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17/07/2012: House Speaker Belmonte, Senator Cayetano, Other PH Personalities Inspire Visiting Fil-Am Leaders

Mr. Ramon del Rosario, Jr., President & CEO of Phinma (seated, 3rd from left), and Mrs. Marivic del Rosario (seated, 2nd from left), hosted Ambassador Jose Cuisia (seated, 4th from left), Mrs. Victoria Cuisia (seated, 5th from left), and the FAYLP participants at a dinner on July 16.  Among the special guests were Education Secretary Armin Luistro (seated, leftmost) and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. (seated, rightmost).

17 July 2012, Washington DC. The Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FAYLP) ended yesterday much like how it started, with calls on the Philippines’ most influential public officials.

Activities for the FAYLP participants were organized with Philippine legislators, including a call on Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and a lunch meeting hosted by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who was accompanied by several young congressmen.  Known for being innovative and reform-minded, these legislators included Representative Dakila Carlo Cua (Quirino, Lone District), Representative Gabriel Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th District), Representative Romero Federico Quimbo (Marikina City, 2nd District), Representative Rex Gatchalian (Valenzuela City, 1st District), Representative Fatima Aliah Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte, 2nd District), and Representative Erwin Tugna (CIBAC Party List).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario also met with the ten young Filipino Americans.  Held at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Pasay, he challenged the group to “speak with one voice” in advancing the interests of the Philippines and Filipinos in the United States.  He also urged them to prioritize and focus on issues which will help the country move forward.  Following the courtesy call on the Secretary, briefings were made by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Laura Q. Del Rosario and senior representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism and Commission on Filipinos Overseas on the Philippine Government's current policies and programs on economic diplomacy, tourism promotion, and assistance to Filipinos in the country and overseas.  The FAYLP delegates were joined by Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Consuls General Leo Herrera-Lim (Chicago), Bayani Mangibin (Guam), Julius Torres (Honolulu), Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon (Los Angeles), Mario de Leon, Jr. (New York), and Marciano Paynor, Jr. (San Francisco).

A sharing session on social development advocacies ensued at the Filipinas Heritage Library, where the FAYLP delegates were asked to share the initiatives they are involved in to help the country, opportunities for collaboration, as well as reflections and insights from their trip.  There was unanimity among the ten participants that the program was a transformative experience, with meaningful encounters with Filipinos of influence and stature.  The passionate young group expressed their gratitude to Ambassador and Mrs. Cuisia for the invaluable opportunity that was provided to them and the resulting “overdose of ideas, inspiration and patriotism,” as phrased by one of the participants.

Mr. Ramon del Rosario, Jr., President & CEO of Phinma, and Mrs. Marivic del Rosario hosted dinner for Ambassador Cuisia, Mrs. Victoria Cuisia and the FAYLP participants.  Serving as special guests were Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr.  Also in attendance were Consuls General General Leo Herrera-Lim (Chicago), Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon (Los Angeles), Mario de Leon, Jr. (New York), Marciano Paynor, Jr. (San Francisco), and Ms. Maria Lourdes Heras-de Leon, President of the Ayala Foundation.

The ten FAYLP participants are Melissa Apuya, Louella Cabalona, JR Calanoc, Greg Cendana, Alex de Ocampo, Angela Lagdameo, Francine Maigue, Steven Raga, Michael Vea, and Katrina Zulueta. They earlier took part in the 7th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors (ACGTD) Tour from July 11 to 13 and were selected from close to 400 applications received throughout the U.S. during the period February 15, 2012 to April 30, 2012 to form part of a group of young individuals (aged between 18 and 35) that are being tapped to become future leaders of their respective Filipino American communities.  The project is an initiative of Ambassador and Mrs. Jose Cuisia in collaboration with the Consuls General in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.  Sponsors of the FAYLP were the Ayala Corporation, Chevron, Philam Life, Phinma Foundation, Ayala Foundation, and Makati Business Club.  (END)