Erlinda Requejo-Arellano: outstanding Bicolana community leader of New Jersey

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As the Bicol National Association of America (BNAA) gears for its July national convention in New York City this year, I can’t help but pay tribute to Erlinda Requejo-Arellano (Linda,) president of the Bicolandia Association Inc. of the Eastern Seaboard USA. She is at the helm of the preparations for the grand event which will draw Bicolanos and friends in the tri-state area.

I believe Linda is most capable in doing the job. She is a well-known community leader with outstanding accomplishments to her credit. Having been the founding president of the Filipino American Political Action Coalition of New Jersey, Inc. (FAPAC-NJ), she serves as the organizer and founding President of the Filipino American Political Action Group of Essex County and Vice President (Eastern Region) of the Bikol National Association of America.

She is the auditor of the Philippine American Communities Executive Council and the vice president of the Filipino Association of Northern New Jersey, Inc. (FANNJI). An adviser and three-time past overall chairperson of the Philippine Day Organizing Council (PDOC,) she is a mover in the Women’s Initiatives of Nutley headed by the mayor Joan Cocchiola.

Linda assumed headship and remains to be an engaging adviser of the Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association, Inc. (OLPDA,) a religious organization which promotes the devotion to the patroness of the Bicol Region. A strong-willed daughter of a war veteran-hero, she took the position of founding president of the Sons, Daughters and Orphans of Philippine American Veterans, Inc.

Among Linda’s other numerous community involvements was her longtime presidency in the Filipino American Voters’ League, Inc. She admirably served as a mentor in the Juvenile Urban Mentoring Program of Passaic Youth, treasurer of 2002 Multicultural Committee of Passaic, member of the 1999 Facilities Advisory Board and Chairman of the 1998 Quality of Life Program, both of the Passaic Board of Education.

From 1995 through 1998, Linda prominently sat on the board of the United Passaic Organization (a CAP agency) as an able treasurer, chairman of the finance committee, and member of the education and fundraising Committees. Professionally, Linda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Born with twin sister Mila, Linda hails from Canaman, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, Philippines where the Requejo family has humbly served the community for over 100 years, majority of the years were under the mayoralty of her grandfather and father Damaso who served the most. Her brother Emmanuel is currently the mayor.

A consistent honor student at the Colegio (now Universidad) de Sta. Isabel, Naga City, spanning her elementary and high school years, Linda was one of the Three Most Outstanding High School Students. She was bestowed leadership and academic excellence recognition from among over 5,000students in the city.

After high school, she won an American Field Service scholarship and spent a year in Kenmore (Buffalo) New York. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a Bachelors of Science degree in Commerce major in Accounting. Soon after passing the Philippine accountancy exams, she joined Sycip, Gorres and Velayo, CPA’s and LM Power Engineering until she immigrated to the United States.

She worked for Franwall Optical Co. while taking graduate credits at the State University of NY in Buffalo. She moved for a better career offer with an accounting firm in Clifton, NJ where she earned her New Jersey license as a certified public accountant (CPA.) She was senior accountant and office manager of the firm for 17 years. Presently, Linda is the comptroller of the Passaic Board of Education, a job of trust which oversees a budget of over $200 million.

Linda was recently feted with a leadership award for political advocacy by the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL). Her leadership in political empowerment has also earned her the Go an Extra Mile (GEM) recognition given by the Filipino Asian Bulletin community and the St. Vincent de Paul Public Service Award, for being among the first awardees of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel as an outstanding alumna.

Other sterling distinctions she has had the pleasure of receiving are the United States Special Congressional Recognition for Leadership and Community Service, the New Jersey Assembly Award for outstanding community leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Recognition Award for outstanding leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Bayanihan (Communal Spirit) Award, the Passaic Board of Education Recognition Award as chairperson of the Quality of Life Program, and awards from the Philippine American Friendship Committee, the Philippine Independence Celebration Committee, the Performing Arts of the Philippines, Inc., the Philippine American Communities Council, Inc., the Philippine American Veterans Organization, Inc. and the Bicolandia Association, Inc.

Above all these, what Linda brags to be an “award” that’s unparalleled, unsurpassed and only hers to claim is being mother of her two most wonderful children, Gerard, 29and Marie, 28. =0=

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