Of PIDCI candidates for president, 1 supports investigation into missing funds

Retired school teacher Olivia David: ‘It’s about time.’ Facebook photo

Retired school teacher Olivia David: ‘It’s about time.’ Facebook photo

By Cristina DC Pastor

Two community leaders have confirmed their candidacies for president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), the organization that mounts the flamboyant Independence Day Parade held yearly on Madison Avenue.

They are retired public school teacher Olivia David and media and public relations practitioner Tambi Wycoco. Long-time PIDCI officer Antero Martinez is rumored to be the third candidate but has not replied to The FilAm’s emails seeking his comments.

“Yes, I am running for the PIDCI presidency,” confirmed David to The FilAm. “It’s about time.”

Wycoco announced his candidacy in a press statement. He said he is running under the slogan: “Together let’s make PIDCI great again!”

David said she has a strong team comprising long-time PIDCI stalwarts and young leaders who have proved themselves capable of running an organization. She said she supports an investigation into PIDCI funds reported missing in the early part of the year.

Media and public relations practitioner Tambi Wycoco: ‘Make PIDCI great again.’

Media and public relations practitioner Tambi Wycoco: ‘Make PIDCI great again.’

The FilAm broke the news in March, the amount believed to be about $200,000. There is growing pressure from many in the community, including former PIDCI leaders, demanding answers on who should be accountable.

“The money must be returned,” David told The FilAm. “It’s money that PIDCI could use for its projects.”

Treasurer Violet Manarang-McGough has resigned citing “health reasons.” She was PIDCI’s treasurer for three years under former president Fe Martinez and one year under current president Prospero Lim until she stepped down in March.

David said an investigation is actually in progress involving private auditors and accountants. “These are independent, not PIDCI, auditors and accountants,” she said. She added that an investigation of this nature will probably take a long time.

The other candidate, Wycoco, said there is no need to call for an investigation because “all that is in the past.” What he would do as president is to put safeguards in place so that misuse of PIDCI money would not happen again.

Wycoco said, these incidents happen every so often with PIDCI because there’s a lot of donations and contributions coming into the organization. “Maybe the temptation was so great,” he said.

As a recipient organization, David said PIDCI has also contributed generously to charity. She cited $1.3 million and one container van of dry goods donated to typhoon victims in the Philippines.

David said she has submitted her lineup of candidates for board members together with their certificates of candidacy. They include Judge Victor Sison, Liza Galon, Menchie Pulido, Sofia Abad, Aida Gamolo, Rely Manacay, Stevenson Van Derodar, and Ed Toloza. Dulce Barangan of the Ilocano American Association, Inc. is also being invited to join the ticket, but a technicality involving the organization is still being resolved.

David is a retired public school teacher, her career in education spanning 40 years. She was a teacher in the Philippines for three years, and taught Math & Science at the Mount Vernon Elementary School in Newark for 37 years.

“I came to the U.S. in 1968, in 1969 I got my teaching position at Mount Vernon,” she said. “I taught in only one school.”

Wycoco has served as Foreign Information Officer of the Foreign Information Council of the Philippine Government in New York. He named the candidates in his slate. They are: Art Diongon, who has served as vice president of PIDCI; Paul Verzosa, former president of the Federation of Philippine Societies in New Jersey; Robert Aguirre, who has served in a number of PIDCI committees; Ed Cabello, who is on the Board of Trustees of one of the largest Connecticut organizations, Foxxconn; Laura Garcia, president of the Silliman University Alumni Association of New York and New Jersey; and Rachell Bañez, president of the Marian Movement of Manhattan.

Hundreds of Filipino American organizations comprising PIDCI are the voters in the October elections. The Philippine Consulate General serves as the Honorary Adviser.

© 2017 The FilAm

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