Ernesto Pernia is the secretary of Socioeconomic Planning, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippines. He is also Professor Emeritus of Economics, having served as professor and chairman, School of Economics at the University of the Philippines (UP).

Pernia was lead economist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). His work experience covered investment climate and productivity, economic growth and poverty reduction, education and health, human resource development, and regional economic cooperation in Asia. He also served as regional adviser on population and employment policy for Asia and the Pacific with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

He served as chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of San Carlos (2011–2014), and as a director on the board of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (2008–2013). He is also on the boards of a number of nongovernment organizations involved in education and health concerns, population and development, and care of street children.

He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from the University of California Berkeley on a Ford Foundation scholarship and a Smithsonian Institution dissertation grant. He received the Outstanding Young Scientist (economics and social sciences) award from the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). He was chosen by the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering for the 2015 Science Lectureship Award. He was former president of the Philippine Economic Society and co-chair of the Federation of ASEAN Economic Associations (1988).

Pernia is the author of a number of books, articles in national and international professional journals, and chapters in books. He was an occasional contributor of public-interest commentaries to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business World, and The Philippine Star Science section.


Celia Reyes is the first female president of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). She specializes in the field of econometrics and has conducted and published numerous research and policy papers on poverty assessments and evaluations of social protection programs.

She is also the network leader of the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS), providing free technical assistance to local government units in the country in the implementation of the CBMS. The CBMS is a local poverty monitoring tool she developed under the Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic Adjustment Policies project.

As an expert in poverty research, Reyes has been engaged as project leader and resource person in various consultancy projects of international organizations. She also served as president of the Philippine Economic Society in 2011 and has been an adviser to various national government technical working groups on poverty monitoring and indicator systems in the country since the early 1990s. She is currently the chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Poverty Statistics convened by the Philippine Statistics Authority, as well as the editor-in-chief of the Philippine Journal of Development, PIDS’ multidisciplinary social science journal that publishes policy-oriented studies and researches on development issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

Reyes has a Master of Arts degree in Economics from UP and a PhD degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Coco Alcuaz is executive director of the Makati Business Club (MBC). Prior to joining MBC, he was bureau chief at Bloomberg News, business news head and anchor at ABS-CBN News Channel, and contributor at Rappler.

Stephen Ezell is vice president, Global Innovation Policy with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington DC-based science, technology, and economic policy think tank, where he focuses on technology and innovation policy as well as international competitiveness, trade, information and communications technology (ICT), and manufacturing policy issues. He is co-author with Dr. Robert Atkinson of Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (Yale, September 2012) and co-author of Innovating in a Service-Driven Economy: Insights, Application, and Practicee (Palgrave McMillan, November 2015). He has testified on topics including United States (US) competitiveness, innovation, manufacturing, and trade policy before the US Congress and the US International Trade Commission. His articles have appeared in Forbes, The Hill, Roll Call, The Futurist, and The International Economy, among others.

Ezell came to ITIF from Peer Insight, an innovation research and consulting firm he co-founded in 2003. He previously worked in the new product development group at the NASDAQ Stock Market and at the technology startup Brivo Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, with an Honors Certificate from Georgetown’s Landegger International Business Diplomacy program.

The mission of ITIF is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress. Its goal is to provide policymakers around the world with high-quality information, analysis, and recommendations they can trust. ITIF was ranked as the world’s leading science and technology think tank in the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania.

Yasuyuki Sawada is chief economist at the ADB and director-general of its Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department. He is the chief spokesperson for ADB on economic and development trends, and leads the production and dissemination of ADB’s flagship knowledge products, as well as ADB’s support for various regional cooperation fora such as ASEAN+3 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Before joining ADB, Sawada was professor of Economics at the University of Tokyo. He has worked at the ADB Institute in Tokyo and served as consultant for various projects at the World Bank Group. A leading figure in development economics and applied microeconometrics, he has served as a visiting professor at Stanford University’s Stanford Center for International Development and adjunct professor of Economics at Korea University. He did research in a variety of institutions, such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute and the World Bank, where he led a number of large-scale development policy evaluation projects in Asia and other developing countries.

His key research areas are macro- and microdevelopment economics, microeconometrics, economics of disasters, and field surveys and experiments. He obtained his PhD in Economics and his Master’s degree in International Development Policy from Stanford University.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is no neophyte to public service with his 15 years of experience marked by integrity and a relentless drive to serve his countrymen.

A former award-winning mayor and congressman of Valenzuela City, he made the move from the local political arena to the national stage after winning a seat in the Senate during the May 2016 elections.

As chairman of the Senate Committees on Energy, and Economic Affairs, respectively, his approach to running both committees has been united by a common theme— empowering consumers. The good senator has steered both committees in a pro-consumer direction, focusing on measures that will foster greater competition within critical industries, boost efficiency of services, and lower the costs shouldered by the general public.

To bring this legislative agenda to life, he has authored or sponsored several key measures, including the Recoverable System Loss Act, the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop Act, the Philippine Innovation Act, and the Benham Rise Development Authority Act.

And then, of course, there is education, the platform that propelled his rise in the polls during the 2016 election campaign. He has made good on his promise to pass legislation establishing a tuition-free scheme in state universities and colleges. The Senate has approved Senate Bill No. 1304 or Affordable Higher Education For All Act, a consolidated version of Senator Win’s Free Higher Education Act, a landmark legislation that would make education within reach of deserving but underprivileged students.

Gatchalian traces his educational foundation to the prestigious Boston University in Massachusetts, USA, where he graduated with a degree in Finance and Operations Management in 1995.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ayala Corporation, one of the largest business groups in the Philippines, with interests in real estate, banking, telecommunications, water, power, industrial technologies, infrastructure, health care, and education. Outside the Ayala Group, he is a member of various business and socio-civic organizations in the Philippines and abroad, including the JP Morgan International Council and Mitsubishi Corporation International Advisory Council. He was the Philippine representative to the APEC Business Advisory Council from 2010 to 2015.

He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit in 2009, the Philippine Legion of Honor with rank of Grand Commander in 2010, and the Order of Mabini with rank of Commander in 2015 by the president of the Philippines. In 2017, he was recognized as a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) pioneer for his work in sustainable business strategy and operations. The first SDG pioneer from the Philippines, he was 1 of 10 individuals recognized for championing sustainability and the pursuit of the 17 SDGs in business.

He received his Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1987.

Elmer Dadios is a Full Professor at the Manufacturing Engineering and Management Department, Gokongwei College of Engineering of De La Salle University. He is a University Fellow and holds the highest faculty rank of Full Professor 10. His research interests include artificial intelligence, evolutionary systems, fuzzy logic, manufacturing processes, neural networks, robotics, software engineering, automation, and intelligent systems.  

A prolific scholar, Dadios has authored/co-authored scientific and technical books and journal articles published in several highly reputable local and international journals, which include the IEEE Transactions on Systems Man and Cybernetics, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics (Fuji Technology Press), Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology (Inderscience Enterprises Ltd (online), Intelligent Information Management Journal, Scientific Research Open Access, International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Computer Games Technology (Hindawi Publishing Corporation), International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems (online), International Journal for Manufacturing Science and Technology, Philippine Science Letters, Journal of Control and Intelligent Systems (ACTA Press), Journal of Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy (Springer Verlag), International Journal of Human-Friendly Welfare Robotic Systems (KAIST Press),  International Journal of Knowledge-Based  Intelligent Engineering Systems, Journal of the Instrument and Control Engineer (Philippine Instrumentation and Control Society),  INHINYERIYA, International Journal of Engineering, The Manila Journal of Science, and Journal of Computational Innovations and Engineering Application (JCIEA).   

Dadios is a multi-awarded educator and scholar. His international awards include the Best Paper Presentation at the 27th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (Denver, USA, December 2001); and at the IECON-2000 Fellows at the IEEE International Conference on Industrial Electronics, Control and Instrumentation (Nagoya, Japan, October 2000). He was also a recipient of the Department of Science and Technology's 50 Men and Women of Science and Technology (2009) The DOST Scholar Achievers (2009), the National Research Council of the Philippines' Achievement Award (2010); and The National Academy of Science and Technology's Outstanding Scientific Paper Award (2011), among others.

Dadios has been a consultant for both the government and private corporations on software and hardware development in the area of robotics and intelligent systems application. He is the president of NEURONEMECH Incorporation.  Dadios is founder and past president of the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines.  He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE).

Dadios earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Mindanao State University in Marawi City, Philippines; and his Master of Science in Computer Science from De La Salle University.  He holds a PhD from the Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, United Kingdom.

Rafaelita Aldaba is assistant secretary of the Industry Development and Trade Policy Group (IDTPG) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). She fulfills a key role in the formulation and implementation of the new Philippine industrial policy and Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), formerly the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy (CNIS), including the Industry Roadmapping Project (IRP), the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP), and the rolling out of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program. She is in-charge of DTI’s initiatives in establishing an inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country, in coordination with other government agencies, industry, and the academe.
Prior to her appointment, Aldaba served as senior research fellow and acting vice-president of PIDS. She has extensive research experience and authored various publications on development issues in the Philippines and ASEAN. She has also conceptualized and managed research projects with various international organizations, including The World Bank, the ADB, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mia Mikic is director, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). She also coordinates the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), an open network of research and academic institutions and think tanks in the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, she was professor of International Economics at the University of Zagreb, and senior lecturer at the University of Auckland. She is the author of International Trade (Macmillan, 1998), co-author of Trade Statistics in Policymaking – A Handbook of Commonly Used Trade Indices and Indicators (United Nations, 2009), journal and technical papers, and has edited or co-edited several volumes, most recently with Bruno Jetin, ASEAN Economic Community – A Model for Asia-Wide Regional Integration? (Palgrave, 2016). She led a development of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Agreements Database of ESCAP which monitors trade performance of the trade agreements for the regional economies. She oversees the preparation of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report, a flagship publication of ESCAP in the area of trade and investment. Her current work focuses on the impacts of preferential and multilateral trade liberalization, services trade liberalization, nontariff protection, Aid for Trade, and evidence-based policymaking in trade. She has a Master’s degree in International Business from St. Mary’s College of California and a PhD degree in Economics from the University of Zagreb.

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