ABS-CBN International partners with the Philippine Consulate General to Advance the Spark*Connect*Empower Movement

SAN FRANCISCO, June 1, 2018 – In official ceremonies held recently at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, in the presence of newly appointed Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Jose Manual G. Romualdez, ABS-CBN Managing Director for North and Latin America Jun Del Rosario signed a memorandum of agreement, together with Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr., sealing the partnership between the Philippine Consulate and ABS-CBN International to bring ahead the former’s Spark*Connect*Empower Movement.

His Excellency Jose Manuel Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the United States (3rd from right) and Consul General Henry Besurto, Jr. (4th from right) cut the ribbon at the inauguration of Spark 447, an innovation hub that provides a co-working space for Fil-Am start-up companies. Looking on are CEO of Panalo Solutions JR Calanoc (left), Richard Ortega of PLDT (2nd from right), and Founder and CEO of Xtrilogy Ventures Albert Lim (right) (Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Ysip)

Consul General Bensurto maintains that, “Spark*Connect*Empower hopes to spark curiosity and pride in our culture and heritage, make us fall in love with what it means to be a Filipino, and move us to connect and form a united and empowered Filipino American community.”

The Spark*Connect*Empower Movement initially had 11 pioneer partners that included the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. (PAWAI), The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Sacramento, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Northern California Chapter, and the Filipino Basketball League, among others. To date, there is a total of 38 signing partners, in addition to the original 11. ABS-CBN/TFC is one of the signing partners.

Sharing the vision of Spark*Connect*Empower is a commitment and a responsibility. SCE Partners are expected to conduct at least one activity a year that promotes or projects Philippine culture and heritage and including the SCE logo in identified events.

In return, SCE partner organizations or individuals are provided with various platforms to engage with each other, like the SCE umbrella website and the Consulate’s social media channels.

His Excellency Jose Manuel Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the United States (center), witnessed the private signing between Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr (left) and ABS-CBN Managing Director for North and Latin America Jun Del Rosario (right), sealing the partnership between the PCH and ABS-CBN International to support the Spark*Connect*Empower Movement. (Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Ysip)

Del Rosario says that the partnership was a natural fit. “What’s important is for everybody to align with each other and agree that we have the same vision, the same mission, the same goals in mind.” and it really makes sense for all of us to work together.” Del Rosario adds that ABS-CBN is looking at getting the same results in terms of targeting the younger Filipino Americans.

The signing was followed by the inauguration of Spark 447, a co-working space that is the result of a private-public community partnership, collaborated on by the Consulate General, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Trade and Investment Center, the Philippine Center Management Board, PLDT, XTrilogy Ventures, and Panalo Solutions, that will provide an economically viable and alternative space for start-up companies in the Bay Area.

JR Calanoc, CEO of Panalo Solutions explains, “The way Spark 447 works is the office space is subsidized… some of the expenses are subsidized by the Philippine government, the Philippine Consulate, so that helps the fees be lower for the small businesses.”

A reception in honor of Ambassador Romualdez followed at the Kalayaan Hall, where the official launch of the Spark*Connect* Empower Movement was held. The SCE theme song, composed and produced by Filipino artist and singer-song writer Dandin Ranillo, was presented. Calanoc also unveiled the SCE umbrella website, www.spark447.com, that went live during the grand launch.

Consul General Bensurto points out that “The consulate saw the need to create a super structure that would provide an ideological foundation for the many activities that the various Filipino American organizations have been doing in the past years.” He hopes that this will create greater impact on the Filipino diaspora.

Ambassador Romualdez was impressed with the program and hopes that it can be duplicated in other parts of the U.S. He stated that “The Philippines is the country with the fastest growing economy, the second in the world. We are only second to India which gives you an idea of how the economy in the Philippines is moving quickly and this Spark is going to spark it even more with your participation.”

Entrepreneurs who are interested or who would like more information can visit www.Spark447.com.

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