New York State Assembly adopts resolution to proclaim June12th as Philippine Independence Day

For the second year, over a hundred Filipino Americans gathered at the New York State Capitol in Albany to celebrate the 126th Philippine Independence Day, showcasing the strong bonds between New York State and the Filipino community.

The New York State Assembly adopted a resolution urging Governor Hochul to proclaim June 12th, 2024, as Philippine Independence Day in New York State on Tuesday, June 4. Sponsored by Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski and cosponsored by Assemblymember Steven Raga, this resolution celebrates the rich heritage and vibrant culture of the Filipino community in New York.

“It is an honor to serve in the state legislature and be able to celebrate the rich heritage and vibrant culture of the Filipino community in New York State. This celebration is not just a commemoration of our history but also a testament to the enduring spirit and contributions of Filipinos in New York,” Assemblymember Raga said. “I am immensely proud to represent such a dynamic and resilient community, not only in Assembly District 30 but throughout the state. Together, we will continue to build bridges of understanding and collaboration, ensuring that everywhere we go–our voices are heard, and our presence is felt.”

For the second consecutive year, the Filipino community gathered at the New York State Capitol in Albany to commemorate Philippine Independence Day. Co-organized by Assemblymember Raga’s office and the Philippine Consulate General in New York, the event marked the 126th anniversary of Philippine independence and highlighted the strong bonds between New York State and the Filipino community.

Co-organized by Assemblymember Raga’s office and the Philippine Consulate General in New York, the event celebrated the 126th Philippine Independence Day, highlighting the strong bonds between New York State and the Filipino community.
Contributed/Office of Asm. Steven Raga

The day began with a floor introduction in the Assembly Chamber, where Assemblymember Raga, the first Filipino and Southeast Asian American elected to office in New York, introduced the Filipino American community. He acknowledged the presence of Consul General Senen Mangalile, special guests, and a delegation from the Philippine province of Misamis Oriental, including their Kuyamis Festival dancers.

“As we gather for the second year at the state capitol to commemorate the 126th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, the historic halls of the Legislative Office Building again bear witness to the strong bonds between the Filipino community and the great state of New York,” said Consul General Senen Mangalile.

“We celebrate under the theme ‘Kalayaan. Kinabukasan. Kasaysayan.’ – ‘Freedom. Future. History.’ – which echoes the spirit of the Katipunan, whose bravery and patriotism laid the foundation for the freedom the Philippines now enjoys. I call on the Filipino community in New York to draw inspiration from the Katipunan’s courage as we work together to build a prosperous and united future for a Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines).

Following the floor introduction, a brief meeting with Assembly Deputy Speaker Philip Ramos took place. Deputy Speaker Ramos shared his admiration for the Filipino community and discussed the potential of sending a New York State legislative delegation to the Philippines to explore mutual opportunities. He also proposed forming a task force to address labor market opportunities between the Philippines and New York State.

The celebration continued with a vibrant cultural program at the Legislative Office Building’s Well. The program featured performances by Filipino American community members, including singers Azia Sky Barao, Carla Mongado, Luz Sanchez, and Raffy Tragico from the band Brown Sugar. The Kuyamis Festival dancers from Misamis Oriental also performed, and attendees enjoyed Filipino cuisine prepared by Kusina Resto, a local Albany caterer.

Prominent community leaders emphasized the significance of the event. Sol Kapunan, President of Kalayaan 1521 Council Inc., spoke about the importance of keeping the “Filipino Voice” alive in the State Legislature.

“Two short days ago, we saw the streets of Manhattan fill up with signs, colors, sounds, and dancing. Yes, it was a testament to the Filipino People’s indefatigable spirit. But today, the Filipinos are bringing it inside the halls of the New York State Legislature: Different venues, but nonetheless, the same spirit,” Kapunan said. “The difference, I suppose, is that the celebration here at the State Capitol is our determined attempt to lift our collected efforts to rally behind our very own Assemblymember Steven Raga who incessantly continues to champion the Filipino Cause at the State Legislature.”

“Words might not be enough to show how important this event is, but today we are sending a clear message that our celebration of the 126 years of the Declaration of Philippine Independence is our determined efforts to keep the ‘Filipino Voice’ alive and kicking in these halls and beyond. Ultimately, Kalayaan 1521 Council believes that as we continue to show the world that we can unite and rally behind a common cause to support each other, then it becomes evident that Filipinos have the ability to align and make each other stronger,” he added.

The program also featured greeting messages from several state legislators, including Deputy Speaker Philip Ramos, the New York State Asian Pacific American Task Force Co-Chair Zohran Mamdani, and Assemblymembers Harvey Epstein, Emily Gallagher, and Jenifer Rajkumar. Deputy Director of Asian American Affairs Sibu Nair from the Office of New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and Director of Asian American Affairs Adam Chen of the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James also delivered messages of support, on behalf of their principals. (Momar G. Visaya/AJPress)n

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

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