Photo by Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images
Photo by Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

Fifty-two newly naturalized American citizens took their oath of allegiance to the United States flag during solemn ceremonies held last Feb. 19 at the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan (PACCM).

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) organized the ceremonies for the new citizens who originally came from 18 different countries. No one of the 52 citizens came from the Philippines.

The event was hosted by the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) headed by Chairperson Willie Dechavez. NaFFAA provided snacks for the oath takers.

Ryan Rosario
Ryan Rosario

Ryan Rosario, president of the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO), delivered the keynote speech. He welcomed the new citizens to the United States of America, saying they are no longer aliens.

Dechavez, who delivered the welcome remarks, briefed the audience about PACCM, describing it as the product of voluntary work by Filipino-Americans. He said this was the third time NaFFAA-Michigan was sponsoring a citizenship ceremony.

The guest speaker was Mick Dedvukaj, district director of USCIS. He also presented the candidates for naturalization.

The oath of allegiance was administered by US District Judge Terrence G. Berg, who also presented the citizenship certificates to the new citizens.

The pledge of allegiance was administered by Douglas Pierce of USCIS.

The master of ceremonies was Filipino-American Alfred Ongcapin, supervisor at the USCIS office in Detroit.

It was noted that those who participated in the program were all immigrants or children of immigrants.

After the ceremony, snacks and refreshment, courtesy of NaFFAA-Michigan, were served to the new citizens.

The NaFFAA-Michigan volunteers who assisted the USCIS at the event were Nieves McRoberts, Fe San Agustin, Sofy Boyle and Gene Derayunan.