Filipino American Young Leaders Visit CFO
(L-R) Mr. Michael Apattad, Mr. Eumarlo Tolosa, Atty. Marjorie Baltazar, Ms. Marita Apattad, Atty. Amanda Bernardo, Mr. Rodrigo Garcia and Mr. Lakhi Siap

Two of the ten delegates of the 2017 Immersion Program of the Filipino American Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) had a chance to learn about the services and programs of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas as part of this year’s FYLPRO programme of activities.

The delegates, Attorneys Marjorie Baltazar of Chicago, Illinois and Amanda Bernardo of New York City were accompanied by FYLPRO’s Immersion Program Director, Mr. Lakhi Siap during their visit to the CFO on 10 October 2017. Both immigration lawyers, their advocacies focus on migrant’s rights and Filipino World War 2 veterans. They were welcomed by CFO officers, Messrs. Michael Apattad and Eumarlo Tolosa through a tour of the CFO premises where they observed the conduct of the agency’s pre-departure services for outbound Filipino immigrants.

Ms. Marita Apattad, Director of the Project Management Division and Mr. Rodrigo Garcia, Officer-in-Charge of the Policy, Planning and Research Division briefed the delegates on the initiatives, programs and services of CFO. The programs that were introduced to them ranged from (a) providing country specific pre-departure seminars for Filipino emigrants; (b) facilitating overseas Filipinos’ development assistance for the Philippines through the LINKAPIL Program; and (c) recognition through the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas in recognition of their contribution to Philippine development and promotion of the welfare of overseas Filipinos.

The delegates were also given a glimpse of the government’s efforts in mainstreaming migration in the national and local development plans and policy advocacy efforts for Filipino war veterans.

Established in 2012, FYLPRO is a US based non-profit organization that identifies ten outstanding young professionals in the United States of America. According to Mr. Siap, FYLPRO allows them to undergo an immersion program to the Philippines to meet heads of government agencies, business sector and NGOs to forge partnerships and networking that could further strengthen the relationship between the US and Philippines and uplift the Filipino community through legacy projects.

Atty. Baltazar’s legacy project will focus on identifying individuals who benefit from the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, and assist them in securing support and legal assistance in obtaining and maintaining parole status to enter the United States and ultimately assist them to becoming permanent residents. On the other hand, Atty. Bernardo’s project targets to create a printed and digitized “Know Your Rights” toolkit for newly-arrived Filipino migrants that consists information on their rights and obligations through her collaboration with Philippine Embassies and Consulates, churches, and business and community organizations across the US.

The CFO officers also engaged the two lawyers for them to be included in the pool of resource persons whom Filipino migrants may tap or contact if they need help when they get to the United States of America.