PIDCI prepares for elections; Ballenas, Martinez vie for presidency

NEW YORK — The beat is on and it is almost elections time again in the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), a not-for-profit organization established in 2002 to organize in this city the celebration of annual Philippine independence day.

At its meeting this week, the board of directors took action on three pending matters to begin the process of electing the new PIDCI president and six board members for 2011-2012.

For the office of the president, the board approved the application of incumbent board member Rene Ballenas and current vice president Fe Martinez.

The board also approved the application of 12 candidates who will be contending to succeed six board members whose term expires this year.

Included in Ballenas slate are Greg Agulan, Pancho Bernaldez,  Nida Cortez, May T. Durano, Luis Pedron and Rick Respicio.  Martinez, on the other hand, has on her side, Irra del Rosario, Albert Diala, Rey Flores, Angie Molina, Jenny Vi Niguidula and Romy Somodi.

In addition, the board also authorized the membership renewal of 149 member organizations and the application of 117 new member associations for a total of 266 member organizations for PIDCI.

The elections will be held at the Lovin Life Learning Center at No. 4 West 43rd Street, between 5th Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas on Saturday, October 1, 2011 from 12 noon to 6 P.M.

Ballenas, who works at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, was PIDCI’s treasurer last year and a co-chair of the 2010-2011 Philippine Independence Parade. He is the new president of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila in New York and also president of the PUC/AUP Alumni Assocation – New York subchapter of the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP), where he earned a Master’s degree in Guidance and Psychology.

Martinez was Grand Marshal of PIDCI’s Philippine Independence Day Parade in 2003 and was a board member in 2008.  Before then, she served twice as president of the Federation of Philippine Societies of New Jersey (FOPSNJ), considered a premier umbrella organization in New Jersey.

She was also the Grand Marshal of the Philippine Day Organizing Council (PDOC) parade in 1993, and in the following year, she was elected overall chair of PDOC. PDOC has been putting together the annual Philippine day parade in Passaic, New Jersey since its inception.

Martinez was the founding president of both the Phil-Am Faces, Inc. and the Philippine Heritage Committee, Inc. She is the incumbent president of the Upang (University of Pangasinan) School of Nursing & Nazareth Medical Center Alumni.  By profession, she is a Registered Nurse and has transformed hersel into a highly successful business entrepreneur.

PIDCI has been organizing the area’s annual Philippine Independence Day commemoration since 2003. The celebration includes a number of events such as the Grand Marshal Gala, the Diwa ng Kalayaan Selection and Coronation Pageant and Gala, Philippine Independence Day with its trio of major activities — the Street Fair (an authentic Filipino Food Festival and mini-expo), the Cultural Festival and Philippine Independence Day Parade — and culminating the celebration is the Philippine Independence Ball.

Held on the first Sunday in June, the celebration has grown from having been the largest celebration of Philippine Independence outside of the Philippines since the mid-1900s to being the largest outdoor gathering of Filipinos, Filipino Americans and their friends in one place and at one time.  According to the New York Police Department estimates, in 2010, the celebration drew 70,000 participants; however, in the following year, attendance was at 100,000.

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