Meet the LEAD Fellows

The 2021 Leadership and Democracy Fellows

The 2021 LEAD Fellows was officially announced on May 22, 2021. Through the LEAD Fellowship, they will develop their capacity to navigate, engage, and optimize platforms for democratic governance through issue-based campaigns and development programs.

Fatimatuzzahra or “Zhea” has been awarded with the Leadership Award, Service Award, and Ateneo Peace Award in Ateneo de Zamboanga University. She is a licensed psychometrician and is the the youngest college administrator in her role as faculty and Director of Student Development and Placement Center in Notre Dame of Jolo College. She spearheaded the formation of the school’s Advocates and Leaders for Action and Awareness (ADLAAW). She is also a Gawad Kalinga Youth and a Young Ambassador of Peace through the Youth Exchange and Study Program in 2014.

Nekka Lorelle Abueva
Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental

Nekka is a BA in Communication and Media Studies Student in the University of the Philippines – Visayas. She advocates for upholding the rights of the people especially to those who belong in informal and vulnerable sectors. Nekka strives to be actively involved in meaningful engagements beyond her academics. She believes that the foundation of being well-equipped is to lead and be of service to others.

Maria Korina Bertulfo
Lipa City, Batangas

MK is a finalist in a startup competition in the Philippines: The Final Pitch Season 4 and a cohort of AIM-Dado Banatao, Innovation for Social Impact Partnership, Ashoka, and Facebook Accelerator Program. She is also a Business and Career Trainer, Speaker, and CEO & Founder of Filipina Homebased Moms. MK is passionate about helping Stay-at-home, Corporate, and Overseas moms thrive in their chosen career. She strongly advocates to change the world—one mom at a time.

Capt. Ma. Melissa Bo
Las Piñas City, Metro Manila

Melissa Bo works at the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a Junior Officer and Military Professor at the AFP Leadership and Development Center, where she spearheaded the “Filipino Women Leaders” webinar series. She is also hailed as one of AFP’s young and emerging academic and military leaders. Melissa has written several case studies, seminar papers, and research proposals on women and the environment, and she uses her platforms to showcase indigenous women’s participation and opportunities to sustain their income and livelihood.

John Albert Caraan
Calamba City, Laguna

Albert is a research scientist pursuing graduate studies in Horticulture and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. He is passionate about science communication especially on new farm and breeding technologies, and hopes that youth-initiated projects can help improve the country’s food system. He is a member of the Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines and a Global Fellow of the Alliance for Science in Cornell University.

Riz Supreme Comia
Quezon City, Metro Manila

Riz Comia, known to her students as “Titser Riz” believes in education equity and that functional literacy plays crucial roles in expressing ourselves, empowering communities, and building our nation. She strives toward a day where her students can choose their own dreams and have the power to make them happen. As a lifelong learner, her current hobbies include choreographing short dances, learning sign language, and trying Python programming projects.

Rod Charlie Delos Reyes
Lemery, Batangas

Rod Charlie De Los Reyes believes that an inclusive society is possible in our lifetime. As a young leader, he asserts that this can be achieved through collaboration and cooperation [democracy]. He is an advocate and a champion of people with different abilities and members of the LGBT+ community. Through his training in occupational therapy and experience in social development, he has led and joined various programs that try to create sustainable impact for everyone.

Suwaidi Alba Ebrahim
Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

Suwaidi is an advocate of human rights, good governance, and sustainable development goals. He represented Maguindanao in One Mindanao Youth Parliament 2019 and on the Committee of National Defense and Security of the 8th Philippine Model Congress. Suwaidi also served in the Leaders Unite Mindanao; International Youth United – Philippines; Kapit Bisig; S’bandug ka Maguindanao; and MSU-Maguindanao Supreme Student Council. He received the “Bagong Rizal: Pag-Asa ng Bayan Award 2019” and co-authored “2020: A Year of Turning Burdens into Blessings”.

Angela Maree Encomienda
Naga City, Camarines Sur

Angela is active in her extra-curricular activities and puts special focus on an organization she is the founding chairperson of: The Initiative PH, a youth-led organization focused on synergizing people’s development initiatives. Now, living among farmers and fisherfolk, working with the Lumad Bakwit School, and campaigning with the Agta-Dumagat-Remontado groups impacted by the Kaliwa Dam, Angela advocates for the empowerment of indigenous peoples, women, and children.

Alexis Glenn Espina
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila

Alexis Espina is a Certified Public Accountant currently working for the Department of Information and Communications Technology where he helps manage innovation and capacity components of DICT’s flagship program – the Digital Philippines. Alexis also serves as the CEO and CFO of Cloop Technologies, a start-up social entrepreneur group. He is currently taking his MA in Industrial Engineering in the University of the Philippines.

Wynona Galvez
Pasig City, Metro Manila

Wynona is an indigenous peoples’ rights advocate who has been closely working with Sitio Anipa, a Dumagat-Remontado community in Rizal since she was still in college. She is the Advocacy and Campaigns Lead at WeTheFuturePH, a national youth movement for human rights and democracy. At present, she works as a Program Officer for Local Governance at Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, Inc.

Jalilah Hadji Sapiin
Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Jai Hadji Sapiin has a decade of teaching experience in formal and informal settings. She is also the founder of Super Lumba, a youth-led organization in Lanao del Sur, which has been recognized as one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations. She is also a peace advocate and is the Program Head of Project Sindao, and a Peace Hero of Teach Peace Build Peace Movement. She is a member of the National Youth Volunteers’ Coalition, Social Hub for Education, Ranao Council Inc, and is the youngest member of Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch (MRCW) of International Alert Philippines.

Paul John Hernandez
Meycauayan, Bulacan

PJ is a senior high school teacher at Colegio San Agustin-Makati, teaching Humanities and Social Sciences courses. He has co-written Grade school Araling Panlipunan Textbooks and self-learning art education modules for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He leads the Philippine Leadership, Empowerment, Alliance for Development, Inc., a youth organization focused on countryside youth development. He also founded The Traveling Salakot—a passion project that promotes Philippine culture and arts through cultural education, walking and museum tours and virtual exposures.

John Joseph Ilagan
General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite

John Joseph Torralba Ilagan is a BS Forestry graduate from the UP Los Baños. In his college years, he was elected as the Chairperson of the UPLB University Student Council. After he graduated, he worked for the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) of the Local Government Unit of GMA, Cavite, where he shared valuable contributions and spearheaded environmental activities. He is an environmental advocate and a staunch leader in his community.

Elvin Laceda
Lubao, Pampanga

Elvin Laceda is passionate on youth empowerment and in advocating for the importance of agriculture. He is currently the CEO of RiceUp Farmers Inc. and holds a board member position in the United Nations Youth Advisory Board in the Philippines. He envisions to be seated in public office in Pampanga. Elvin draws inspiration from his experience working with marginalized farmers and wishes to craft sustainable programs and livelihood projects for the local community.

Ezel Lambatan
Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental

Ezel Lambatan advocates for the inclusion and participation of youth in the agriculture sector. He works as a Communications Officer of the Agriculture Office Cagayan De Oro City while being an active youth member of Oro Youth and is actively representing the vibrant LGBTQIA+ community through his involvement in Mindanao Pride. He graduated from Xavier University – Ateneo De Cagayan with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and took a course on agricultural production with Cagayan de Oro Bugo School of Arts and Trades.

Samuel Madriaga
San Pablo City, Laguna

Sam Madriaga is the Chairperson of the College of Allied Medical Professions Student Council and is the Chief Executive and Director for Health Policy at the Alliance of Public Health Advocates. He is also active in San Pablo City’s Youth Development Council, Sulong San Pablo, and its Eagle Scouts Association. He received the 2020 UP Manila Gawad Chancellor Outstanding Student and the 2020 Angat Kabataan for Outstanding COVID-19 Response Initiative. Through his passion and commitment, he hopes to shape the future of health leadership in the Philippines to building safer and healthier communities for all Filipinos.

Fatima Malate
Davao City, Davao

Fatima Pauline Malate is a young leader who volunteers in an international organization that aims to develop leadership in youth through practical experiences in challenging environments. Throughout her leadership experience, she became an advocate of inclusivity and positive change. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Major in Psychology from the Ateneo de Davao University. Outside of her work, her hobbies include singing and performing.

Jullia Claire Matienzo
Pasig City, Metro Manila

Juju Matienzo is a college student studying Early Childhood Education at the University of Asia and the Pacific. She is part of WeTheFuturePH as its Networking and Partnerships Head. She also founded  Spark Hope PH – a youth-led organization that hopes to make a difference to the lives of the Persons with Disabilities by building a more inclusive and rights-based society. She is an advocate of human rights and social justice.

Rodolfo Matucan
Pikit, North Cotabato

Rod is a young Bangsamoro peace advocate, a facilitator, and a youth leader from Pikit, North Cotabato. He is a member of the Siway Alumni Association, a youth network that amplifies platforms for local youth to have safer and progressive spaces in civic, social, and political issues. He participated in the creation of Moro Welfare and Development Code of Cotabato and organized the Greater Cotabato Youth Parliament. He aims to focus on strengthening youth platforms on social participation through unifying existing youth organizations in the 63 barangays of North Cotabato.

Patricia Matute
Quezon City, Metro Manila

Trisha Matute believes in the youth’s potential to bring change in communities and nations. She is an Eskwelabs Data Analyst and a graduate of BA Sociology in the University of the Philippines – Los Baños. She is also a member of Young SouthEast Asian Leaders Initiative and a Civic Engagement Academic Fellow to the University of Nebraska in Omaha in 2019. She is the Executive Director of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Awards Foundation.

Saje Miguel Molato
Legazpi City, Albay

Saje is an award-winning social entrepreneur with focus on innovation and development, education, and public-private partnerships. He pitched his first social enterprise, The Model City Council, during the 2016 Harvard World Model United Nations held in Rome and has since designed a unique platform for youth-led innovation which has received international recognition from the United Nations, The Resolution Project, Yunus & Youth, and the WorldSkills Competition. He founded Siklab Pilipinas, which aims to  provide greater access to global mobility opportunities and generate innovative avenues for Filipino youth to contribute to the SDGs.

Arianne Bettina Morales
Pasig City, Metro Manila

Ina Morales is an Area Officer under the Angat Buhay program of the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo. She has also recently joined the youth-led non-profit organization advocating for good governance, GoodGovPH, under their Civic Engagement arm. She aspires to be a development practitioner who has the capacity and compassion to work with grassroots communities towards their empowerment.

John Marlou Salido
Kalibo, Aklan

John Marlou Salido founded the AVHS Business Youth Leaders’ Alliance or AVHS BYLA which organized the biggest youth convention in the Province of Aklan in 2019, the VENTURE 2.0. He also co-founded Project Kalibo, a youth-led organization responsible for helping community members who were in dire need of help during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. His organization, Project Kalibo, was one of the national finalists during the 18th Search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organization of the Philippines last 2020.

Shaine Solidum
Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Shaine Solidum is the Sangguniang Kabataan Chairperson of Barangay Villamonte and the Public Relations Officer of SK Pederasyon Bacolod. During college, she volunteered for BALAYAN Social Action Office, received the Best Thesis award, and was recognized as an Outstanding Student in the Field of Community Involvement for Peace and Social Advocacy. As an SK, she is able to craft policies and develop programs for the youth and continues to advocate for youth empowerment, data innovation and technology for good governance, and rights of Children in Conflict with the Law.

Marc Helton Sua
Cebu City, Cebu

Marc Sua is a senior high school teacher and is a radio show host for Radyo Turo Guro, launched by the Ateneo Science of Art and Learning and Teaching (SALT) Institute. His main advocacy is Education, specifically, exploring creative ways to teach Mathematics. He advocates for the promotion of STEM Education in the country by leveraging media, i.e. podcasts, radio shows. Mac was formerly employed at the Department of Education and Ayala Education, Inc.

Alexander Miguel Tianco
Quezon City, Metro Manila

Alex Tianco is a college student and an athlete. He is actively involved in outreach activities in Laguna. He envisions to form a non-profit organization called Saved by Sports that will aim to save lives and inspire the next generation of national athletes and change-makers by championing inclusive, health-related, and disaster risk mitigation projects through sports by teaching them life and survival skills through sports. As an athlete, Alex was able to represent the in a competitive collegiate leagues and aims to inspire the youth through sports opportunities.

Queenie Pearl Tomaro
Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

Queenie Tomaro teaches courses in political science and peace education. She is also the secretary of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao of MSU-IIT. She is a part of the Young Women Leaders + for Peace and Leadership, a nationwide network of young peacebuilders under the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. She also volunteers in the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership, and has several research articles published in internationally refereed and SCOPUS-indexed journals. Queenie’s research interests are in areas of women, peace, and security, public policy, and peace and conflict studies.

Richelle Verdeprado
Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Richelle Verdeprado is a Registered Social Worker (2nd placer in the 2011 Board Exam) by profession and is currently studying law. Richelle is the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Sowing Legacy Movement Inc., an organization she founded with her friends that offers scholarship programs and conducts outreach and developmental activities for the youth and partner communities. She is the author of ‘Love and Learning’ Book for a Cause and main author of “Leadership and Legacies.” She was recently awarded as an Outstanding Social Worker in the Philippines in the field of academe.

Dexter Yang
San Pablo City, Laguna

Dexter Yang is an advocate of good governance. He is actively involved in political economy research and public service. He is currently working with Ateneo School of Government as one of its research and project assistants. He founded two organizations advocating for inclusive youth leadership and empowerment through good governance: GoodGov and Sulong San Pablo in Laguna. He also actively participates in the San Pablo Youth Development Council. Dexter was recently accepted in the 2021 YSEALI Academic Fellowship for Civic Engagement in the University of Nebraska, Omaha.