NEW YORK — With no opposition except for one board member seat, Fe Martinez easily cruised to assume the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) presidency for a second and last one-year term. She received 95 votes in the PIDCI elections held at the Cathedral High School in Manhattan on October 6.
A total of 107 ballots was cast by representatives of member organizations. 192 member organizations were reported to have registered for this year’s elections, 169 of which were renewals and 23 new ones.
Martinez’ slate of seven candidates for board members also won: Jesse Arteche, Art Diongon, Elvira Reyes, Mary Ann Sanagustin, Aristedes Uy, Vivian Velasco and Margie Wisotsky.
Martinez, a registered nurse by profession turned-business entrepreneur, is considered a pillar in the community as she served in several organizations in a variety of roles for many years. She was Grand Marshall of the PIDCI’s Philippine Independence Day Parade in 2003 and was a board member in 2008.
She was also a two-time President of the Federation of Philippine Societies of New Jersey (FOPSNJ). In 1993, she was the Grand Marshall of the Philippine Day Organizing Council (PDOC) parade in Passaic, New Jersey and was subsequently elected as the organization’s Overall Chair the following year.
Martinez has set her goals for her new term, which she mentioned again during her speech before the elections commenced last Saturday. Among which is “soliciting involvement and showcasing the talents of the youth and young professionals to ensure the marketability and relevance of the Philippine Independence Commemoration to the young generation of immigrants and of those born here.”
She also has set a goal to “streamline management tools for annual implementation of best practices in planning, training and fiscal responsibility; to utilize aggressive marketing and public relations strategies to promote the Independence Celebration in the mainstream communities.”
“Our annual independence celebration serves not only for the preservation of our treasured freedom, but serves also to continuously educate, inspire and instill in the hearts and minds of the younger generations our intrinsic Filipino values, traditions, and rich history and heritage,” she said.
She enjoined everyone to “set our sights high and create greater milestones in celebration of the upcoming 115h Anniversary Commemoration of Philippine Independence.”
Since Martinez was the lone candidate for the presidency, there were suggestions to declare her elected by casting one unanimous vote but elections officials continued to count votes cast for her as a matter of record.
Unlike other candidates who ran with Martinez, Tambi Wycoco, a PIDCI veteran who previously served as a board member in three administrations, sought the same office as an independent candidate. He placed eight, receiving 49 votes — short of 15 votes for him to have taken the last spot. Margie Witsotsky, PIDCI’s first Mrs. Kalayaan 2012, capped the seventh slot with 63 votes.
Garnering the most number of votes for board members was Elvira Reyes with 88 votes. She is one of the two current board members who ran for re-election.
Following Reyes’s lead were two former presidents of the JCI-Philippine New York (Jaycees) Inc.: Vivian Velasco with 87 votes and Jesse Arteche, with 85. Both went over their two-minute limit speeches during the candidates’ presentation but both spoke well of their vision for PIDCI and their respective experience in serving the community. Both are accountants by profession.
Art Diongon, another board member who ran for another two-year term, was re-elected. He obtained 83 votes.
The three other candidates who were elected as board members were Mary Ann Sanagustin (77 votes), Aristedes Uy (76 votes) and Margie Wisotsky (63 votes).
All newly elected board members have a long list of involvement in civic, leadership and professional organizations who have served in leadership roles. They have succeeded in their respective fields of endeavour and their combined experience in these organizations would serve PIDCI well in the coming years. Each one will be serving a two-year term.
Immediately after they were declared winners by Romeo Somodio, chairman of the elections committee, Martinez and the seven board members were sworn into office by Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr.
The board of directors will meet October 11 to elect the vice president, secretary and treasurer and plan the 2013 activities.
PIDCI ELECTION WINNERS – Showing Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. (extreme right) raising the hands of the victors in the elections for President: Fe Martinez (second from right), who was re-elected for a second and last one-year term, and seven members of the Board of Directors (l to r); Margie Wisotsky, Aristedes Uy, Maryann Sanagustin, Jesse Arteche, Vivian Velasco and re-electionists Elvira Reyes and Art Diongon, all elected for two-year terms. Photo was taken immediately after the winning candidates were sworn into office by the Consul General. Photo by Butch Gata.