VP Binay Graces 2011 Independence Day Parade in New York

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VPBinay-IndepNY09 June 2011 - The Philippine Consulate General in New York reported that Vice President Jejomar Binay honored the Filipino community in the Northeast USA by his presence at the celebration of the 113th Anniversary of Philippine Independence this 2011.

The Vice President was on hand during all the main festivities held on June 5,  beginning with a flag raising ceremony at the Philippine Center in the morning, followed by a celebration of the Mass at Kalayaan Hall and the grand parade down Madison Avenue.

The parade was kicked-off by a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, led by Vice President Binay, assisted by Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia, Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr., Permanent Representative to the United Nations Libran Cabactulan, Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. (PIDCI) President Joji Jalandoni, Philippine Independence Day Parade Chairs Fe Martinez and Ben Santos, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of, Grand Marshals Nick and Editha Libramonte, the official delegation of the Vice President and Board Members and directors of PIDCI 2011.

The parade has been held since 1990, initiated first by the Consulate General, until the PIDCI was incorporated in 2003 who also serves as the Honorary Adviser.

Colorful floats, costumes and the award-winning Dinagyang Festival company added a festive atmosphere to the whole event.

Estimates place the number of people lining the Parade route at 50,000, rising to about 100,000 at the Street Fair and Cultural show - the largest in the Parade's 21-year history.

Consul General de Leon was moved to say that "this is said to be the biggest celebration of Philippine Independence outside of the Philippines - seeing this sea of enthusiastic Filipino faces in the heart of Manhattan, truly warms the heart and makes you proud to be a Filipino".

"This is my first parade in New York as Consul General, and I am glad that Vice President Jejomar Binay, Ambassador Jose Cuisia, and all the members of the official delegation are able to join me in this truly heartwarming display of Filipino culture and pride.  It gives me hope that we can live-up to this year's theme: "Bagong Katipunan, Bagong Diwa, Bagong Bayan".  With a renewed sense of brotherhood, a national spirit, we really can build a new Philippines," he added.

At the Street Fair, Vice President Binay who also serves as head of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), head of the Task Force OFW and Presidential Adviser of OFW concerns, encouraged Filipinos everywhere to take part in cultivating a stronger sense of nationhood - to build a seamless Filipino community around the world.

He encouraged Filipinos everywhere to "show the world that we care deeply for one another and try to lift one's burden in the spririt of Bayanihan. None of us are called to live mediocre lives we are all called to be heroes."

The Vice President went on to say that the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is serious about transforming the country by following a righteous path, "Ang Daang Matuwid" and he strongly enjoins everyone to do their part in this noble effort.

The Vice President and his delegation, which includes former Senator Francisco S. Tatad (Counsel on International Affairs), former Congressman Jose Apolinario L. Lozada, Jr. (Consultant on Foreign Affairs), Atty. Darlene Marie Berberabe (President and CEO of PAG-Ibig, HDMF), Ms. Leonora Vasquez-De Jesus (Consultant), Prof. Tomas Lopez (Trustee and President of University of Makati), and Atty. Mario Oreta (President - Alphaland), are scheduled to attend the International Housing Program Finance Course in Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, in support of the Vice President's mandate to improve the programs of the HUDCC to serve Filipinos better.  END