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JERSEY CITY, NJ – At a Turnover Ceremony held at the Jersey City Council Chambers on Friday, January 12, the Philippine American Friendship Committee, Inc. (PAFCOM) welcomed its 2018 slate of officers, committee and board members, led by its President, Lito Pernia.

Pernia is the Controller for America’s premier civil rights organization – the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. for close to 30 years. A well-respected community leader, Pernia is the Executive Director of GC Rivera Foundation, a non-profit in New Jersey providing medical care to under-served Filipinos, and the only Filipino member of St. John the Evangelist Church Pastoral Council in Bergenfield, NJ. Pernia has led an impressive list of organizations, including Friends Indeed USA and National Federation of Filipino American Association - Region I.

“It’s an honor to lead a pioneering community organization that unites and elevates the Filipino community in New Jersey and across the Northeast,” said Pernia. “This year’s parade and festival, and the year-long festivities, will be bigger and will reach across the Filipino diaspora and America’s diversity.”

PAFCOM’s 2018 Grand Marshal is New Jersey’s top Filipino American political trailblazer and recently re-elected Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, who was the Council At-Large top vote getter, garnering over 20,000 votes. Lavarro previously served as Director of Constituent Services for NJ State Senator Bob Gordon, and was Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs at New Jersey City University. Bergenfield Councilman Buddy Deauna and Eleanor De Leon, First Lady of Consul General Mario De Leon, were announced as Honorary Grand Marshals. Lavarro will unveil an additional line-up of Honorary Grand Marshals to reflect Jersey City’s diverse communities in the coming weeks.

“PAFCOM and the Filipino community has a rich history in Jersey City,” said Lavarro. “This year’s parade will celebrate Jersey City’s diversity and reaffirm our city as a home for equity, progress, and opportunities for all communities. I am looking forward to another amazing parade and festival from PAFCOM and invite everyone to join the festivities.”

PAFCOM will hold its 28th Grand Parade and Festival on Sunday, June 24, at Lincoln Park in Jersey City. The Grand Marshal Night will take place on Saturday, April 7, at the Atrium at the Harborside Financial Center in Jersey City. The Friendship Night and Coronation Ball will be on Sunday, May 20, at Marriott Hotel in Newark. PAFCOM’s 2018 Grand Parade and Festival is sponsored by Mack-Cali.

Consul General Tess De Vega administered the oath of office for Pernia and his officers -- Linda Rupel - President-Elect; Lea Frain – Secretary; Perla Candelaria – Treasurer; Lita Roxas – Asst. Treasurer; Pilar Monje – Auditor; Veronica Lavarro - Press Relations Officer – along with an entire group board or trustees and committee chairs.

You can find more information and updates about PAFCOM on its website – – and on Facebook (@pafcomnj), Twitter and Instagram (@pafcom_nj).

From L-R: Lito Pernia (2018 PAFCOM President), Rose Javier (2017 Outgoing President), Consul General Tess De Vega, Bergenfield Councilman Buddy Deauna (Honorary Grand Marshal), Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro (2018 PAFCOM Grand Marshal), Eleanor De Leon (Honorary Grand Marshal), Former Consul General Mario De Leon, Lea and Don Frain (2017 PAFCOM Grand Marshals)

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