JERSEY CITY, NJ – The Philippine American Friendship Committee, Inc. (PAFCOM) welcomed its 2018 officers, committee chairs, and board members, led by its president Lito Pernia, at a ceremony held at the Jersey City Council Chambers on Friday, January 12.
Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega of the Philippine Consulate New York administered the oath of office for Pernia and his officers: Linda Rupel, president-elect; Lea Frain, secretary; Perla Candelaria, treasurer; Lita Roxas, assistant treasurer; Pilar Monje, auditor; Veronica Lavarro, press relations officer; along with an entire board and committee chairs.
Pernia, a president-elect in 2017, is a Controller for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., America’s premier civil rights organization, for close to 30 years. Besides having led Fil-Am organizations such as Friends Indeed USA and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations – Region 1, Pernia is also the Executive Director of GC Rivera Foundation, a non-profit in New Jersey providing medical care to under-served Filipinos. He is the only Filipino member of St. John the Evangelist Church Pastoral Council in Bergenfield, NJ.
“It’s an honor to lead a pioneering community organization that unites and elevates the Filipino community in New Jersey and across the Northeast,” said Pernia. “This year’s parade and festival, and the year-long festivities will be bigger and will reach across the Filipino diaspora and America’s diversity.”
PAFCOM also announced Rolando Lavarro, recently re-elected Jersey City Council President, as is its 2018 Grand Marshal. Lavarro, New Jersey’s top Filipino American political trailblazer, was the Councilman-at-Large top vote-getter, garnering over 20,000 votes in Jersey City’s municipal elections in 2017. He previously served as Director of Constituent Services for NJ State Senator Bob Gordon and was Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs at New Jersey City University.
Bergenfield Councilman Buddy Deauna and Eleanor De Leon, wife of former Consul General Mario Lopez-De Leon of the Philippine Consulate in New York, were also announced as Honorary Grand Marshals. Lavarro will unveil an additional line-up of Honorary Grand Marshals to reflect Jersey City’s diverse communities in the coming weeks.
“PAFCOM and the Filipino community has a rich history in Jersey City,” said Lavarro. “This year’s parade will celebrate Jersey City’s diversity and reaffirm our city as a home for equity, progress, and opportunities for all communities. I am looking forward to another amazing parade and festival from PAFCOM and invite everyone to join the festivities.”
PAFCOM will hold its 28th Grand Parade and Festival on Sunday, June 24, at Lincoln Park in Jersey City. The Grand Marshal Night will take place on Saturday, April 7, at the Atrium at the Harborside Financial Center in Jersey City. The Friendship Night and Coronation Ball will be on Sunday, May 20, at Marriott Hotel in Newark. PAFCOM’s 2018 Grand Parade and Festival is sponsored by Mack-Cali.
Founded in 1995, PAFCOM holds an annual parade and festival along the streets of Jersey City, NJ in celebration of the Philippine American Friendship Day. It provides inter-cultural programs to benefit Asian-American youth ages 8-18. It also runs programs intended for families with issues on substance abuse and health improvement.
One of its purposes is to nourish closer relationship among Filipino Americans as well as with other American communities and multi-ethnic groups to achieve a more neighborly community life.