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Alameda City Mayor Marie Gilmore (2R) and Consuls Reggie Bernabe (4R) and Reichel Quiñones (3R) are flanked by the city council members on the steps of Alameda's historic City Hall. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Em Angeles)

For the second year running, the city of Alameda joined the Filipino-American community in the Bay Area in their month-long celebration of the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, kicking off the festivities with a flag-raising ceremony held at Alameda’s historic City Hall, which has been standing since 1896.

Alameda’s mayor, Marie Gilmore, addressed the audience, saying that she looked forward to events like these because they represented the growing diversity and sense of community that could be found in the city. As the first African-American woman to ever be elected mayor, Mayor Gilmore emphasized that celebrations such as the flag-raising represented a community where diversity was not only accepted, but incorporated into the fabric of its development.

Also present were Hon. Rob Bonta, Alameda’s former vice mayor and currently the first Filipino-American to serve in the California State Assembly; Vice Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft; Council Members Stewart Chen, Tony Daysog, and Lena Tam; and Herna Cruz-Louie, Executive Director of the American Center of Philippine Arts.

Consul Bernabe addresses the audience as a color guard from the Knights of Columbus hold the flags of the United States and the Philippines aloft. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Em Angeles)

Consul Reggie Bernabe, representing the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, thanked Alameda for joining the annual celebration, and urged the Filipino-American community to take Mayor Gilmore’s  encouragement to build diversity to heart. “Democracy is a participative process,” he emphasized. “[The Filipino-American community] has the numbers, but it is up to us to make those numbers count.”

The Philippine Consulate General is currently conducting overseas voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections in 2016. If you are a Filipino citizen who will be at least 18 years of age on May 1, 2016, you are eligible to register to vote! Registration is free, and may be done at the Consulate during its hours of business.

The Consulate will also be conducting on-site registration at the Kalayaan Celebration at Union Square in San Francisco on Saturday, June 21. Bring a photocopy of your valid Philippine passport’s data page or Oath of Allegiance to register! Forms will be made available at the Consulate’s booth, located on the Stockton side of Union Square.

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