Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara
Chairperson, Ways and Means Committee
Senator Sonny Angara is among the newly elected senators of the 16th Congress, having received more than 16 million votes in May 2013. He strongly believes in the potential of every Filipino to succeed, so long as they are given the right opportunities in life, as encapsulated in his campaign slogan “Angara ng Pinoy.”
He has vowed to push for policies and measures that aim to provide opportunities and empower people primarily through access to quality education and employment generation. And true to his word, in his first year as senator, he has filed, among others, the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education (UNIFAST) Act for greater and more targeted scholarships; the School Modernization and Innovation Act; a bill raising the salaries of teachers; the Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Act which; and, the Bill of Rights for New Graduates which seeks to assist each new graduate with employment and business opportunities.
As the present chair of the Senate ways and means committee, Sonny is for pro-poor and pro-family legislation to strengthen the Philippine state and Filipino families by having more equitable and progressive tax system—one that helps build the middle class. Among the tax reforms he is pushing are the reduction of the individual and corporate income tax rates, the adjustment of the 13th month pay ceiling, and the inclusion of education expenses and first family home as tax deductions.
He also currently chairs the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports where he is actively pushing for greater support for Filipino athletes. At the same time, he is the vice chair of the Senate committees on tourism, foreign affairs, labor, employment and human resources development, and science and technology.
Sonny served three terms as representative of the Lone District of Aurora Province from 2004 to 2013 and is proud of having been a part of the province’s transformation from a provincial backwater to a growing tourist, agribusiness and investment destination.
In his nine-year stint as a congressman, he was regularly awarded by various publications as an outstanding congressman and was recognized as the most prolific in the 14th Congress where he authored into law several bills of national importance such as: the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (RA 9994); the Salary Standardization Law 3 which increases the salaries of government employees; RA 9504 which exempts minimum wage-earners from paying income taxes; the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710); and, the Tourism Act of 2009 (RA 9593).
Sonny also served as chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education where he authored or sponsored several important measures in the fields of education and health such as the K-12 law (RA 10533), the Kindergarten law (RA 10157), and the Universal Healthcare law (RA 10606). Sonny also sponsored laws that would create state universities and colleges in less developed provinces such as Catanduanes, Quirino, Negros, Cotabato, Kalinga Province, Compostela Valley, among others.
In his three terms as congressman, he funded thru his priority development assistance fund the construction of over 300 classrooms, the education of over 3,000 scholars, and the treatment of over 12,000 patients in 11 government hospitals.
For his achievements, Sonny was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men for government service and legislation in 2010—the first public servant to be recognized for achievement in legislation.
Before entering politics, he had already experienced life as a business reporter/writer, bank clerk, and apprentice at the Philippine mission to the United Nations in New York. While in politics, he found time to teach law and write columns for newspapers.
Sonny was born in July 1972 to former Senate President Edgardo Angara of Baler, Aurora and teacher Gloria Manalang of Pampanga.
He took up his elementary and high school studies at Xavier School, and finished his undergraduate degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics graduating with honors. He went on to study law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and became a member of the Philippine bar in 2001. In 2003, Sonny earned his Master of Laws degree from the Harvard Law School, USA—one of only three Filipinos accepted that year.
He is happily married with three children. He enjoys playing sports, reading and traveling.
Economic Outlook 2015 and Beyond Running the Last Mile: Growth and Reforms to 2016
Sec. Arsenio M. Balisacan
Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary of the Republic of the Philippines
Dr. Arsenio M. Balisacan is Professor and former Dean of the University of the Philippines School of Economics, Adjunct Professor of Australian National University, and Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology.
He is presently the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority and concurrently the Socio-Economic Planning Secretary of the Republic of the Philippines.
On secondment from UP, he was the Director (Chief Executive) of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in 2003-2009 and Undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture in 2000-2001 and 2003. While in Government, he was the country’s chief negotiator in the WTO Agriculture Negotiations and in various bilateral agriculture negotiations. Before joining the faculty of the University of the Philippines in 1987, he was Research Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu and Economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
He has served as adviser and expert in poverty, food security, agricultural and rural development, human development, impact assessment, and governance issues to public chief executives and legislators, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral development institutions, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and various United Nations agencies.
He is the author or co-editor of 7 books and has published about 100 academic papers and book chapters. His book publications include Poverty, Urbanization, and Development Policy (UP Press), The Dynamics of Regional Development (Edward Elgar, UK, co-edited with H. Hill),Reasserting the Rural Development Agenda (ISEAS, Singapore, co-edited with N. Fuwa), and The Philippine Economy (Oxford University Press, New York, co-edited with H. Hill). He founded and continues to serve as the Editor of the Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, an internationally refereed journal.
He has held leadership positions in professional associations, including serving as President of the Philippine Economic Society in 2006, President of the Human Development Network in 2003-2009, Founding Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Agricultural Policy Forum in 2003-2006, and Executive Secretary of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2003-2009. Currently, he is President of the Asian Society of Agricultural Economists.
He teaches Development Economics, Agricultural Economics, and Special Topics on Poverty, Inequality, and Institutions.
Mr. Rogier van den Brink
Lead Economist, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Department (PREM) East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank
Rogier van den Brink is a Lead Economist in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Department (PREM) of the East Asia and Pacific Region of the World Bank since October 2008. He oversees the PREM work in the Philippines and leads the Bank’s economic analysis on the country including the Philippines Quarterly Update. Prior to his assignment in the Philippines, Mr. van den Brink also served as lead economist for Mongolia.
He has been with the World Bank since 1992. Before joining the East Asia Region, he worked in various positions in the Africa Region, including as Senior Country Economist in South Africa; Deputy Resident Representative in Zimbabwe; and Special Assistant to the Vice Presidents.
He holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, and a Masters degree in sociology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Before joining the World Bank, he was a Research Associate at Cornell University and an Associate Expert with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in Burkina Faso. His academic publications include “Economic Policy and Household Welfare During Crisis and Adjustment in Tanzania” (New York University Press, 1993); and “The Economics of Cain and Abel” in The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3, February 1995, which was awarded the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize for the best written article in The Journal of Development Studies in 1995.
On land reform, his publications include: “Agricultural Land Redistribution: Toward Greater Consensus.” (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development: Washington DC, 2009); “In Search of Land and Housing in the New South Africa: the Case of Ethembalethu.” (World Bank, Washington DC: 2008), on the basis of which a video case study was made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZxXsG6mO3g; and “Consensus, Confusion and Controversy: Selected Land Reform Issues in Sub-Saharan Africa” (World Bank, Washington D.C., 2005).
Mr. Shanaka Jayanath Peiris
Resident Representative, International Monetary Fund
Shanaka Jayanath (Jay). Peiris is the International Monetary Fund’s Resident Representative to the Philippines. Prior to this he was a Senior Economist in the Asia and Pacific Department, and Monetary and Capital Markets Department of the IMF covering ASEAN countries and South Asia. During the last 12 years at the IMF, he has also worked on Eastern and Southern Africa, Bhutan, Vietnam and Yemen.
He joined the Economist Program at the IMF in 2001 after completing his D. Phil (PhD) in Economics at Oxford University as a British Chevening Scholar and a Light Senior Scholar at St. Catherines’ College, Oxford. He was also lecturer in Mathematical Economics and Econometrics at Sommerville College and Jesus College, Oxford. Earlier on, he interned at Deutsche Bank A.G. and the World Bank. He has published academic journal papers on a wide range of topics including inclusive growth, monetary policy and inflation, bond markets, banking and finance, macroeconomic models for emerging markets and co-authored a book on Post-Stabilization Economics in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Fair Competition, Transparency & Procurement: Attracting European Investments to the Philippines
Amb. Guy Ledoux
Head, European Union Delegation to the Philippines
Guy Ledoux, born in Strasbourg (France), joined the European Commission in 1990 after earning a PhD in Economics from the University of Montpellier and working for several years as a consultant for the OECD and the World Bank.
From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Ledoux was head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei.
During his assignment in headquarters between 2005 and 2007 he worked in the European Neighbourhood Policy department, developing new financial instruments for the region.
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Ledoux was deputy Head of the European Commission Delegation in South Korea. His mission included the representation of the EU in high level missions to North Korea.
From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Ledoux worked in the Middle East Department and was in charge of relations with Israel. He oversaw the launch of the EU -Israel Association Agreement and the first EU-Israel Association Council.
In 1995, Mr. Ledoux as deputy Head of the European Commission Delegation in Tunisia, oversaw the launch of the EU -Tunisia Free Trade Agreement and a major assistance programme. He remained in Tunisia until 1999.
Between 1992 and 1994 he was posted in the Asia Department working on Asia-Europe strategic relations. He concurrently was responsible for the Philippines Desk.
Mr. Ledoux is married to Margaret, a British citizen holding a Masters in Public Health and former World Health Organization consultant. They have two children.
Long Term Growth, Equity and Piketty
Dr. Raul Fabella
National Scientist, Professor- UP School of Economics
Dr. Fabella headed the UP School of Economics three times and was among those who advocated the revised general education curriculum which allowed students to choose their subjects. For Economics, he designed an introductory course that combined economics with history and the history ideas which required students to read classic works. Fabella himself is a man of letters, having mastered Latin classics.
Dr Raul V. Fabella was recently awarded National Scientist for being an outstanding economist. He is “recognized for his pioneering work on novel analytic constructs useful for problems in economics, and the introduction of sub-symmetric sets which resulted in extending the reach of the celebrated Nash bargaining solution to more egalitarian (Rawlsian)grounds. He also proposed the Olson ratio which enriches the rent-seeking paradigm and derived and applied the debt-adjusted real exchange rate which enlarges the pool of relevant indicators for exchange rate policy.”
Dr. James Roumasset
Professor, University of Hawaii
Prof. James Roumasset is a Professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii. His research interests include environmental & resource economics, institutional economics, public finance and development microeconomics in developing countries. His publications and competitive grants in recent years have focused on new methods for resource and environmental policy analysis and promoting new connections between and within disciplines. He has spent a number of years in the Philippines studying risk and agriculture. His dissertation “Risk and Choice of Techniques for Peasant Agriculture and the Case of Philippine Rice Farmers” won the first place in 1973 Omicron Delta Epsilon Society competition for best US Ph.D. dissertation in economics. He has previously held positions at UC Davis, the University of the Philippines, ANU, Yale, the University of Maryland, the International Rice Research Institute, and the World Bank. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Western Economic Association International and the editorial boards of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Contemporary Economic Policy, Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, Asian Journal of Agricultural Economics, and SE Asian Journal of Agricultural Economics. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mr. Siegfried Herzog
Regional Director, Friedrich Naumann Foundation- South Asia
Siggi Herzog is the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Regional Director for Southeast and East Asia, and is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to this, he was Regional Director for South Asia where he stayed in New Delhi, India after moving from Manila, Philippines where he served as Country Director from 2005-2010.
Siggi graduated with a Masters in Economics from Eberhard-Karls University Tuebingen,Germany. He started his tertiary studies researching on framework conditions for industrial investment in Bangladesh. He also became an exchange student at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA.