Words and photos by Dionesio C. Grava
First posted in : pinoywatchdog.com
Words shrinkwrapped into a magic mantra that could very well make most of the estimated eight-to-eleven million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) feel good of themselves. Political talking heads well aware of the huge remittances — it reached $20 billion last year – and the majestic votes of those in the Diaspora have made it a habit to mouth the grandiose claim every time the opportunity presents itself. Perhaps the “bayani” word could also be a balm to soothe those heavy with the mental baggage of having abandoned the family and everything dear to their hearts in the pursuit of the proverbial greener pastures in foreign shores.
Philippine Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, quintessential politician that he is, was no exception. In a speech delivered during the 114th Philippine Independence Day Gala Night held at the Hilton Hotel near the Los Angeles Airport, the self-proclaimed 2016 presidential bet exalted the greatness and sacrifices of the heroes in the homeland’s history and at the same time thanked and commended the heroes of today, the OFWs. “Kayo ang mga bagong bayani,” he grandly proclaimed. If so he, in his capacity as vice president and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, could have done much more to lessen the injustices and neglect that many of our countrymen continue to suffer in their efforts to make life better for them and their children.
The event was one of many that Filipinos in the Los Angeles and nearby areas have calendared for this month in commemoration of that day in our nation’s epoch when our people were set free from foreign domination. Even as the June 2 gala of the Philippine Independence Coordinating Council of Southern California (PICCSC) was in progress, couturier Boy Lizaso had also his 4th Annual Kayamanan ng Bayan at the CBS Studio in Studio City. It was billed as a Philippine Independence Day related celebration.
On June 9, Kalayaan Inc. will celebrate their version of the 114th Anniversary of Philippine Independence with a grand ball at the Marriott South Bay Hotel in the city of Torrance (3635 Fashion Way, Torrance, CA 90503). President of the organization is Antero Pagunsan.
In nearby Carson on that same date a whole-day celebration of Philippine independence will be held at the city’s Veterans Park (22400 South Moneta Avenue , Carson, CA 90745). The event is being presented by the Philippine Independence Day Foundation (PIDF). The celebration starts at 8 am featuring a trade and health fair with booths featuring foods, goods and services. There will also be an entertainment extravaganza.
Like celebrants in Carson, Filipinos and friends located in the area embraced by Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles will also enjoy a fee-free celebration of Independence Day. They will congregate at the Temple Street compound of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) to toast the significance of the occasion. Celebration will start at noon on June 13, according to the president of the organization Austin Baul.
The Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE) has also extended an invitation to everyone to participate in a free celebration on June 15 starting at 10 am. It will be held in the L.A. City Council Chamber located at 200 North Spring in L.A. The organization is headed by Cora Aragon Soriano.
As usual with Filipino events the PICCSC celebration mentioned at the early part of this article started late and the guest speaker came in much more late in the evening. There was a grand entrance march of notables, a parade of colors, the usual singing of the Philippine and U.S. national anthems, an impressive invocation in Tagalog by Rev. Fr. Camilo Pacanza, associate pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Marcy Church, and then some songs and our golden folk dances to delight the crowd.
Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu took over the slot originally allotted to Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon. He interpreted the theme “Kalayaan: Pananagutan ng bayan para tuwid na daan.” Congen Aragon’s welcome remarks were delivered later in the program.
Members of the PICCSC executive committee were sworn into office by the guest speaker Jojo Binay. He in turn was bestowed a recognition award together with the outgoing consul general. The members of the executive committee: Darna Umayam, Cely Anuran, Emmie Liquigan, Trini Foliente, Councilman Elito M. Santarina, Dr. Reynaldo Landero, Dr. Carlos P. Manlapaz, Jojit Paredes, Atty. Jun Paredes, Lini Teal, Cora A. Soriano, Zeny Zoleta, Atty. Noriel Flores, Atty. Mariano Alvarez, Atty. Meynard Agoncillo, Aida Arceo, Nestor Balila, Larry Calonzo, Thor Causing, Mildred Deang, Bert Frias, Bernie Ganon, Architect Fernandico Gonong, Lucita Hakes, Edith Knoch, Dr. Felix Lapuz, Adrian Lecaros, Atty. Abraham Lim, Sylvia Molina, Linda Nery, Gloria Resurreccion, Atty. Norberto Reyes III, Carmelita Rivera, Gloria Rull, Benel Se Liban and Rommel Valarao.
About the observance of our country’s Independence Day, here’s something I read somewhere: “Magiging lubos na malaya lamang ang mga Pinoy kung ang mahigit 70 porsiyentong populasyon ng mga mahihirap na Pilipino ay makahuhulagpos sa tanikala ng kahirapan.”