Editor’s Note: On March 20, 2019, the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. (PIDCI) ratified its by-laws at the auspices of the Philippine Center in Manhattan. PIDCI is the community organization that runs the Philippine Independence Day parade to commemorate the Independence Day celebration of the Philippines as the first Republic in Asia. Outside Philippine shores, the parade in NYC has earned the reputation of having the largest participation. Community leaders however have raised issues on accountability and transparency of PIDCI. Handang Tumulong Foundation chair Alex Esteban pens his observations. OSM! prints his comment in full.
I would appreciate if you can share my report to the Fil-Am community. Thank you.
Alex L. Esteban
Handang Tumulong Foundation
The Board of Directors of PIDCI has approved the proposed amendments to the Bylaws and now the membership must vote to ratify the bylaws before they can go into effect.
I represent Handang Tumulong Foundation. As a member organization of PIDCI, my concern is why we are ratifying the amendments tonight when there was no deliberations yet on the proposed amendments. What is lacking in this exercise is to get feedback from the members.
The last time the bylaws was amended was in 2013 where on July 29, 2013, the members were allowed to give their opinions and feedback. The board then listened to the feedback and comments and incorporated these comments into the proposed amendments to the bylaws. The bylaws was then presented to the membership for ratification on August 23, 2013. That’s the ideal scenario. There was an open dialogue between the board of directors and the membership.
I voiced this concern to the Rely Manacay, Chairman on By laws Amendments & Committee on Elections. Mr. Manacay said we are not there to deliberate anymore but to simply vote “yes” or “no.” He went on to say that the board of directors has already deliberated on these amendments in consultation with ConGen Cristobal. This is the final version and copies were mailed to all the members.
Atty. Dulce Barangan (Ilocano American Association) interjected saying that we should be able to discuss the proposed amendments. It is not enough that the board of directors have deliberated on them, all members have the right to deliberate on the issues.
Mr. Manacay mentioned that there are 101 members as of 3/20/19, of whom 21 members are present and qualified to vote for the amendment of the bylaws. When pressed to have some deliberations on certain issues, Mr. Manny Quintal, PIDCI’s legal counsel was quick to say that he has no objections but these comments or concerns will not be included in the proposed amendments. Basically, what he was telling us is that the proposed amendments is a done deal. He said the bottom line is we have to accept or reject the proposals as a whole.
I expressed my concern regarding the quorum for all board meetings. They only require 6 including the president. I said that that number is too low which does not even comply with Robert’s Rule of Order on majority rule which is 50%+1. It is very easy to pass resolutions or remove a director as they will only need 4 votes, and to ratify bylaws, 2/3 votes is required.
Obviously, PIDCI is not subscribing to best practices. Mr. Quintal said that the Robert’s Rule of Order is only supplementary and applies only in the absence of a particular or specific provision in a written rule.
Ms. Ludy Hughes (Filipino American Festival) questioned the existence of a quorum to hold the voting. Mr. Manacay has confirmed to Ms. Hughes that there exists a quorum. Only 20 members are required to be present and there is 21.
Ms. Aida Gamolo (Jesus Through Mary) made an interesting point that with only 21 members present out of 101, it only goes to show that some members are not interested in ratifying the Bylaws, some do not understand the Bylaws, some are not properly informed, etc.
Atty. Barangan raised an issue regarding membership as a privilege. She enumerated the purposes of PIDCI and this statement runs counter to its purposes. PIDCI should be open to all.
Atty. Quintal indicated to Atty. Barangan that the Bylaws are never permanent. He invited Atty. Barangan if she has any particular language to include in the Bylaws to send it to the president.
There are so many concerns that we would like to bring to the table but, at this point it’s useless because the board will not consider them at this time.
At this point, the Chair started the voting process. Derick Hidalgo, an officer of Ilocano American Association and I watched the counting of the ballots. The results are 16 “yes” and 5 “no” to the proposed amendments. The revised bylaws of PIDCI, therefore, has been ratified on 3/20/19.
In conclusion, it is my personal opinion that there is a total disconnect between PIDCI and the community. The low turnout at the meeting clearly shows the lack of interest from the community to participate in PIDCI’s events. What’s your next game plan, PIDCI?
Alex L. Esteban
Vice President and Past President of HTFI
(Featured photo: Alex Esteban, middle, with leaders of PIDCI organization members during its Membership Meeting at the Philippine Center; contributed photo by Derick Hidalgo)