Madonna U

“The impact we have on our youth will ultimately impact our collective future in ways we are not even aware of at this time.”

This salient point was stressed by Dr. Connie Tingson Gatuz, PhD, vice president for student affairs and mission integration at Madonna U, when she delivered the keynote speech during the celebration of Rizal Day last Dec. 16 at the Royalty House in Warren.

Rizal Day is an annual event hosted by the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO) to commemorate the heroism and virtues of Philippine National Hero Jose P. Rizal.

In talking about the impact of the present generation on the youth, Doctor Gatuz cited the example set by Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal. She noted that his work during his brief life (he was executed at age 35) has “a profound impact on us today.”

She asked, “How will the future generations look upon us in 2017 and what will they say we accomplished for the greater good?” She told present community leaders, “Let’s leave a legacy filled with inspiration, compassion and opportunity for the future.”

Doctor Gatuz, whose parents hailed from Negros Occidental, paid tribute to Rizal, saying that 156 years ago, he “walked the earth as an activist, journalist, poet and (medical) doctor as he also excelled in martial arts, fencing, sculpture, painting, teaching and anthropology, among other things. In these roles, he championed a love of learning, courage and compassion.”

She likewise noted that Rizal had described the youth as “the hope of our future.” She urged community leaders to “engage newer generations in ways that matter to them.”

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Before she delivered the keynote address, Gatuz administered the oath of office of the new FILAMCCO officers led by President Wilmar Suan.

Aside from Suan, the other officers sworn into office are Dr. Ernie Mac, MD, vice president; Maria Wolfinbarger, corresponding secretary; Simonette Podwoiski, recording secretary; Dina Keeling, treasurer; Myrna Mariano, assistant treasurer; Carmen Perez-Villanueva, auditor; Arcie Gemino, PRO; Bert Reginaldo, parliamentarian; and Ryan Rosario, immediate past president.

Also inducted into office were members of the board of directors – namely, Menchu Concepcion, Rosemarie Caoagas, Annabel DeBarr, Corazon Gabarda, Hilda Kittinger, Nina McCaulley, Tess Porcalla, Fe San Agustin, Leo Santiago, Carol Santiago, Flor Sitchon, Gina Solon, Ceasar Sumanting, Al Thompson and Becky Tungol.

In his inaugural speech, Suan, CPA, MST, CGMA, said, “Through the years, our community through FILAMCCO has fulfilled its objectives through the promotion of cultural awareness and understanding of Filipino values and culture as envisioned by its founder.”

He lauded “the outgoing officers for their dedication, hard work, promotion of camaraderie and cooperation within the community and the achievements of the organization.”

In his valedictory address, outgoing FILAMCCO president Rosario thanked all the officers, board members and countless community leaders for their collective effort to make FILAMCCO viable.

Rosario also said, “Going forward, it is clear to me that FILAMCCO will be in great hands under the leadership of incoming President Wilmar Suan, CPA, and Vic President Dr. Ernie Mac.

He thanked Myrna Mariano for her hard work as overall event committee chairperson as well as co-chairpersons Ceasar Sumanting and Annabel DeBarr.

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Rosario likewise handed over presidential awards to Tony Kho, Bert Reginaldo and Flor Sitchon for outstanding support for his administration of FILAMCCO.