NEW YORK CITY – Community icon and noted lawyer Reuben Seguritan is 2015 Grand Marshal of the Philippine Independence Day Parade commemorating the 117th anniversary of the country’s Independence. He received a unanimous vote from board members of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) and was presented to the community on December 8 during PIDCI’s An Evening with the Consul General. This was held at the residence of Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. and attended by leaders of organizations that are affiliated with PIDCI.
“I am greatly honored and humbled,” Seguritan told the Philippine Daily Mirror. “The Grand Marshal is one of the most coveted positions of leadership in the community. The parade is an occasion not only to honor those who fought for our freedom but also to show our strength as a community.”
Seguritan’s decision in accepting the nomination was not an easy one. When he was approached in mid-October to be nominated, he said his response was the same as it was in previous years: an “emphatic no.” But after several attempts at convincing him and his wife, he finally agreed “only if there were no other candidates.” Seguritan wanted to defer the nomination to someone else since he knew there were others who were very interested and very qualified. When he found out later that Menchie Pulido had nominated him, he said he told Menchie to withdraw his name.
But Menchie challenged Seguritan to take on the responsibility and told him that his time was long overdue. “I was not interested because it was too high profile a position for me and I was more effective in serving the community if I remained low key, under the radar, so to speak,” Seguritan said.
Seguritan was the founding president of PIDCI when it was incorporated on February 14, 2002. He also co-founded the Filipino American Human Services, Inc. (FAHSI) with Jean Raymundo Lobell, who also served earlier as PIDC’s Grand Marshal. FAHSI is an organization that provides social services to disadvantaged Filipinos.
Despite a heavy workload, Seguritan still found time to be involved in several other community organizations to pursue his passion for advocacy issues. He has served as general counsel of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA), the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNA), PNA-New York and the Philippine Medical Association in America (PMAA). When he was younger, he was also a member and legal counsel of JCI Philippine-New York (Jaycees), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.
When asked what he thought were the significant changes in PIDCI since his presidency, Seguritan said, “I am not aware of any major changes because I never attended any meeting nor was I consulted about changing the bylaws.”
He has received several professional and civic awards, including the Presidential Awards for Outstanding Overseas Filipinos, given in Malacanang in 1993 by President Fidel V. Ramos, for “contributions which have significantly benefited a sector or community in the Philippines, or advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.” These awards would later be bestowed by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) of the Office of the President of the Philippines.
Seguritan is also a prolific writer having published numerous articles in law journals and has written columns for community newspapers such as the Filipino Reporter, The Filipino Express, and the Hawaii-Filipino Chronicle, among others. In 1997, his book We Didn’t Pass Through the Golden Door, was published. It is a book of essays on the plight of Filipinos overseas who have been treated, in his own words, as ““objects of discrimination and legal oppression.” He was on the Board of Editors of the common Law Lawyer.
He taught law and politics in Manila and was labor counsel and member of a legal defense team which he helped organize before he immigrated to the U.S. in 1972. He received his bachelor’s degrees in law and political sicence from the University of the Philippines. He passed the New York bar in 1974 and has been practicising since then. Although he is known as an immigration lawyer, Seguritan also practices corporate, matrimonial, and property law.
Seguritan is married to Corazon Magsuci Seguritan, a board certified pediatrician. They have two sons, Frederick and Reuben Anthony.