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23 July 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Ten emerging Filipino-American leaders are in the Philippines to reconnect with their roots by immersing in local communities and conversing with government and industry leaders through the Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPro).

The 3rd FYLPro, which will take place from 24 to 28 July 2014, will allow delegates to meet and dialogue with senior government officials, corporate executives and successful entrepreneurs, members of the academe and representatives of leading nongovernment organizations, the Philippine Embassy said.

“We have a truly promising group of individuals who have already made a difference in their respective communities. This is an exciting time for them and a wonderful opportunity to get to know more about their heritage and roots,” said Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

The 10 delegates participating in this year’s FYLPro are Edward Aparis from Chula Vista, California; Rynn Chua from Gardena, California; Rommel Clemente from Milpitas, California; Adette Contreras from Brooklyn, New York; Michael Dahilig from Lihue, Hawaii; Rafael Diokno from Washington, D.C.; Abbey Eusebio from Lincolnwood, Illionois; Jan Paul Ferrer from Tinley Park, Illinois; Ryan Letada from New York, New York; and Jason Tengco from Washington, D.C.

“We need more people in the United States doing work for the Philippines. I hope this trip inspires the young leaders to pursue projects and lines of work that promote the Philippines and its people,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

The delegates to this year’s FYLPro, the brainchild of Ambassador Cuisia and his wife Maria Victoria, said they are looking forward to their participation in the various activities that have been prepared for them in the Philippines.

“I haven’t been back in 27 years and I am excited to see what business and investment opportunities the Philippines has to offer,” said Jan Paul Ferrer, Associate Vice President at Morgan Stanley and a member of various Filipino-American organizations.

“I am looking forward to connecting with my roots and to learn more about Philippine history and culture,” said Abbey Eusebio, a Constituent Advocate at the Office of US Rep. Jan Schakowsky and former Vice Chair of the Illinois Chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations.

Consul General Emilio Fernandez, who serves as program coordinator, said FYLPro alumni continue to embark on different advocacies to help promote further progress in the Philippines and to further engage the multi-faceted Filipino-American community.

“The batches have gone to undertake, among other things, political advocacy initiatives, cultural and tourism promotion programs, social entrepreneurship activities, education innovations, Filipino-American heritage projects, voter awareness and education, and have even launched political campaigns of their own,” Fernandez said.

Some of this year’s delegates already have shared the plans they will pursue upon their return from the Philippines.

“I intend on making it a priority to work with the Embassy to organize Filipino Americans around typhoon relief, so that even as time passes, we continue to provide support and never forget those affected by the typhoon,” said Jason Tengco, the youngest among the 10 delegates who serves as Senior Adviser in the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“I would like to work with the Embassy in organizing the community around comprehensive immigration reform in order to help it along the finish line in Congress, and to enroll undocumented Filipino youth in Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.  Finally, I plan to continue to lay the groundwork in order to launch a national progressive Filipino American advocacy organization in D.C.,” said the cofounder of JeepneyHub.com, a website dedicated to the career development of Filipino American youth and young professionals.

Rafael Diokno, Vice President of the Filipino Young Professionals-D.C. and a Board Member of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce-D.C. said he wants to share his vision of what the Filipino American community could be.

“It is a vision that focuses on education, connection, and developing the financial clout, as a community, to fund key programs and initiatives to make this vision possible,” added Diokno, who is a member of the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition.

The FYLPro’s program partner in the Philippines is the Ayala Foundation.  Corporate sponsors include Philippine Airlines, Chevron Philippines, General Electric Philippines, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines and Security Bank Corporation. ###