Delegates selected for 2017 immersion program to the Philippines

Filipino Young Leaders Program
Contact: Kit Zulueta (808) 291-9407

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Philippine Embassy today announced the sixth cohort of the Filipino Young Leaders Program to participate in the week-long, expense-paid Immersion Program to the Philippines.

The delegates are:

Marjorie Baltazar (Chicago, IL) – Baltazar, a staunch advocate for immigrant rights, is the Principal of Baltazar Global LLC, a business immigration law firm aimed at making sophisticated immigration services simple and accessible. Prior to launching her firm, Marjorie spent nearly 10 years practicing immigration with a large international law firm. She has assisted a diverse range of clients in developing creative and sound legal strategies to hire and retain talent from all over the world. Born in the Philippines and having immigrated to the United States as an eight-year old, Marjorie is a staunch advocate for immigrant rights and routinely provides pro bono legal services to individuals seeking immigration benefits. She serves on the Junior Leadership Board of the National Immigrant Justice Center and is a past recipient of the National Immigrant Justice Center Rising Star Award and has been selected for inclusion in the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for immigration lawyers since 2014. Marjorie is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago and was a member of its Board of Directors for its 2014 inaugural term and 2015 term.

Amanda Bernardo (New York, NY) – As an immigration attorney, Bernardo has helped win asylum for refugees, ensured a Filipino programmer the pay and position he deserves for his skills, empowered a Chinese nail technician victimized by domestic violence, fought for a single mother fleeing gang rape in El Salvador and expanded the business of a Bangladeshi entrepreneur. As an immigration expert, she saved countless families from deportation and legalized the status of even more. Amanda sees first-hand how people of various nationalities experience the immigration system. She is committed to using her legal expertise to transform the experience of Filipinos and underrepresented communities in that system. Amanda received her Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School. She is the Chair of the Immigration Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and of the Public Relations Committee of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York. She is a widely sought-after speaker on immigration law. Recently, she collaborated with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Filipino-American Pulitzer-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas to educate Asian/Filipino immigrants on their rights under the Trump Administration. She graduated from American University​ summa cum laude ​ with honors where she focused on Philippines and US migration.

Ryan Dalusag (Laguna Niguel, CA) – Dalusag is a first-generation Filipino-American citizen, born and raised in California. He graduated from San Diego State University with my Masters in Social Work. Currently, Ryan is a clinical social worker on the Behavioral Health Unit at Mission Hospital. He enjoys being able to help patients struggling with mental health issues by providing clinical interventions and resources to help them reintegrate into the community. When he’s not working, Ryan volunteers in the Filipino community, currently serving as Executive Director for the Lakas Mentorship Program, as well as a Publicity and Outreach Committee member for Filipino Cultural School (FCS) – both based in Southern California. Lakas mentors High School and college students, by providing guidance to obtain higher education and successfully move forward in their careers. The organization centers on its five pillars of Self-Awareness, Fil-Am Studies, College Prep, Positionality, and Leadership. FCS works to provide cultural education for the younger generation, from Kindergarten through High School, centering on music, dance, and cultural language and history. During his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time with family and friends, rock climbing, and trying new foods.

Eric John David (Anchorage, AK) – E.J.R. David was born in the Philippines by Kapampangan and Tagalog parents, and grew up in Pasay, Las Piñas, Makati, and Alaska. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage (2002), and Master of Arts (2004) and Doctoral (2007) Degrees in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. E.J.R. David is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage and has published theoretical and empirical works on Internalized Oppression or Colonial Mentality, including Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino -/ American Postcolonial Psychology (Information Age Publishing). His most recent book is Internalized Oppression: The Psychology of Marginalized Groups (Springer Publishing). He was the 2007 recipient of the American Psychological Association (APA) Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45) Distinguished Student Research Award. In 2012, he was honored by the APA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) with the Early Career Award in Research for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Racial and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and was also chosen to receive the Asian American Psychological Association Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in 2013. In 2014, he was honored by the Alaska Psychological Association with the “Cultural Humanitarian Award for Exemplary Service and Dedication to Diversity Award”, and in 2015 was inducted as a Fellow by the Asian American Psychological Association for “Unusual and Outstanding Contributions to Asian American Psychology.”

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam (Honolulu, HI) – Dos Santos-Tam is the Executive Director of the Hawaii Construction Alliance, the organization which represents the state’s 15,000-member strong Carpenters, Laborers, Cement Masons, Bricklayers, and Operating Engineers unions. In this unique role, he brings together representatives from the these unions to promote cooperation, collaboration, and coordination within the Hawaii’s construction industry. Tyler serves on the Neighborhood Commission, which oversees the City and County’s neighborhood board system, after being appointed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell and confirmed by the Honolulu City Council. He has been an active board member of the Hawaii Children’s Action Network and the Filipino Jaycees, was a member of the 2014 Class of the Pacific Century Fellows, and is also a leader within the Democratic Party of Hawaii and the Young Democrats of America. He was recognized as one of Pacific Business News’ 40 Under Forty for his work in both the business and advocacy community. Tyler is a graduate of Punahou School and Yale University.

Rebecca Elmore (Guam) – Raised on the island of Guam, Elmore is a news anchor and reporter for the Pacific News Center for Sorensen Media Pacific Broadcast. Although working as a reporter, her first love is advocacy work in the community and her most passionate stories cover public policy affecting the Filipino population on Guam. She recently transferred from the University of Colorado Denver to the University of Guam to continue to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis on diplomacy and law. Ms. Elmore holds a B.A. with Latin honors in Communication from CU Denver where she served on the Auraria Board of Directors, founded CU’s first Filipino student organization, and discovered a newfound joy in Tinikling dancing. When Ms. Elmore is not chasing stories for the nightly news, her interests include international diplomacy, non-profit efficacy, and binge-watching TedTalks on Youtube. You can catch Ms. Elmore on the evening news every weeknight on ABC7 and Fox6. She aspires to leave the world a better place, one investigative story at a time.

Ireneo Reus III (Long Beach, CA) – Reus founded The Reus Law Firm in 2005 and represents international and domestic clients in commercial litigation, employment law and corporate matters. Ireneo earned his J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2004, where he was a member of the UCLA Moot Court Honors Program and served as Senior Articles Editor for the UCLA Journal of Law & Technology. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Political Science, summa cum laude, from Whittier College in 2001, where he also competed for the Rhodes Scholarship. He is a member of the State Bar of California, and is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of International Trade. He served on the Board of Governors of the Philippine American Bar Association since 2006 and as chair of the Board of Directors of the California Young Lawyers Association from 2012 to 2013. With over 40,000 members, CYLA is the largest association of young attorneys in the world. Ireneo currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the UCLA School of Law’s Alumni Association.Ireneo is also a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs on various topics such as ethics, professional responsibility, social media, and civil litigation. He served as Program Chair and Moderator at the ABA Section of International Law’s 2016 Fall Meeting in Tokyo, Japan and 2017 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Christal Simanski (Alexandria, VA) – Simanski is the current President of the Filipino Young Professionals Organization of Washington, D.C., which works to elevate the Filipino-American professional to achieve success in their career. Simanski is also an international affairs and trade specialist for the United States Government. She has written reports on how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives. She graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington, as Magna Cum Laude with bachelor degrees in political science and philosophy. Simanski went on to complete her graduate degree at the age of 22 from the University of California, San Diego, in the field of International Affairs. She has previously interned for Innovations for Poverty Action at their field office in Manila and for the State Department, at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. Christal has worked on an array of topics to include human rights issues and international migration. She is passionate about environmental conservation and civic involvement.

Ryann Tanap (Arlington, VA) – Tanap is a writer and advocate for suicide prevention and multicultural communities. She is the Manager of Social Media and Digital Assets at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where she oversees strategy, partnerships, content, growth, and engagement across social media platforms. Prior to NAMI, she served as a consultant on the Asian American and Pacific Islanders for AARP’s Multicultural Leadership Team and as Editor-in-Chief for Pilipino American Unity for Progress. She is an alumna of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, a leadership development program. As a Global Playground (GP) Teaching Fellow, she taught English, cross-cultural topics, and dance to middle and high school students in northwest thailand. She later served on the Board of Directors and played a pivotal role in the launch of GP Philippines in partnership with Advancement for Rural Kids. Ryann believes in the healing and transformative power of the arts. She performs spoken word and fundraises for This is My Brave and the Armed Services Arts Partnership. Her blog, Mama Tanap, explores mental health in our society. She earned her BA in International Relations with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from the College of William and Mary.

Ray Villanueva (Seattle, WA) – Villanueva is an architect, educator, and aspiring builder. He is co-founder of Estudio Damgo, a student-led, community design and build program at Foundation University in Dumaguete City. The program focus is using local materials like bamboo to reintroduce cultural relevance and sustainability in construction. The program was awarded a 2013 Ten Accomplished Youth Organization and its alumnus was awarded a 2013 Ten Outstanding Student of the Philippines for his work with Estudio Damgo. Ray is currently co-director of the Philippines Bamboo Workshop Study Abroad Program through the University of Washington Department of Architecture, which won the 2016 ACSA Design Build Award. Ray has worked on health clinics, schools and public buildings as a project architect and project manager at Miller Hayashi Architects. Currently, Ray is project manager for Katerra, a technology, design, and construction company that is transforming the way housing is built. Ray earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Maryland with Summa Cum Laude honors and completed his Master of Architecture at the University of Washington. Ray lives in Seattle with his wife, Amy, and two kids, June (4) and Lou (2).

Minister Patrick Chuasoto, the Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires ad interim and chair of the Selection Committee composed by Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States, noted difficulty in selecting this year’s 10 delegates because of the competitive application process.

“As with the previous years, FYLPRO 2017 delegates bring with them a great deal of experience, dynamism and passion for empowering their communities,” Minister Chuasoto said.

“We are excited to see how they will use their learnings and takeaways from the Immersion Program in their legacy projects,” he added.

The 2017 Immersion Program is on October 8 – 14 and is organized in conjunction with the Ayala Foundation, Inc. The delegates are scheduled to meet and engage with government leaders, business executives, cultural experts, social entrepreneurs, and innovators in different fields to strengthen their understanding of issues affecting their country of heritage. FYLPRO was established to create a pipeline of young leaders to advance the interests of the Filipino community.

“We welcome the new roster of delegates to FYLPRO and look forward to executing a great program in the Philippines with our partners,” said Kit Zulueta, FYLPRO president. “As the family grows, we also encourage those not selected this year to remain in touch, as we are all leaders who share the same objective to uplift the Filipino community.”

Ms. Zulueta said the Immersion Program committee has now switched gears to gather and consolidate resources for the execution of the program’s itinerary. Those interested to support the program may e-mail

Now on its sixth year, FYLPRO has built an alumni network registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which continues to reach out to new potential partners to help develop the program and its legacy projects.