JERSEY CITY, NJ — With elections over and a time for celebration and revival in the offing, Victory Hall on Clendenny Avenue was abuzz Monday night, December 3 with community leaders and dignitaries who trooped to this place to witness the 2013 officers of the Philippine American Friendship Committee, Inc. take their oath of office.
Edwin Solano who was elected Overall Chairperson was formally inducted into office together with Cora Reyes, who will serve as Grand Marshal, and other officers. Solano was introduced by Asuncion “Seny” Lipat, who succeeded him in 1999 when he served in the same capacity in 1998.
In his speech, Solano said he wants to see the annual parade and festival in Jersey City, which is now in its 23rd year, to be larger, inclusive, and diverse. He added that all volunteers and participants should experience the annual community celebration with vivid memories and appreciation. He mentioned how this yearly event has shown a spotlight on the growing Filipino population in Jersey City and throughout the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area including the diversity, economic impact and other contributions that the community brings with it.
Solano is the owner of Topnotch Realty on West Side Avenue.
At the same time, Cora Reyes, a long time nursing professional and well-respected community leader, was presented as PAFCOM’s 2013 Grand Marshal. Gerry Austria, American Pinoy owner and former PAFCOM Grand Marshal, introduced her.
Reyes is the Unit Nurse Manager and Human Resources Officer for the Health Services department of JP Morgan Chase, which recognized her this year with the 30-Years Service Award. She also serves as Chief Coordinator for Bulacan Medical and Food Missions and President of Friends Indeed, USA Inc. She was the Overall Chairperson of the Philippine Independence Day Committee in 1999-2000.
Deputy Consul General Tess De Vega praised Reyes for her accomplishments and service to the community. She said Reyes was PAFCOM’s apparent choice as its 2013 Grand Marshal and wished PAFCOM a successful year ahead.
In addition to the Deputy Consul General, political dignitaries from Jersey City were in attendance: Freeholder Bill O’Dea, Freeholder Anthony Romano, Councilwoman Nidia Lopez of Ward C, newly elected Councilwoman Diane Coleman of Ward F, Councilwoman-at-Large Viola Richardson, 2013 mayoral candidate and current Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop, and the community’s own Councilman-At-Large Rolando Lavarro, who is running for re-election in 2013 with Fulop.
Besides Solano and Reyes, the following officers also took their oath of office: Helen Castillo, Executive Secretary; Carol Corrales, Recording Secretary; Ellen Alonzo, Corresponding Secretary; Ledy Almadin, Treasurer; Angelita Roxas, Assistant Treasurer; Sonny Austria, PRO; Luis Morales, Auditor; Rebecca Cooney, Assistant Auditor;
Gani Puertollano, Chair, Special Events; Luchie Vivas, Chair, Grand Marshal Night; May Durano, Chair, Grand Ball and Coronation Night; Mario Garcia and Joel Flores, Chairs, Parade; Maureen Javier, Varco/Rose Javier, Chairs, Festival; Sonny Austria/Mila Simba, Chairs, Booth and Exhibit;
Mario Garcia/Jun Espiritu, Chairs, Golf; Merit Salud/JT Mallonga, Chairs, Legal; Gerry Austria, Technical Adviser; Ed Toloza, Governmental Affairs; Troi Santos, Website Manager; Rosita Merciades/Aurora Carbonell, Senior Coordinators; Augustus Salud, Jr., Youth Coordinator; and Jason Purino, Health and Sports Coordinator.
Attendees were treated to a Pinoy Merienda delectable feast sponsored by American Pinoy, Victory Hall I, Mayon Grill and desserts and pastries prepared by up-and-coming chef Marissa Lontoc.
2013 PAFCOM KEY LEADERS — Cora Reyes (Left), PAFCOM Grand Marshal and Edwin Solano, PAFCOM Overall Chair (Photo by Troi Santos)
“SO HELP ME GOD” — PAFCOM Officers take their oath of office. (Photo by Troi Santos)
COMMUNITY SERVICE — Audience listen to a speech given by a guest speaker. (Photo by Troi Santos)