Thursday, June 18, 2009

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


Driven by a need to put more pressure to U.S. Congress to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill initiated by Senators McCain and Kennedy some years ago, I bought the idea of Art Zamora, the leading Filipino visual artist now based in the United States. He believed the emblem of a passenger jumbo jet hoisted by a parade float, to participate in the 2009 Philippine Independence Parade in Manhattan, would be just right to fit into the celebration theme: Filipino American as a modern day hero.

American history tells us that the persecuted pilgrims of old came to America via a sailboat they called Mayflower in search of freedom and a better life in the New World.

Now Filipino Americans came to New York by air and landed at JFK Airport also in quest of freedom and hope for the American Dream. We are the modern-day pilgrims and hero given the millions and millions of dollars we remit to the Filipino people every year.

After a meeting of the minds of the float designer, Art Zamora, and the builder, former Philippine military officer Romuel Aguila, I confirmed to the parade officials that my float was ready to go for the June 7th parade.

To highlight the purpose of the float’s emblem, David Temprante, a professional sign maker, wrapped several streamers urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Immigration Reform bill this year. Nap, a Filipino CPA waiting for the bill, was assigned to drive the float.

It’s too sad to say that my fellow Republicans killed the bill last year. They also killed my political ambition to represent New York in the Washington Capitol. I am now tempted to switch parties if the Democratic Congress would pass the bill very soon. It’s long overdue.

Anyway, I think most of the spectators got the message of the parade float and hopefully this will reverberate in the mainstream media and several political forums.

And to add luster to my cause-oriented float, my granddaughter, Sophia Raffaella, proudly and joyfully rode on the front bearing her 2008 beauty title as Little Miss Ilocana. Being a third generation American born to my son, Jason who is a Giorgio Armani executive and his doctor-wife Mariliz who competed for Miss America in 1994, she did enjoy her majestic ride unmindful of the political message.


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