June 3 Independence Day Parade to commemorate the 120th Philippine Independence. In a statement written by its NY State chairperson Laura Garcia, NaFFAA said it respects the decision of some of its member organizations who opted not to join the parade this year because of the controversies surrounding the organizer, the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. PIDCI is currently facing transparency and accountability charges with the New York Supreme Court. “In the spirit of promoting cultural heritage, NaFFAA expresses solidarity in commemorating the Philippine Independence Day Parade.” See full text of the NaFFAA statement.
NaFFAA Joins the June 3, 2018 Parade: Solidarity and
Commemoration of Philippines Independence Day
By Laura Garcia
NaFFAA New York
On June 3rd, 2018, Filipino-Americans will commemorate the 120th anniversary of Philippine independence. The Philippine Independence Day parade on Madison Avenue will highlight the event, the purpose of which is to promote history, cultural heritage and traditions of the Filipino people. The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) has played a major role in the planning, preparation and production of the parade. Held every first Sunday in June, the Philippine Independence Day Parade, Street Fair and Cultural Show is the largest celebration of Philippine Independence outside the Philippines. The event’s success flows from avid participation by various Filipino-American organizations and groups that enthusiastically participate.
This year, amid controversy surrounding PIDCI, some of the organizations and groups who participated in the past have opted to stay away or have decided not to participate in the parade. National Chair, Brendan Flores, of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), called for a meeting with Dr. Aida Rivera, NaFFAA Region 1 Chair, and Dr. Laura Garcia, NaFFAA New York State Chair, in order to enunciate their stance pertaining to the upcoming Independence Day Parade. NaFFAA New York State Chair Dr. Garcia articulates the NaFFAA Position Statement herein and sets forth the following assertions:
- NaFFAA has been the representative organization for promoting the welfare and wellbeing of all Filipinos and Filipino-Americans throughout the United States since 1997. Among its primary objectives have been to promote active participation of Filipino-Americans in civic and national affairs, and to strengthen community institutions that promote the cultural heritage of Filipinos. As such, the NaFFAA supports the purpose of the Philippine Independence Day Parade to promote the history, cultural heritage and traditions of the Filipino people.
- NaFFAA supports the statement of former Philippine Consul General Tess Dizon-De Vega, in one of her speeches, that the parade is an eloquent expression of pride, a contribution of the migrant community, and show of talent.
- In any organization, institution, or groups you will find that there will be members or officers or both who may have the same views or differing views. NaFFAA respects all views and decisions of organizations/groups.
- NaFFAA recognizes that there is a problem and concerns about PIDCI, but the proponents of NaFFAA’s position made their decision after careful deliberation.
- NaFFAA believes in solidarity in commemorating Philippine independence. Everyone must put aside prejudices and must instead work together to ensure our image will shine in terms of public service, conveyance of public message and in the negotiation and maintenance of goodwill among various organizations.
One final note: If we all want to make a change, we have to take a positive stand. Joining the parade is irrelevant as to the negativity we hear about PIDCI. We are joining the parade because the parade is all of us. Former NaFFAA Chair, Steven Raga, President of the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF), Atty. J. T. Mallonga, and FALDEF Director of Advocacy, Atty. Merit Salud support NaFFAA’s decision to participate in June 3rd Philippine Independence Day parade. NaFFAA Chair, Brendan Flores declares, “Together, let’s make history and continue to write our story.”
We hope to revivify and energize the pride of Filipino people by showing positive engagement with our warm, beautiful heritage. Filipinos are beautiful people, who have traveled the world over. We have every right to take OUR place as world citizens. On Philippine Independence Day, we have a birthright and great traditions to celebrate. Let us all march together with our heads held high. Mabuhay!
NaFFAA New York State Executive Board:
NaFFAA NYS Chair: Laura Garcia
Executive Director: Steven Van Derodar
Executive Secretary: Derick Hidalgo
Director of Media Communications: Anthony Castro
Ma. Consuelo Almonte
(Featured photo: Dr. Laura Garcia with (l-r) Steven Raga, Brendan Flores, and Jason Tengco)