By Lydia V. Solis
Chief Correspondent, Southern California
Kalayaan 2013 strives to 'bring faith, family values, and the bayanihan spirit to build a better Filipino community.’ 
LOS ANGELES - The newly-structured Filipino American Youth Organization coordinated by Deputy Consul General Dan Espiritu is the latest addition to a long list of associations supporting the Philippine Consulate General in its month-long celebration of the 115th anniversary of Philippine Independence in June. 
Headed by Mia McLeod as chairperson, other members of the youth group are: secretary Berwyn Salazar, treasurer Pam Ireneo, auditor Lorenzo Moran; members Miko Letargo, Steve Angeles, Leonard Mercado, Elgin Zulueta, John Mina, Krizia Medenilla, Andrea Edoria, and Kervin Tieu.
The Independence Day theme, according to Romy Baylon, president of the Overseas Filipinos for Good Governance: “Bringing our faith, family values, and the Bayanihan spirit to build a better Filipino community.” (There is an official theme from the Philippines which is usually announced in May.) 
During the April 5 community meeting at the consulate, which exceeded expectations attendance-wise, Consul General Barber de la Vega laid out plans for Freedom Day celebrations in June. The community also heard from her deputy, DOT director Annie Cuevas-Lim, Baylon, and Art Garcia of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles. 
On June 8, festivities will start at 8:30 a.m. with a parade of FilAm umbrella, regional, youth and health care organizations; hometown, professional and alumni associations; and community service and cultural groups. Businesses can advertise their products or services. 
Parade starts and ends at FACLA, 1740 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, Calif., where Santacruzan will be staged. Those who want to join as sagalas and consortes may contact Bernie Ganon at (213) 484-1527. Deadline to sign up is May 30. 
Cecile Ramos, president of the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council, will coordinate Parada ng mga Parol. Both Garcia and Ramos head the parade committee. 
Participating organizations will have booths set up, including food outlets, at the parking lot of the Silverlake Medical Center, across FACLA. In charge are Espiritu and Zeny Sabocor, chair of the United Bicolandia, Los Angeles. Cost to rent a 10x10 booth is $150, which includes a table and two chairs
“Alumni associations, for example” said de la Vega, “could show the best tradition of their schools, what their schools are famous for and showcase their famous alumni.” 
American Red Cross will tend the First Aid booth with University of the Philippines doctors and Philippine Nurses Association of Southern California as volunteers. 
By 11 a.m., a cultural program, chaired by Cuevas-Lim will entertain guests till 4 p.m. at the medical center parking lot. The program, according to her, will start with presentation of proclamations or certificates from government officials of various counties in Southern California, followed by a musical extravaganza. 
Barber de la Vega has invited L. A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charles Beck, and both of them have indicated attendance in support of the occasion. 
Villaraigosa, whose term ends in June, after serving eight years in the second largest city, told the consul general that of all ethnic communities, “the Filipino community has always been there to support me,” and to show his gratitude to the Filipinos, there could be a big possibility he would show up on June 8. 
In charge of security are the Rampart Police Station and the Filipino American Law Enforcement Officers, headed by Christian Buado. 
Other activities planned in June are: Wreath-laying at the monument of Dr. Jose P. Rizal in the City of Carson on June 12. That same evening, Barber de la Vega will host the Vin d’honneur at their Hancock Park residence. 
On June 15, Kalayaan Incorporated will host the 115th anniversary of Philippine Independence with a grand ball at the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel. Chairperson this year is Techie Emperador-Quiatchon, past president of the Calamba Association of Southern California; and Bing de la Vega, president of Philippine (emergency) Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO), co-chairs. 
On June 19, Sentro Rizal will be unveiled at the Philippine Consulate General. 
“Let us show the best of the Filipino,” said Barber de la Vega, “so they can understand how important our ethnic community is in shaping the fabric of American society. We can show other ethnic groups that Filipinos can be positive agents of change in California,” home of the biggest Asian ethnic group. 
On March 30, Consul General Barber-de la Vega inducted Kalayaan officers which include, besides Quiatchon and de la Vega: Archerie Calunod, secretary; Zeny P. Sabocor, asst. secretary; Virginia B. Vivas, Treasurer; Carmelita Paule, asst. treasurer; Josie E. de Jesus, auditor; and Perfecto ‘Marte’ Tobias, asst. auditor. Board of Directors are: Evelyn Andamo, Naomi Palma-Armada, Manuel Baculi, M.D., Lolita F. Bandong, Thelma Calabio, Sonny Costa, Susan Dilkes, James Dullas, Rene Galano, Willie Manacsa, Mon‘chito’ G. Mandap, 2004 chair; and Antero Pagunsan, 2012 chair. Advisers are: Ed Acuna, Myrna Baculi, and DOT director Annie Cuevas-Lim. The following had served as chairpersons of Freedom Day and are supportive ex-officio officers: Betty Bael, 2001; Lucy Babaran, 2005; Lydia Soriano, 2007; Noel SV Omega, 2008; Gil Mislang, 2010; and Leo Maranan, 2011. 


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