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The new Vice President of the Philippines, Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo, popularly known as Leni, will be visiting the United States after confirming her acceptance of an invitation to the 12th National Empowerment Conference of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) taking place at the Valley Forge Casino & Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on Aug. 4 to 7, 2016.

The highlight of Robredo’s visit will be a keynote address to the conferees to be delivered at the Conference Gala on the evening of Aug. 6.

Filipino and other media in the Northeastern United States are all eyes and ears for the Philippines’ first woman Vice President’s visit, especially after the Philippine Consul General in New York issued an invitation to a Press Conference with her prior to the evening Gala at 5 p.m. on Aug. 6, also at the Casino & Resort.

The conference, with the theme “Celebrating Our History and Building a Brighter Future,” will be hosted by NaFFAA Region One, chaired by Dr. Aida Rivera of Media, Pennsylvania.  

Focus of the four-day conference will be the development of key strategies to address the political, social, health, education and economic concerns of the burgeoning Filipino-American community in the United States.

Plenary sessions will take up issues that impact the Filipino-American community, especially including immigration reform, politics and business development.

A long list of speakers and resource persons have been drawn up by organizers of the conference, among whom are keynote speaker Bobby Scott, a Virginia Congressman of Filipino parentage; Philippine Vice President Robredo; Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr., Philippine Consul General in New York; Loida Nicolas Lewis, international philanthropist and National Chair Emerita of NaFFAA; JT Mallonga, current NaFFAA National Chair, Jon Melegrito, Communications Director; Rose Tibayan, multimedia journalist; and many others.

Hosting the conference in Valley Forge is NaFFAA Region One (R1) whose members come from organizations in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

NaFFAA is a U.S. national organization of Filipino-American associations split up into 12 Regions. The organization is governed by five national executive officers and 15 board of governors.

The national executive officers are JT Mallonga, Esq., National Chairman; Emraida Kiram, National Vice Chair; Mariela Fletcher, Secretary; Brendan Flores, Treasurer; and Giselle Rushford, Executive Director.

The Board of Governors are Brendan Flores, Romeo Jurani, Emraida Kiram, Rozita Lee, Merit Salud, Jelly Carandang, JT Mallonga, Jon Melegrito, Ed Navarra, Rodel Rodis, Bing Branigin, Gloria T. Caoile, Jing Espitiru, Steven Raga and Loida Nicolas Lewis.

The 12 distinct Regions include the states of and are chaired by: Region 1 — Eastern Region, Aida Rivera; Region 2 — Capital Region with the States of Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — Bing Branigin; Region 3 — Midwest (West) with Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin — Jelly Carandang; Region 3 — Midwest (East),  with Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio — Armin Sayson; Region 4 — Southern Region, with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands — Cesar Abueg; Region 5 — Central Region, with Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — Dennis Apuan; Region 6 — Southwest Region, with Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — Anthony Guevara; Region 7 — Pacific Northwest Region, with Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State — Mariela Fletcher; Region 8 — Northern California Region, with the Counties North of San Luis Obispo and Kern — Rudy Asercion; Region 9 — Los Angeles Region, with Counties South of San Luis Obispo, Kern and Los Angeles, through the northern boundary of San Diego — Noel Omega; Region 10 — San Diego Region, with San Diego, Riverside and Imperial — Myrna Reyes; Region 11 — Nevada Region, with Arizona, Nevada and Utah — Amie Belmonte; and Region 12 — Pacific Islands Region, with Hawaii, Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa — Rouel Velasco.

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