# Get to know
PIDCI is principally dedicated to promoting history, the cultural heritage and traditions of the Filipino people through the annual celebration of Philippine Independence Day.
#All About PIDCI
The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) is an umbrella organization of Filipino American associations based on the East Coast. It is principally dedicated to promoting the cultural heritage and traditions of the Filipino people through the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day, hence, the name. But there is more to PIDCI than its name implies.
Since 1972, Filipino American organizations have come together to plan, design, and prepare for an all-day parade, cultural show and street fair in New York City that showcase the sounds, the spectacle, the history and the cultural heritage of the Filipino people.
In 1986, the Philippine Consulate in New York started to take an active part in the preparation for the celebration. In 1989, it formed a committee to take charge of the parade. The parade turned out to be a huge success. It was later widely considered a regular annual project of many Filipino organizations, and a red-letter mainstay in the calendars of many Filipino American homes. Such was the impact and success of the Philippine Independence Day Parade that predictably everyone wanted to take part in it one way or another.
This led the Filipino community to realize that the Independence Day celebration itself had become a point of unity and cooperation among Filipinos. The requirements of sustaining this activity were enormous. But the potential benefit of a more unified Filipino community was obviously worth the effort towards institutionalizing the Philippine Independence Day celebration. Thus, the idea of establishing an organization dedicated to the promotion of Filipino cultural heritage through the Independence Day celebration and to the empowerment of the Filipino community was conceived.
In October 2001, at a meeting called by Consul General Linglingay Lacanlale of the Philippine Consulate General of New York, community leaders voted in a referendum to establish PIDCI and elected those who would undertake the organizational process. Elected were: Sofia Abad, Roger Alama, Lolita Compas, Ramon Constancio, Angie Cruz, Loreto Elgo, Elice Flores, Nilda Jaynal, Nimia Lacebal, Rudy Nicolas, Juliet Payabyab, Honesto Quijano, Cora Reyes, Arnie Rosario, Reuben S. Seguritan, Francis Talangbayan and Lee Vargas.
The frenetic incorporation process culminated on February 14, 2002, when the PIDCI was officially issued its certificate of incorporation as a not-for-profit organization. It was granted a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on October 17, 2002.
PIDCI then proceeded to elect its first set of officers. Elected were: President – Reuben S. Seguritan; Vice-President – Lolita Compas; Secretary – Angie Cruz; Treasurer – Cora Reyes; Auditor – Honesto Quijano. Chosen Grand Marshal was Fe Martinez.
The vision of PIDCI was crystallized in the purpose clause of its Certificate of Incorporation. The purpose of PIDCI, while inevitably related to one another, may be broadly defined as follows: (a) the promotion of Filipino cultural heritage; (b) the reinforcement of mutual cooperation among Filipino American organizations; and (c) the preservation of the rights and interests of Filipino Americans.
The promotion of the Filipino cultural heritage was accomplished through the Independence Day Parade, the Diwa ng Kalayaan pageant, the Grand Marshal Gala, the cultural programs and the Independence Day Ball and Cultural Night. The annual parade has been attended in recent years by over a hundred thousand including top public officials from New York City and New York State and from the Philippines.
While the Independence Day celebration remained a priority, PIDCI considered itself an advocate for the empowerment of the Filipino community in the U.S. Its incorporators envisioned PIDCI as an organization aimed to empower the Filipino community.
As an advocate of Filipino rights and interests, PIDCI was fairly successful in providing relevant and timely information and support where it is needed most. In cooperation with the Philippine Consulate, it has conducted advocacy forums on the rights of immigrants and orientation seminars on new arrivals.
As PIDCI continues to expand its membership, it is raring to explore opportunities to serve the Filipino community. The Filipino community can look ahead with pride and anticipation as PIDCI takes on a more active part in working for the well-being of migrant Filipinos in the U.S.
The presidents of PIDCI since its incorporation are: Reuben Seguritan (Founding President), Roger Alama (2003-2004), Nirma Lacebal (2004-2005), Gani Puertollano (2005-2007), Raul Estrellado (2007-2008), Gerry Austria (2008-2009), Bernie dela Merced (2009-2010), Joji Jalandoni (2010-2011), and Fe Martinez (2011-2015).
During its first year, under the term of Reuben S. Seguritan, PIDCI conducted activities consistent with its mission and vision. It sponsored a series of advocacy forums on immigrant rights. The first two forums focused on “The Rights of Non-Citizens After 9/11” and were held at two different venues, specifically at the Philippine Center in New York City in October 2002 and in Connecticut the following month. A third forum dealt with migrant domestic workers and was held in New York City on January 25, 2003. There was also a forum on the rights of the elderly. These four forums were well attended and they successfully addressed the pressing concerns of many Filipinos. PIDCI also conducted the first in a series of orientation seminars for newly-arrived Filipinos on March 1, 2003. This project was designed to help them adjust to their new environment in the U.S.
President Reuben S. Seguritan also wrote a series of articles published in Filipino newspapers about the need to articulate PIDCI views on such critical issues as discriminatory legislations, racial profiling and exploitation of domestic workers. Towards the end of his term, he laid out a plan to provide the community with the following programs: (1) information and referral; (2) community education; (3) community networking; and (4) direct service.
Alongside the above advocacy and empowerment projects, the 2003 Independence Day celebration remained at the forefront. The parade, cultural show, and street fair attracted tens of thousands of participants and spectators. Several dignitaries joined the march including NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Chuck Schumer, UN Ambassador Lauro Baja, Jr., NYC Councilor John Liu and others from the office of then Governor Pataki. Senator Loren Legarda was the guest of honor. Fe Martinez Caliolio was the Grand Marshal and Nena Kaufman was the overall chair of the celebration. The Independence Ball and other cultural activities had record attendance.
Roger Alama succeeded Reuben S. Seguritan and his Overall Chair was Lolit Gillberg. Rudy Quiambao was the Grand Marshal. Consul General Cecile B. Rebong its Honorary Adviser until 2010. ‘Con Gen’ was also responsible in bringing AIG as a major sponsor in 2005 under President Nimia Lacebal, with Grand Marshal Dr. Linda R. Pelayo. A Cultural Series Program was also introduced by Pres. Nimia Lacebal to keep in touch with our cultural heritage and allow the young Filipino Americans to learn and appreciate them.
Gani Puertollano served for two terms as President 2005/2005 & 2006/2007 with Parade Grand Marshal Dan de Guzman organizing a full-blown PIDCI Golf Tournament fund-raising in 2006. Grand Marshal 2007 was Dr. Emmanuel ‘Boy’ Pangan who led the parade with the newly-assigned Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the U.N. Hilario G. Davide Jr. who marched in the Parade until 2009.
In 2008 under President Raul Estrellado, for the first time a priest, Rev. Monsignor Oscar A. Aquino, JCD was chosen as Parade Grand Marshal. AIG returned as a major sponsor and the participation of a major Philippine Media Network ABS-CBN/TFC as an Official Sponsor and Media Partner was first introduced in the parade and the ‘Celebrity Hour’ with their top Philippine Celebrities at the Cultural Festival created much euphoria. The promotion around the world by TFC of the all-day event was a major factor for the combined attendance rising from the annual average of 40,000 to 70,000 as estimated by the New York Police Department (NYPD). TFC continued their support with their participation in 2010, 2011 & 2013.
Gerry Austria was president in 2008/2009 and was honored with the attendance of Philippine Vice-President Noli de Castro; Grand Marshal Dr. Teofila Malanum-Santos did her share personally arranging the attendance of Senator Manny Villar; NY Senator Chuck Schumer came and shook hands at the reviewing stand; major TV Network GMA came on board as Official Sponsor and Media Partner bringing their top Philippine Celebrities, and would come back again in 2012 & 2013. By 2010, President Bernie dela Merced had for the first time a husband and wife as Parade Grand Marshals, Ben and Dr. Zenaida Santos with Guest of Honor H.E. Willy C. Gaa, Ambassador to the US joined by newly arrived Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the U.N. Libran N. Cabactulan.
2011 became very special for President Joji J. Jalandoni with Parade Grand Marshals, Nick and Dr. Edita Libramonte. PIDCI also welcomed the presence of Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay and H.E. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Ambassador to the US at the Parade and Culutural Festival, along with the colorful participation of the award-winning Dinagyang Festival winners from Iloilo sponsored by the Philippine Department of Tourism. Combined participants and spectators throughout the day surged to 100,000. By 2012, President Fe Martinez launched the Mrs. Kalayaan Pageant as a new PIDCI fund-raising arm; she was re-elected for a second term in 2013 and with the close collaboration of Consul General Mario De Leon, Jr., the unprecedented participation and support of all three major Philippine TV Networks –TFC, GMA and TV5, finally happened; the Philippine Department of Tourism came on board for the first time as an Official Sponsor with “It’s more fun in the Philippines” program and brought back the renowned Dinagyang Festival winners.
Fe Martinez was reelected for a third time in 2014 and the 2014 Grand Marshals were Dr. Emilio Quines and his wife Dr. Felicisima Quines. Fe Martinez was reelected for a fourth term (2015). She continued her projects including the Mrs. Kalayaan pageant which became a major fundraiser. The parade and cultural show attracted record attendance and a sizeable number of celebrities and dignitaries from the Philippines including Senator Alan Cayetano, DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, Ambassador Cuisia, Jr. and UN Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre and from New York including U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Congresswoman Grace Meng. The Grand Marshal for 2015, Atty. Reuben S. Seguritan at the Grand Marshal Gala which had a record attendance and with Congresswoman Grace Meng as Guest of Honor, exhorted the community to use the parade as an occasion to affirm our solidarity and strength and to advance our empowerment agenda.
PIDCI’s theme in 2015 was “The Filipino: Active Partner in Environmental and Climate Change Governance.” A forum on climate change, the most pressing issue of our time, was also held in New York with Philippine Environmental Secretary Neric Acosta as speaker.
Participation in the PIDCI activities by its member organizations (averaging 200 annually), has strengthened cooperation, unity and collaboration in the community. It is with great pride and anticipation that PIDCI explores opportunities to serve the Filipino community, focusing on the 2nd generation of Filipino-Americans.
As PIDCI soars to greater heights, pressing forward and facing new challenges head on, PIDCI also recognizes the efforts of the Filipino organizations that started, what is now the biggest gathering of Filipinos outside the Philippines, the Philippine Independence Day parade, cultural show and street fair in New York City.
The first Independence day parade was held in 1972 along the Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. Organized by the Philippine Communities Executive Council (PCEC) and other Filipino American groups, participants came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. There were a dozen floats and several drum and bugle corps. Various civic, fraternal, educational and social groups including the Filipino Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion were represented. In the reviewing stand were Philippine diplomats and high city and state officials. Spectators of several nationalities, six-feet deep, lined up both sides of the Avenue.
It was not until 1986 just right after the EDSA peaceful revolution in the Philippines that the Philippine Consulate General of New York under Consul General King Rodrigo got actively involved in the preparation for the Independence Day Parade. The parade took place on 45th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues and it was organized by Filipino Communities Network.
In 1989, the then Consul General Hermenigildo Garcia formed a committee known as the Philippine Independence Day Committee (PIDC) to organize the parade under the auspices of the Consulate General. The Consul General appointed the first Overall Chair and the Grand Marshal.