LOS ANGELES — It’s a nationwide call out for the brightest Filipino leaders to head to the Philippines.
The search is on for the next batch of candidates for the annual Filipino Young Leaders Program, or FYLPRO.
Since 2012, under the guidance of former ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr., groups of ten Filipino leaders have gone to the Philippines for an immersion program, while they use their talents to brainstorm ideas to benefit the country.
“We really want to highlight leadership within our community within the Filipino American community,” said Anna Marie Cruz, a FYLPro Alumni. “The other thing is to connect to our roots, connect to our culture in a way that gives you the perspective of someone who’s high up on government, or business in the Philippines really give you a good understanding of what’s going on in the country right now.”
Over the years, this program has helped developed many young Filipinos.
Many of those who’ve gone thru the program have gone on to do big things — from Filipino food entrepreneur Nicole Ponseca, to the LA Mayor’s Deputy Director Jessica Caloza, and Grammy-winner Jhett Tolentino, as well as many politicians and other community leaders from different sectors.
Alex DeOcampo was in the first group of FYLPRO alumni, and he says the experience has helped him as he runs for the state assembly.
“It taught me the importance of reconnecting with your roots, and that’s helped me be a better leader and understand my community and always giving back,” said DeOcampo.
From martial law, to the war on drugs, the issues in the Philippines don’t worry these young Fil-Ams, but inspires them even more to immerse themselves.
“The time to be involved is when you know that there has to be action whether you agree with the current politics or not, action needs to happen, because there are still really big issues in the Philippines,” said Cruz.
FYLPRO which is open to Fil-Ams between the ages of 25-40 is accepting applicants online until July 21st, and the delegates chosen for this free trip will be announced in August.
This batch will head to the Philippines in October.