Philippines “60th Grand Anniversary Celebration”
(Left photo) Guest
Speaker, Past JCI World President & Quezon City Mayor, Feliciano
"Sonny" Belmonte delivering his message during the 60th JCI Philippines
Anniversary (Right photo)
Mr. Jose Marie del Rosario ( son of the late Amb.
Ramon del Rosario Sr, JCI Phils. 1st National President & also
JCI World President) delivering his response. Looking on is NP Rip Lesaca and Mr. Arnie Vergel de Dios, son of JCI Phils. founder, the
late Artemio Verge de Dios. With him is his son Artie and wife Tina.
It was one starry night and a
perfect evening, the streets’ white lights speckled the trees, there
was chill in the air just enough to hasten the occasional jitters of
what was to come. The roar of vehicles in the streets leading to the
Manila Polo Club resonated auspiciously to the cacophony of what was
to come. Excitement and anticipation were palpable from those who
converged for this grandiose event.
October 18, 2008 provided another
important milestone in the history of JCI Philippines – formerly known
as Philippine Jaycees – for the grand celebration of its “Diamond
Anniversary Homecoming.” This date was chosen to almost coincide with
the birth date of its founder, the late Artemio Vergel de Dios, to
make it more memorable (actually, his birthday was on October 20). The
“Grand Anniversary Celebration and Homecoming” was to commemorate the
60th year of existence of JCI Philippines, a red-letter day
in the annals of its rich history, and the organizers left no stone
unturned to make it truly worthwhile.
The affair was attended by more two hundred and
fifty individuals – most of them former and current national officers
– where the occasion also served to pay respects to the 60 National
Presidents who made up the leadership of JCI Philippines. The evening
also sought to memorialize the two pillars of JCI Philippines – the
late Artemio Vergel de Dios, the acknowledged founder of the JCI
movement in the Philippines, and the late Ambassador Ramon del Rosario
Sr., the national organization’s charter president. In addition, the
organizers aimed to recognize the first twelve charter local
organizations in 1948, which formed the seed in what was to become JCI
Philippines. The occasion was not just to salute men who occupied the
helm but, more importantly, to remember the milestones that JCI
Philippines have made over six decades.
More than anything else, the
gathering served as a reunion for all national officers to honor their
meritorious services to the organization. Those who attended were past
and present national officers coming from all over the country – from
the northernmost tip of the Babuyan Islands to as far south as
Zamboanga and Basilan provinces.
It was 60 years ago, when the organization was
conceived amidst the ravages of the Second World War, made possible by
the curiosity of Artemio Vergel de Dios, who as a young man, read
about the exploits of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in the
October 1946 issue of PIC Magazine and wrote the U.S. Jaycees to
inquire how a similar organization could be established in the
Philippines. It was here that the first JCI chapter in Asia – the
Manila Jaycees – was born on December 20, 1947. On March 10, 1948
delegates from the Manila Jaycees attended the 3rd World
Congress of the Junior Chamber International held in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil to petition for the admission of the chapter to the worldwide
organization. Weeks later, the two-man delegation came back to Manila
with a charter that was then called the Philippine Junior Chamber of
The first National Convention was
held in Manila in April 1949. Following the approval of the
Constitution and By-laws of the Philippine Jaycees, the first set of
national officers were elected with Ramon del Rosario as President.
That same month, nineteen Filipino JCI members, led by del Rosario,
attended the 4th JCI World Congress in Brussels. The large
delegation had so impressed the JCI members from different countries
that they voted to hold the 5th JCI World Congress in
Manila the following year.
The highlight of the said JCI World
Congress, which was held from March 1 to 8, 1950, was the election of
Ramon del Rosario as World President of the Junior Chamber
International, the first Filipino and Asian to hold that position.
Two years later, another Filipino, Roberto Villanueva, was elected to
the same office. Other Filipino JCI members who were subsequently
elected to JCI’s highest post were Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (1976),
Victor Jose Luciano (1985) and Crispin Dy Jr. (1997).
Through the years, JCI Philippines
has become a byword in civic projects of varying scope and importance
such as setting up monuments by implementing beneficial community
projects. Two projects of the national organization have become
institutions: the “Voice of Democracy” oratorical contest among
students and the annual search for “The Outstanding Young Men” (TOYM)
of the Philippines. A widely-remembered project of JCI Philippines was
“Operation Brotherhood,” a humanitarian project for the Indo-Chinese
refugees in Vietnam and Laos and later adopted worldwide by Junior
Chamber International. Today, the JCI organization has grown to be one
of the biggest and prestigious leadership development organizations
for young leaders and entrepreneurs in the country today.
The recently-concluded 60th
Anniversary celebration served to be a resounding success and this was
made possible by its Anniversary Chairman, JCI Sen. Dennis L. Cunanan,
backed up by the team from JCI Manileña under Programs Committee Chair
Rosalind Ngo and under the direction of 2008 National President
Raphael A. Lesaca. Special thanks goes to all those who, in one way or
another, worked very hard for the past ten months to ensure its smooth
success. Indeed, the affair would be forever cherished in the hearts
and mind of each and every JCI member who attended.
Mabuhay ang JCI Philippines!