Newly elected Board members (L-R) Ner Martinez, Jay Layugm Jean Allarey-David, Nora Galleros-Tinio, president; Czarmel Lopez, Marissa De Guzman, Aida Tagle, and Margarita Wisotsky | Photo Troi Santos
NEW YORK – With no other candidates vying for the presidency and seven board of director posts, the annual business meeting and elections of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) proceeded without controversy Oct. 2 at a church hall on 69th Street in Woodside, New York.
Leonara Galleros-Tinio clinched the presidency, obtaining all 60 votes cast by member-organizations in attendance out of 101 members declared by the Membership Committee eligible to vote. According to Matt Reyes, Membership Committee chair, three new member organizations were admitted: FilNet Filipino Network, Mabuhay Club International, and United Pilipino Parents of America.
“I accept with humility the trust and confidence you have given me,” Galleros-Tinio said in accepting her mandate. Recounting her involvement with PIDCI, Galleros-Tinio said Dr. Prospero LIm, then-president of PIDCI, invited her to join. Four years later, “We’ve since delivered accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency,” she said and vowed to continue the same path in her administration.
She also laid down her plans, among which is increasing membership to 200 or more, making the organization more relevant, accepting the challenge of new values, and keeping old ones that work in furtherance of the organization’s goals.
Two new members joined the board, Aida Tagle and Czarmel Lopez. Tagle represents D’Balayan East Coast USA, Inc, where she serves as president for the second term. She obtained 55 votes; Lopez of the San Beda University Alumni Association received 57 votes.
“I salute the PIDCI officers and members with great pride and for trusting me for this great opportunity, they’ve given me. I see many opportunities for PIDCI as it is now getting better and even stronger, Tagle said. “I look forward to joining the team under Nora Galleros; I am confident that I can do my work with pleasure and joy as we get ready for the battle to continue our advocacy.”
Lopez was likewise upbeat with his role as a board member. “I am looking forward to being of service to PIDCI and be able to help Nora Galleros fulfill her vision for the organization,” he said. “I am one with her on continuing and improving transparency in all levels of reporting, increasing the number of member organizations, and help raise funds even during this difficult pandemic.” Lopez also noted that a successful term means a win for PIDCI and Filipinos abroad wanting to uplift Filipino heritage and culture.
Two former PIDCI presidents made their bid also for board member seats. Immediate past president Margarita Wisotsky topped other candidates with 58 votes. Antero Martinez, Wisotsky’s predecessor, garnered 55 votes.
In her remarks, Wisotsky said she was not seeking a second term to allow a successor to continue the legacy of serving the FilAm community. “I am leaving my post as president as a better person. I have learned that to be able to lead effectively, I need to listen and respect other minds and not just my own,” she said. “To lead this organization was truly a humbling experience.”
Jean Allarey-David, Marissa De Guzman and Jay Layug ran for their second term as members of the board and won handily. David received 57 votes, De Guzman, 55, and Layug, 54.
PIDCI legal counsel, Manny Quintal, administered their oath of office. He noted that the Election Committee should not have counted two marked ballots. “But you are all winners,” he said. Although it was a “no-contest” election, the Comelec decided to have member organizations cast their ballots and counted as required by PIDCI bylaws. PIDCI opened the poll from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m; tabulation followed under the watchful eyes of Comelec members Myrna Young and Sofie Abad. Rely Manacay and Paul Versoza read the ballots.
Cris De Guzman, Comelec chair, thanked all those that came to the meeting. “I know that many of you have traveled far and have given up part of your weekend to participate in our election,” he said. “We very much appreciate your commitment.” He also acknowledged outgoing president Margie Wisotsky and the board members that planned, organized and coordinated the election meeting despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida.
“I know that many of you are still in the process of addressing major structural and personal damage caused by the storn, yet you are here to support,” De Guzman said.
PIDCI bylaws require that the 14-member board of directors convene to elect the organization’s vice president, secretary, and treasure within ten days after the election. The president will announce their committee assignments in preparation for the commemoration of the Philippine Independence Day on the first Sunday of June 2022. The board will also discuss the search for a 2022 grand marshal.