Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez and FYLPRO president Louella Cabalona sign Memoraum of Agreement | Contributed Photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), the Philippine Embassy, and the Ayala Foundation Inc. have renewed their partnership for three more years through Dec. 31, 2025.
The extension of this unique partnership ensures continuity as FYLPRO celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022. The agreement offers a transformative, life-changing immersion experience that brings 10 to 15 delegates from the United States to the Philippines for a week. FYLPRO had partnered with the Embassy and the Foundation in 2012.
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, President Louella Rose Cabalona, Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI) President Ruel Maranan, and Senior Director Joanna Duarte signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Dec. 6 during the virtual year-end meeting with Philippine Consulates General in the United States, and the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of American Affairs.
Earlier in the day, Ambassador Romualdez met Cabalona to discuss the mission of FYLPRO in engaging the Filipino American youth and its COVID-19 response efforts. Deputy Chief of MIssion Jaimon Ascalon and Vice Consul Mark Lim joined the meeting. Several FYLPRO directors and alumni were also present. Ambassador Romualdez expressed his enthusiasm for celebrating FYLPRO’s 10th anniversary in 2022, inviting the organization to be part of the Philippine Independence Day celebration in D.C.
The FYLPRO delegation present at the Romulo Hall in the Philippine Embassy included incoming President-Elect and current Vice President Leezel Tanglao, Secretary Jean Gavina, Directors Jan Paul Ferrer, and Bryan Ramos. Alumni also in attendance had Baron Cabalona, Mark Calaguas, and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam. The 2018 delegate Brian Tajo joined them and volunteers Sabrina Sayoc and Robbie Lopez during the virtual signing.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue our long-standing relationship with our partner institutions, Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and Ayala Foundation, building upon our previous agreements signed in from 2016 and 2018”, said Cabalona.
“This historic MOU is an affirmation that, one, our immersion program will continue in its mission to connect Filipinos in the diaspora to the motherland beyond leadership changes in the Philippine government and two, that FYLPRO, thenon-profitt onon-profitn has proven itself able and willing to take on the responsibility of shaping the immersion program in the years to come,” adds Cabalona.
The MOU also transfers the immersion program ownership, which now will be with FYLPRO with support from the Philippine Embassy and Ayala Foundation.
Ambassador Romualdez reiterated the Philippine Embassy’s support of FYLPRO’s vision of “a thriving future for the Filipino people built upon the strength of our Filipino identity, our global community, and our connections with the Philippines.”
“Celebrating your 10th year next year will really be a milestone because you have gone a long way from the time I became the ambassador four years ago. I could see there’s been a lot of activities, events you’ve had inspite of the challenges of the past two years,” said Ambassador Romualdez. “With the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ayala Foundation, I am sure that this program will be more successful in the future. I’d like to congratulate all of you for doing a great job and you can expect the Embassy in Washington DC to continue to support you in every way we can.”
AFI President Maranan and Senior Director Duarte echoed these same sentiments for FYLPRO’s future legacy projects and newfound independence.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Louella and her leadership, that you have truly gained so much during your watch. These were challenging times and you were able to pivot and make FYLPRO more efficient and effective,” said AFI President Ruel Maranan.”I know that under the new leadership of incoming President Leezel Tanglao, the rest of her team will surely emerge and continuously explore all possibilties and opportunities to make FYLPRO more relevant not only in terms of celebrating the 10th year but making it more meaningful (in the decades) to come.”
AFI Senior Director Joanna Duarte added: “I am very proud of this organization because in Ayala Foundation our vision is for communities to be creative, productive, self reliant and proud to be Filipino and what we aim to do is empower the communities we work with such that they can eventually do things on their own and this is what FYLPRO has done.”