NEW YORK – With the theme “Honoring Our Heroes, Inspiring Solidarity Among Us All,” the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) is poised to move on and raise Philippine flags along the streets of Madison Avenue in Manhattan to celebrate the 120th Commemoration of Philippine Independence on June 3, 2018.
At a community meeting held on Friday, Feb. 23, Ner Martinez, PIDCI president, announced Dr. Restituto N. Estacio of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, as this year’s Grand Marshal. In addition, former Consul General of New York, Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. is the Honorary Grand Marshal.
“Some people may be surprised why we have an Honorary Grand Marshal,” Martinez told the Philippine Daily Mirror, “but this is one of the ways we want to innovate. New ideas bring vision and synergy.”
Added Martinez: “As volunteers, we have to work at each other’s strengths, create positive change, move ahead beyond perceived weaknesses and deliver the best of our community and our country in a magnanimous way.”
Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega, in her remarks, said that the Consulate has always played a role with PIDCI and reiterated its support to the organization. She noted that the past several months have been a difficult period for PIDCI.
“This is a period of soul-searching — voices need to be heard and hopefully, challenges and issues are resolved in a fair and acceptable way that is acceptable to all,” she said.
Dizon-de Vega also announced that Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, will be the principal celebrant of the traditional Thanksgiving Mass that is held at the Consulate before the start of the parade on June 3.
PIDCI treasurer reported that as of October 2017, PIDCI incurred a net deficit of $22,148 and in terms of overall activities, it had more expenses than income resulting in a net loss of $6,585.
Other announcements made at the meeting include:
- Mrs. Kalayaan – April 22, 2018, at Moonachie, New Jersey
- Diwa ng Kalayaan – May 12, 2018, at Newark, New Jersey
- The Dinagyang and other dance groups from the Philippines have been invited again
- Grand Marshal Night – to be determined with Dr. Estacio
With regard to organizational changes, the PIDCI Board has considered:
- Changing the membership form
- Requiring use of email as one of the means of communication to members
- Amending bylaws to require organizations to submit a list of members (to ensure those proxy voters are members) and an ID with signature of person authorizing proxy
Dr. Estacio or “Dr. Restie” as he is fondly called by his friends, has a long list of personal and professional achievements.
He received his medical degree from Manila Central University and practiced Preventive Medicine. He served as medical director of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in South Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania Division until his retirement. He was married to the late Dr. Carmen A. Estacio who was an internist in the ICU of West Jersey Hospital Eastern Division in Voorhees, New Jersey. Their children are Emmanuel, Michael, and Annabelle.
Estacio was a founder of the prestigious Philippine Medical Association of America (PMMA) and the St. Augustine-Shrine of Sto. Nino de Cebu in America Philadelphia. He is the current Chapter Commander of the newly reactivated Knights of Rizal Chapter of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
He served as Commander of Veterans of Foreign War 1063 PA, and the American Legion-General Santos, New Jersey.
He was a Fellow – Internal Medicine at the New York University; a director of the Employees’ Health Clinic of Lincoln Hospital-Yeshiva University in Bronx, New York; a member of the American Philippine Physician Association and the American Medical Association.
The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) is an umbrella organization of Filipino American associations based on the East Coast. It is principally dedicated to promoting history, the cultural heritage and traditions of the Filipino people through the celebration of Philippine Independence Day.
The grand parade was launched in 1991 along Madison Avenue from 48th Street to 38th Street with the first time Grand Marshal, Lilia Clemente, and Broadway star Lea Salonga of Miss Saigon as Guest of Honor. Nilda Jaynal was the Overall Chairman and Consul General Rodolfo Arizala was the Honorary Overall Chairman, a title that was bestowed to future Consuls General.