Manny Quintal, PIDCI legal counsel, administering the oath of office to PIDCI President Margie Wisotsky and the incoming members of the Board of Directors | Photo Kim Mende Itskov
NEW YORK – For the second year in a row, the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. held its annual business and elections meeting without any hitch, controversy, and opposition to the eight candidates declared official candidates by the Elections Committee chaired by Nora Galleros.
The organization could have just declared them elected with one unanimous vote cast. Instead, PIDCI went through the process following its by-laws, with 43 delegates from member-organizations casting a ballot for each candidate to elect a president and seven board directors.
“It was kind of weird,” said an observer who came for the first time, “with no opposition and yet wasting their time tallying all ballots cast.” A ‘PIDCI-regular,’ when asked to comment on this, said, “They followed the by-laws, and perhaps, the board would consider an amendment to address an instance like this in the future.”
As expected, Margie Wisotsky was unanimously elected president with 43 votes. For directors, Sofia Abad, Nora Koltsidis, Linda Limcaco, and Myrna Young garnered the same ballots as Wisotsky’s. Former board director, Matt Reyes had 42 votes followed by newcomers Arman David, 41, and Maryanne Garbolingo-Milyo, 40. Koltsidis, Limcaco, and Young ran for another term.
Wisotsky thanked everyone for their support now that she is officially PIDCI’s 2020 president. “I couldn’t have achieved this without everyone’s prayers, care and sponsorship. I will fulfill my obligations to the best of my abilities. Thank you very much and God bless! I look forward to a very good year. Mabuhay ang PIDCI.“
Wisotsky will serve the presidency for one year; on the other hand, the newly elected board members have two years before their term expires.
For his part, Kerwin Tate, Acting Head of Post of the Philippine Consulate General New York, congratulated the outgoing officers and thanked them for their efforts in preserving the traditions of the Filipino community in the US Northeast. He also expressed his best wishes for the election and the incoming officers for the coming term.
Some members of the Association of Filipino American Accountants-New Jersey (AFAA) volunteered to tally the votes. Instead of the manual method -using a whiteboard, the accountants utilized a spreadsheet software projected on a screen to show the votes cast’s progress.
“I thought it went very well despite the pandemic,” Galleros told the Philippine Daily Mirror. She said 85 member organizations were eligible to vote; 43 ballots were cast, including six proxies.
Nine new member organizations, she said, were accepted this year but were not allowed to vote under its rules; namely: Jose P. Rizal Int’ l Foundation Middlesex County, Jose P. Rizal Foundation Passaic County, Polilio Quezon and Friends, RAM Guardians Inc. Alakdan New York, Caloocan High School, Circulo Masantolinio, PYBJPR-Passaic Youth Basketball for Jose P. Rizal, Filipino Social Club NY Inc., and Filipino American Community of St. Anthony (FACSA). Included in this list is an organization whose membership renewal fee was received late.
As usual, before the elections, each candidate was given a few minutes to introduce themselves and share their vision of PIDCI with their involvement. Arman David, a nurse by profession, delivered a speech that touched the emotion of the audience. He said: “I am running as a director this year to continue serving our Filipino community and ensuring we sustain the established traditions and cultural experiences provided by PIDCI since 1990. As a father of 5, it is important to me to have my children appreciate our Filipino heritage and culture.”
David has been volunteering for six years in one or two of its committees. “Each year brings new educational yet fun experiences to our kids. They love joining the parade and proudly wear their barong while waving the Philippine Flag,” he said.
His supporters, mostly from Junior Chamber International (JCI) organizations like JCI-Philippine New York, represented by its president, Ann Constantino-Beck, and JCI-Queens, represented by vice president Lawreen Borneo-Egerton came. His wife, Joyce Andes-David, a current national vice president of JCI-USA, JCI-New York state president Aprille Aquino, and JCI New Jersey state president Steve Van Derodar were also in attendance.
Dr. Francia de Vera, Grand Marshal, and John de Soto, Honorary Grand Marshal., also attended. Usually, the incoming president convenes a meeting to elect a new set of officers and their committee assignments to start their administration. In all, there are 14 board members and a president that comprised the governing body.
Since 1990, PIDCI has been organizing the annual commemoration of the Philippine Independence day in New York City on the first Sunday of June. Considered the largest among Philippine Independence celebrations in the United States, attracting over 100,000 people. However, this year, because of COVID-19, all outdoor celebrations involving a large gathering of people were cancelled.
Manuel Quintal, Esq., PIDCI legal counsel, administered their oath of office.