The UP College of Engineering held the Recognition Rites on August 1, 2023 at the Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City. The guest speaker was UPERDFI Member Mamerto “Mert” E. Tangonan from the BS Civil Engineering Class of 1984. Mert is the Deputy Governor of the Payments and Currency Management Sector of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. He greeted the thousands of young engineers from the Class of 2023, 2022, and 2021, together with their proud parents and grandparents.
He encouraged the graduates to pursue their dreams, working as entrepreneurs or in companies in their fields. They will experience bumps along the way, but their UP education should enable them to overcome these and succeed. He made a special request, that the graduates explore working with public-sector agencies, as these need bright minds to move things forward. He plugged that the BSP is a great place to do great work, as it is at the forefront of innovations in the digital payments space.
UPCOE Class of 2023 comprises of 876 graduates from the twelve Bachelor of Science degree programs of the College of Engineering. This is a gifted class, with 503 (67%) finishing with honors. There are 174 cum laude, 303 magna cum laude, and 106 summa cum laude. The Class Valedictorian (graduate with the highest GWA, 1.027), is Caelan Joseph Consing, a Mechanical Engineering major. UPERDFI gifted him with our Golden Anniversary Book.
The UP College of Engineering National Graduate School for Engineering held its Recognition Rites on July 27, 2023, at the Bahay ng Alumni, Quezon City. The guest speaker was UPERDFI Trustee Dr. Enrico “Eric” Paringit, BS Geodetic Engineering (1997) and MS Remote Sensing (1999). He finished his D.Eng degree at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He was a key scientist in DOST Project NOAH and the DOST DREAM LIDAR Project.
He admonished the MS and Ph.D. graduates to transform the country by undertaking research and development work. He reminded them to forge collaborations with partners in other disciplines so that holistic solutions may be germinated, and then thrive in a changing society. He cited that NGSE graduates should be creators of innovation that impact society.
The NGSE Class of 2023 is composed of 10 PhDs and 100 MS graduates. Alfonso Labao, a Ph.D. in Computer Science graduate, was the Class Standard Bearer and was gifted with the UPERDI Golden Anniversary Book. He will join the DCS faculty team.
IF YOU consider yourself always updated on developments in the investment and banking space in the country, you might have heard of Tonik Digital Bank, Inc. earlier this year.
Tonik Bank (launched
in beta mode in November 2020 and set to have its commercial launch in
the first quarter of 2021), is the first all-digital bank in the
Philippines and in Southeast Asia. It was established by Tonik Financial
Pte. Ltd. Singapore, a financial technology company.
the operations here in the Philippines is Maria Lourdes Jocelyn “Long”
Pineda, a Dabawenya who graduated with a degree in Business
Administration from the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU).
parents were well-known figures in the Davao City landscape – her
father, Mariano S. Solis Sr., used to be the chief of police of Davao
City during the administration of the late mayor (later congressman)
Elias B. Lopez; her mother, Lourdes Cura-Solis, was known for her
philanthropy and was a Datu Bago Awardee of Davao City, a University of
Santo Tomas Golden Awardee and the founder of Davao Boys Town.
joining Tonik, Pineda had over 25 years of financial inclusion
experience in the Philippines and in different global emerging markets
in Asia and Latin America.
After graduating from AdDU, she took her Masters in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
started her career in an investment bank and later moved to working
with a government agency involved in grassroots lending during the time
of former president Ferdinand Marcos until the year of the Edsa
revolution. After the Edsa revolution, she went into entrepreneurship
and established a gym along Ilustre Street, just on the floor above the
then Garmon Theater.
Slim & Trim ran successfully from 1986 to 2000. Many didn’t know
this about her, but in those years, she wasn’t just an entrepreneur
owning a gym in Davao City, she was also a licensed gym instructor and a
In those 15 years, Pineda was also an active member
of Datba (Davao All-Terrain Bikers Association), a group of mountain
bike aficionados in Davao City. She was their first female member.
While managing Slim & Trim and being physically active, she also had Japanese takeout counters in several malls in the city.
seems like banking wouldn’t let go of Pineda that easily. Their family
then owned a rural bank in Davao del Norte and she was asked to assist
its operations as compliance officer. Her daily schedule would start
with a 7 a.m aerobics class at Slim & Trim, travel to Davao del
Norte to oversee the bank’s operations, and then head back to Davao City
for a 6 p.m. aerobics class again.
After a hiatus from the
corporate world, she was invited to join the Microenterprise Access to
Banking Services (Mabs), a USAid-supported microfinance program as a
regional manager for Visayas. This was when her banking career started
to blossom yet again as after her stint with Mabs, she was then hired as
senior director by Boston-based Accion International. Here, she helped
set up the microfinance individual lending operations of Accion partners
in India where she was based for two years.
It was while she was
based in India that the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)
invited her to come back to the Philippines to set up RCBC’s
microfinance operation. This is when she decided to come back home.
should give back to the country. I thought it’s time to introduce to
the Philippine banking space the technology on microfinance I have
learned from working with Accion in India and Latin America,” Pineda
She joined RCBC as senior vice president spearheading the
unibank’s microfinance initiative. She was initially seconded as the
chief executive officer of the President Jose P. Laurel Rural Bank in
Batangas (a rural bank that RCBC had acquired), while at the same time
doing the initial groundwork for setting up Rizal Microbank, the
microfinance thrift bank of RCBC.
It was around this time that
she also decided to take an executive course on Strategic leadership on
microfinance at the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.
is good in your 20s when you are building up your career, but when
you’re older, it’s better to take executive courses to enhance one’s
skill set,” she said.
At RCBC, she headed the bank’s microfinance
initiative. She was also the founding president of Rizal Microbank, the
banking subsidiary of RCBC that focused on microfinance and financial
inclusion. She steered Rizal Microbank until her retirement in 2016.
these banking years, she decided to go home to Davao City and focus on
something else she loved best and to take a pause from banking.
and financial inclusion, however, remained something she was passionate
about, thus, she went into independent consulting and continued to
provide her technical skills to various institutions wanting to
contribute to financial inclusion in the country.
She became the
lead independent director of BDO Network Bank, a Go Negosyo mentor, and
an international consultant for MicroKonsult before accepting the post
of president and country manager for Tonik Digital Bank, Inc.
all those years in the banking industry, Pineda didn’t seem to mind
working in an environment that was largely dominated by men.
deal with my colleagues as an executive, not as a woman. I also find it
easier to deal with men because they’re more straightforward than women.
Women tend to sugarcoat so they don’t hurt your feelings, but with
guys, they usually say what they think so it’s really simple,” said
Pineda, who added that her mountain biking days surrounded by male
friends also helped.
Heading an all-digital bank is not easy and
required a lot of tech skills upgrade for Pineda, but her three banker
daughters, the youngest being 25 years old, helped her a lot. She is
also married to a banker.
“I like that at Tonik, I am surrounded
by young people. The average age in the office is 27 years old. With
young people, it’s easy to think out of the box and that, for me, is
interesting. I am forced to be techy and to keep up with the times,” she
The discovery of a new “spectacular, stunningly beautiful” orchid species in the Philippines was announced today, bringing new excitement to the fields of horticulture, biology, and conservation. The orchid was discovered in Bukidnon by Dr. Miguel David de Leon, a retinal surgeon and field biologist from Cagayan de Oro, and was named Aerides upcmae, after Dr. de Leon’s alma mater, the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.
The new species was published in the Orchideen Journal by Dr. de Leon along with co-authors Martin Motes, Jim Cootes, and Derek Cabactulan. “There are more than 1,100 orchid species in the Philippines and only 11 of these are Aerides species,” according to Cabactulan, “but Aerides upcmae is the most surprising of all the Philippine Aerides. It belongs to a section that has not been found outside of its range in mainland Southeast Asia.”
Due to habitat destruction and overcollection, it is especially rare to find large and highly attractive orchid species such as Aerides upcmae
in the Philippine wilderness. Orchids reflect ecological health and are
considered a sensitive bioindicator because they do not tolerate change
Moreover, the value to the horticultural field of this new discovery cannot be underestimated. Cootes, a prolific author considered to be the foremost authority on Philippine orchids, is confident that “this is an attractive addition to the hybrid ventures of many orchid nurseries. Efforts should be made to ensure that Aerides upcmae is preserved as the most important species that it is.”
For Dr. de Leon, selecting a name was personally significant: “The orchid genus Aerides literally means ‘children of the air.’ Naming this new species of Aerides after the UP College of Medicine is quite fitting for my Class 1995 and all of UPCM are children of our alma mater, schooled and nurtured by her not just for five academic years but for life.
“Academic excellence, moral virtues and selfless service are some of
the hallmarks of UPCM. Throughout history, doctors from the college have
played key roles in serving our country. During peacetime and
wartime—WWII and, now, COVID-19–UP doctors remain charged and ready to
serve,” said Dr. de Leon. “It is with deep affection and gratitude that
Class 1995 honors its alma mater and all of you who are UPCM with this
spectacular species, Aerides upcmae.”
The UPCM Class of 1995 is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In January, the formal launch of their homecoming year was highlighted by the dedication of two other Aerides species, Aerides turma and Aerides turma fma. anniversarius. The announcement of the discovery of Aerides upcmae was released in time for their final festivities.
As Manila and Tokyo celebrate the 64th anniversary of the
normalization of the Philippines-Japan relations on July 23, 2020, a
ranking officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) takes us back
in time to remember the late Victor A. Lim, one of the pioneering
Filipinos who helped plant and nurture the ties between the two
countries that are now “bearing fruits and is in full bloom.”
an essay, Geronimo Suliguin, Assistant Director at the Maritime and
Ocean Affairs Office of the DFA, narrated the utmost efforts made by Lim
toward the cause of friendship and cooperation between the Philippines
and Japan, for which the latter earned the distinguished Third Order of
the Sacred Treasure bestowed by the Emperor of Japan in 1986.
Born on November 13, 1923, Lim was a consistent honor student and
graduated cum laude in Mechanical Engineering at the University of the
Philippines in 1948. After earning his degree, Victor took his Master of
Science degree also in mechanical engineering at the prestigious
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1949 and attended MBA
modules at the Harvard Business School in 1950.
Pioneering the ‘Case Method’
On his return to the country, Lim became part of the University of
the Philippines’ graduate business school, introducing the case method
in 1952, and soon after, at the Ateneo. In 1968, at the infancy stage of
the Asian Institute of Management, Lim was invited to join the AIM and
later to become its Professor Emeritus in 2008. As a founding faculty of
AIM and the Master in Management (MM) program, Lim was known as “Mr.
The AIM’s Victor Lim Award for Professional Excellence that lauds
outstanding faculty members for their contributions to building and
developing the quality and reputation of the Institute and its graduates
was thus named after him.
Serving the industry and government
With the merger of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (CCP)
and the Philippine Chamber of Industries (PCI) in 1978, Lim was elected
to the 15-man charter board to formulate the constitution and by-laws of
the newly established Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Aside from the PCCI, he would later become president of other
influential groups such as the Management Association of the Philippines
(MAP), National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA), and the
Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME).
In 1993 during the Ramos administration, Lim served as chairman of
the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), including all its
subsidiary companies, a position he held until 1996.
He planned and implemented the privatization of military bases
including Fort Bonifacio and Camp John Hay. At that time, Lim envisioned
the new high-tech complex, Fort Bonifacio, as the “best alternative to
Hong Kong yet.”
As BCDA chair, Lim joined Damaso Bangoet Jr. of the John Hay-Poro
Point Development Corporation (JPDC) in introducing the Panagbenga
Festival in 1995, an initiative to improve the economy and tourism
industry in Baguio City following the 1990 earthquake.
Healing war wounds
Lim was a recipient of Pacific War ribbons from both the Philippine and US Armies.
Suliguin noted that it was in post-war years when Lim got involved in
efforts to “heal the wounds” between the Philippines and Japan by
accepting appointments in various positions leading towards that goal.
It was in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was ratified
formalizing the end of hostilities between the Philippines and Japan.
This was closely followed by the Reparations Agreement in 1956, both
leading to restored normal relations with Japan.
“In 1957, Lim accepted an appointment in the War Reparations
Committee and got involved in the inspection and rehabilitation of
Japanese machine tools. Two years later, in 1959, he returned as a
Technical Consultant for the Committee in its efforts to expedite the
disposal of Advance Japanese Reparations. In 1969, Lim became the
Commissioner General of the Philippine Participation to the 1970 Japan
World Exposition,” Suliguin wrote.
Nurturing Philippine-Japan ties
One of Lim’s most outstanding contributions was in cultivating a
people-to-people relationships with Japan, highlighted by his stint as
Philippine Commissioner General to the 1970 World Expo World’s Fair held
in Osaka, Japan. It provided him the opportunity to work closely with
then Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III. The
Philippine government awarded him with the Philippine Cultural Heritage
Medal also in 1970 for this particular feat.
A year after the World Expo, Lim became one of the incorporators of
the Philippines-Japan Society when it was established in 1971 and became
its President for seven years from 1985-1992. He was also a founder and
one of the “trustees for life” of the Philippines-Japan Friendship
Foundation. Lim was also one of the founders of the Philippine Institute
of Japanese Language & Culture Foundation, Inc. and the Nihongo
Center Foundation Inc.
While serving as President of the Philippines-Japan Society, Lim also
served as Chairman of the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation
Committee (PHILJEC) for two years from 1991 to 1993 and acted as
Chairman/co-Chairman of the Joint Meetings with his counterparts from
the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee (JPECC).
In 1991, Lim was recognized with a Medal of Merit for his Outstanding
Achievement in the Promotion of Relations between the two countries by
the Philippines-Japan Society, Inc.
“Lim died six years (July 7, 2014) ago but the seed he helped plant and nurture throughout his life is bearing fruits and is in full bloom,” said Suliguin, a former Oxford University scholar who has also written extensive essays on the life and times of Dr. Jose P. Rizal while in Europe.
The UP System – Office of Alumni Relations (UPS-OAR) organized the Alumni Relations Committee (ARC) Convention on November 07-08, 2019 at the F. Benitez Hall Alumni Center, UP Diliman. The 2-day convention resolved database issues and concerns; and established a long-lasting partnership between OAR and Registrar Offices in seamlessly providing and exchanging information of UP alumni. Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia chaired the standing committee, with Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs and Director for Alumni Relations Rica D. Abad as Vice Chair.
The ARC Convention was attended by the Directors from OAR, University Registrars, Principals from UPIS, UPHS Cebu, UPHS Iloilo, UPHS Los Baños, UP Computer Center for CRS, and UP Information Technology Development Center (ITDC) for SAIS.
Manila, Philippines – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), hosted a hackathon last August 30 to September 1 called Hack4Rice. The main focus of this is to research on rice within the country. Located at the IRRI Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, the theme for this year’s Hack4Rice is “Advancing Rice Research Through Tech and Innovation,” aiming to bring people with diverse backgrounds together and nurture a community of collaboration and innovation.
Participants had the opportunity to interact with IRRI staff involved in rice research and operations, external partners, and so much more who can provide valuable insights and have a thorough knowledge about the pain points that the hackathon hopes to help alleviate. With the exception of those from outside the Philippines joining remotely, participants got to experience the idyllic scenery of Los Baños, wonderful food, and the peace and quiet an escape from the urban jungles brings.
Through Hack4Rice 2019, the opportunity to expand their reach became available as the participants got to interact with people coming from different fields. As the hackathon aimed to provide the participants with as near a glimpse of the world of rice research, there are a lot of opportunities to ensure impact through what you build.
Team Pilapil, who are Allison Gacad, Maria Beatriz Marasigan, Kristel Diane Artificio (from left to right), are students and graduates from the University of British Columbia, UP Manila, and UP Los Baños, respectively. The team landed in second place with a mobile app which serves as a career guide to high school students who’s about to enter college. It includes potential careers, universities, scholarships, and majors related to agriculture. It also has a personality quiz which will analyze the results to give a recommendation of a career that you will possibly fit in.
The other teams that participated were Team Blu, who won 1st-Place, and Team Croppynet that bagged 3rd-Place. A special award was also given to Team Humaygosh, with an artificial intelligence platform where crop breeders can upload their data, use developed tools to easily visualize their data, run machine learning algorithms, and collaborate with different domain experts to solve challenging problems in the field.
“Agriculture is a commonly overlooked field, but it no longer has to be with Pilapil. Students who wish to take up agriculture for college will now be more informed on what steps to take next in order to pursue a career in the industry,” said Sofia Galve, a co-founder of Ambidextr.
Hack4Rice a great opportunity to develop collaboration not only between teammates but with other participants and stakeholders thereby nurturing an environment for empowerment.
The International Rice Research Institute is dedicated to abolishing poverty and hunger among people and populations that depend on rice-based agri-food systems. Through our work and partnerships, we aim to improve the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers; promote environmental sustainability in a world challenged by climate change; and support the empowerment of women and the youth in the rice industry.
This year’s Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos have been presented during a press conference held on August 8 in Taguig City. As a career-service award for Filipino exemplars in the academe, military, and police sectors—ten (10) Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos were presented, composed of 4 teachers, 3 soldiers, and 3 police officersto the members of the media. Each awardee will be awarded with a cash prize of PhP 1 million each (net of tax), a golden medallion, and “The Flame” trophy during the formal conferment ceremonies on September 4 at the Metrobank Plaza in Makati City as part of Metrobank’s 57th anniversary celebration.
A Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino is steered by the value of “Beyond Excellence”, raising the bar of excellence in their respective fields. Their contributions speak of service beyond one’s self — but to their sectors and in the larger community, inspiring their peers. Their service and community involvements have helped shape better communities and created a lasting positive impact upon the people.
Recipients of the 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Award for Teachers are : (1) Dorothy S. Tarol, Ph.D., Master Teacher II, Special Education-Integrated School for Exceptional Children (SPED-ISEC) (Iloilo City); (2) Cristina B. Cristobal, Ph.D., Special Science Teacher 5, Philippine Science High School Main Campus (Quezon City); (3) Ricardo T. Jose, Ph.D. Professor 12, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman (Quezon City); (4) Eva Maria C. Cutiongco-Dela Paz, M.D., Professor 10, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila (City of Manila).
Recipients of the 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Award for Soldiers are: (5)Master Sergeant Ramil A. Caporas PA, Team Supervisor, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, Army Support Command, Philippine Army, Camp Servillano Aquino (Tarlac City); (6) Major Romulo G. Dimayuga II PN (M), Former Operations and Training Officer, Force Reconnaissance Group (formerly Marine Special Operations Group), Headquarters Philippine Marine Corps, Fort Bonifacio (Taguig City); (7) Lieutenant Colonel John Paul D. Baldomar PA, Chief, Current Operations Branch, Internal Security Operations Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp Aguinaldo (Quezon City).
Recipients of the 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Award for Police Officers are: (8) Police Chief Master Sergeant Marsha T. Agustin, RSW, Investigator, Women and Children Protection Center, Philippine National Police Headquarters, Camp Crame (Quezon City); (9) Police Major Robert A. Reyes, Technical Support Officer, Counter Intelligence Task Force, Philippine National Police Headquarters, Camp Brigadier General Rafael T. Crame, Quezon City; (10) Police Colonel Edwin A. Quilates, Provincial Director, Batangas Police Provincial Office, Camp Miguel C. Malvar (Batangas City).
“We believe that the call to recognize excellence resonates truer than ever as we celebrate Metrobank Foundation’s 40th year founding anniversary this year. We sustain our commitment to honor exemplary servants from the academe, military, and police sectors whose stories inspire action and whose contributions to society represent the best in our people,” said Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña.
The awardees underwent a rigorous selection process and were chosen from hundreds of nominations. A Board of Assessors, composed of members from the government, academe, military, and NGO sectors, identified semi-finalists through a review of documents submitted. Eighteen (18) finalists were chosen whose accomplishments in service and community underwent the field validation process spearheaded by third-party organizations–the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC) and the Career Executive Service Board (CESB). This process verified the significant contributions of the finalists to their respective fields and communities of influence.
The 18 finalists were interviewed by a multi-sectoral Final Board of Judges chaired by Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian and co-chaired by Supreme Court of the Philippines associate justice Alexander Gesmundo. The members include: Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi chairman Eduardo Del Rosario; University of Asia & the Pacific president Dr. Winston Conrad Padojinog; Military Ordinariate of the Philippines bishop Most Reverend Oscar Jaime Florencio, D.D; PHINMA Corporation president and vice chairman and Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) chairman Ramon Del Rosario, Jr.; Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. treasurer Jaime Bautista; Management Association of the Philippines president and Sun Life Financial Philippine Holding Company chairman Rizalina Mantaring; and GMA Network, Inc. vice president for professional development and broadcast journalist Horacio “Howie” Severino.
Dr. Tarol is cited for championing inclusive education especially through her action research designed to enhance basic literacy skills of learners with hearing impairment. Dr. Cristobal is honored for promoting Philippine history among her students through an approach that encourages hands-on experience with the use of primary sources. Dr. Jose is acclaimed for being the country’s foremost scholar on the World War II in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific. Dr. Cutiongco-Dela Paz is cited for her prolific work on clinical genetics and shedding light on genetic disorders.
Meanwhile, MSgt. Caporas is lauded for developing an improvised explosive instrumental to the successful operations during the Marawi siege. Maj. Dimayuga is feted for his role in the successful counter-communist insurgency efforts in areas formerly associated with high insurgency rate. Lt. Col. Baldomar is recognized for his leadership in his organization’s transformation journey.
PCMS. Agustin integrated social work in her profession and co-authored the manual widely used by the country’s police forces when handling human trafficking cases. PMaj. Reyes is credited for his expertise in cybercrime investigation and his efforts to equip his peers with the knowledge on trafficking in person intelligence and investigation. PCol. Quilates initiated a strategy that effectively mobilizes local forces, leading to the successful arrests of notorious criminals and resulting to lower crime rate in his province.
Since 1985, the Metrobank Foundation has honored a total of 665 Outstanding Filipinos. The program is held in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), PSBank, Rotary Club of Makati Metro, and the Rotary Club of New Manila East.
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named former University of the Philippines president Emil Javier as the nation’s latest national scientist.
Duterte conferred Javier the Order of National Scientist through Proclamation No. 781 released on Thursday.
“[T]he works of Emil Q. Javier, Ph.D., in the field of agriculture,
through spearheading the Institute of Plant Breeding which popularized
high-yielding crops and disease -resistant varieties in the country and
in Asia, evinces his outstanding contributions to the progress of
science and technology in the Philippines and the world,” the
The proclamation added that Javier “led and promoted sound
agricultural policies and programs, massive utilization of climate-
resilient and environment- friendly agricultural innovations, and
improved governance and management system to help improve the livelihood
of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk.”
It said Javier, “in the pursuit of his lifelong mission to look after
the needs of the poor by capitalizing on the resources of modern
science, played an active role in the efforts to inform the public about
the nature of science and its potential to improve people’s access to
food and health, and to emphasize the need for high safety standards in
both research and production of biotechnological innovations.”
Javier served as the 17th UP president from 1993 to 1999.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, earned his master’s degree from the University of Illinois and a doctorate degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Cornell University.
PIONEERING flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has a new chief pilot on the seat.
PAL made the formal announcement of its new leader at 3 pm, saying
the 15-man PAL Board had “unanimously approved” the choice of Gilbert
Santa Maria, a “handpicked nominee of PAL Chairman and CEO Dr. Lucio C.
Tan,” as president and chief operating officer.
Earlier, two separate sources on the PAL board of directors confirmed
that Santa Maria, a veteran in establishing and managing business
process outsource (BPOs) companies, is the new president and chief
operating officer of the airline.
“[He starts work] today,” said one source who requested not to be
identified as he was not authorized to speak on the matter. Another
source, who requested anonymity, said “there were other candidates [but
Santa Maria seems] more experienced in management. He came highly
recommended. And he looks more confident.”
Both sources declined to say who were, and how many other candidates
were considered by the board. But one source underscored, “it’s a 10-man
Corporate Governance Committee [who went over the candidates’
qualifications], to ensure maximum compliance.”
Other sources also averred that Santa Maria was recommended by a
headhunter with a note on his massive “corporate turnaround experiences
from PepsiCo [which he used to manage in the Philippines], and other
companies. He also has extensive experience in corporate
Prior to joining PAL, Santa Maria was in the information technology
and services industry, having been COO of the US-based Ibex Global
Solutions, and was also responsible for driving business of eTelecare,
HERE IS PAL’S OFFICIAL STATEMENT:
The board of directors of Philippine Airlines (PAL) today (July 29, 2019) confirmed the appointment of Gilbert F. Santa Maria as the flag carrier’s new President and Chief Operating Officer.
The 15-man PAL board, in its regular meeting at the Century Park Hotel – Manila unanimously approved Santa Maria, a handpicked nominee of PAL Chairman and CEO Dr. Lucio C. Tan.
In a brief message, Dr. Tan enjoined the PAL team to support Santa Maria as he embarks on his new role as president and COO.
“I call on all PAL executives and staff to support Gilbert Santa
Maria. Let’s work together and help him face PAL’s many challenges,” the
For his part, Santa Maria said he considers it a privilege to serve the country’s flag carrier. He urged his fellow PAL workers to help him achieve Dr. Tan’s vision of making Philippine Airlines the airline of choice across all markets it serves.
“PAL is the airline that meets the needs of local and global travelers by showcasing our brand’s main strength — the passion for safety and service. Maintaining the current level of service is important and of course, profitability. Let us do our share to make PAL reach greater heights. I will be with you every step of the way,” he added.
PAL EVP and Chief Administrative Officer Vivienne K. Tan said, “It is
important for my father’s vision to be translated into PAL
providing consistent quality service to our customers and also, the flag
carrier serving as a means to contribute to nation-building. With this
new leadership, we will accomplish this further.”
The new airline President has three decades of executive management and leadership experience gained across multiple industries in companies around the world.
For the last 15 years, he was a key leader and contributor in the Philippines’ highly successful BPO industry. Until early 2018 he was COO of Washington, DC-based BPO company Ibex Global and was responsible for its 18,000 employees around the World. Before IBEX, he was COO and CFO of IQ BackOffice, a California-based Finance & Accounting outsourcer that was an investee company of LiveIt Investments, Ayala Corporation’s BPO holding company.
He supported the governance of LiveIt’s investee companies as a member of the boards of IQ BackOffice; Integreon, a London-based KPO; and Stream, a leading Massachusetts-based global Call Center company. Before this, he led Corporate Development for Stream, having joined its leadership after its 2009 merger with Arizona-based eTelecare Global Solutions, where he led Corporate Development and eTelecare’s 11,000-employee Philippine Operations through the integration of the two companies. He joined the startup eTelecare in 2004.
Prior to joining the BPO industry, Santa Maria helped lead a Singapore-based internet 1.0 startup called Similan.com. He was Executive Director of Argosy Partners, which was organized by Filipino business leaders in the wake of the Asian Currency Crisis in 1998 to be the Philippine affiliate of global Private Equity funds like Warburg Pincus, Chase Capital and GE Investments. He was one of the youngest General Managers of Pepsi Cola Products Philippines’ Manila Operations.
He was also a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton in
New York where he led various strategy and operations consulting
engagements for global clients like P&G, J&J, BOC of the UK and
BHP of Australia. He started his career as a management trainee in
production and engineering at Unilever in Manila.
Santa Maria is leaving his Los Angeles-based advisory firm to join Philippine Airlines in Manila. He has a Master’s in Public and Private Management from the Yale University School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He was born and raised in Mindanao.