November 9, 2020
Thoughtleaders: PID & Bayanihan Organizing Committee
No other Filipino group in the UAE spells ‘togetherness’ in the community on a scale as enormous as the PID (Philippine Independence Day) & Bayanihan Organizing Committee can muster.
In 2019, the committee under the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and Northern Emirates, spearheaded by community leaders Josie Conlu (Chairman), Jason Roi Bucton (Vice-Chairman) and Lance Japor (Communication Head), have managed to pull off the largest Filipino celebration in the history of the UAE, attended by some 50,000 community members during the PID celebrations.
Building ties and spreading joy and camaraderie through the two main celebratory occasions for the Filipinos in the UAE – PID as well as Christmas season, the group has also widened their outreach with unique events like ‘Inday’s Day Out’ and ‘Break ni Kuya’ (targeted to household workers and low-income Filipino), ‘Pagdulog’ (an iftar celebration with the Muslim community), as well as various medical missions and the Kalayaan Job Fair.
According to Jason, “We want every Filipino in Dubai and the Northern Emirates to feel that ‘they belong.’ Reaching out to new communities and giving importance to their presence by giving them a part of the celebration – that is our contribution.” He adds, “I always say that Filipinos have created the Philippines in this country. We have that sense of seclusion, isolation comparable to unjoined islands. But looking at the bigger picture, we can actually unite from barangays to cities, to regions, to form one nation. We are one. Iisa tayo.”
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