By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Burea
Posted at 06/12/2015 1:02 PM
NEW YORK CITY – The Philippine Independence Day Parade in New York featured a full line-up of top officials from the Philippines.
Filipino dignitaries and politicians went to the 25th Annual Philippine Independence Day parade in New York City, reputed to be the largest outdoor gathering of Filipinos outside the Philippines.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of the Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in greater New York a very happy independence day,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said while independence was achieved 117 years ago, many Filipinos are still fighting for a different kind of freedom.
“Maraming Pilipino made it big here, still dreaming, praying, working hard for the families sa Pilipinas. So true independence is yung kalayaan din sa kahirapan at yun din ang ginagawa ng mga kababayan natin dito,” Cayetano said.
Organizers said the parade’s theme is all about advocating for a better environment and climate change governance.
“Ito lang po ang nag-aalaga sa ating lahat–lupa, araw, hangin at tubig–at sa gitna ng lahat: tao,” said Neric Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection.
Even US Senator Chuck Schumer took the time to be among his Filipino constituents. Schumer is popular among Filipinos. He was the first among US officials to call for a temporary protected status for the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan.
“We love the Filipino community here in New York, very hardworking people, family-oriented people, nice people, part of the New York and the American dream, so we welcome them,” he said.
Local Filipino elected officials also joined Sunday’s 15 block Independence Day march on Madison Avenue.
“It’s a great feeling. All the Filipinos all over the New York state came here to celebrate the Philippine Independence day,” said Bergenfield councilman, Arvin Amatorio.
“So happy to be here, congratulations to everyone and happy Philippine Independence Day!” said Mahwah, New Jersey councilman Jonathan Wong.
Consul General Mario de Leon said the parade itself is a big testament to the success of Filipinos in the east coast.
“New York is the capital of the planet, so in other words, media is all looking at New York. So if the Filipinos are all here marching and you know this is a city that has a lot of marches, then the Filipino has arrived,” he said.