Rizal Buendia, Ph.D


Rizal G. Buendia, Ph.D, is an independent political analyst, consultant, and researcher in Southeast Asian Politics and International Development, Wales, UK, and a former Teaching Fellow at the Politics and International Studies Department and the Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He was the previous Chair of the Political Science Department at De La Salle University in Manila, Senior Lecturer at the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG)-University of the Philippines-Diliman, and Special Lecturer at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

He authored the book, Ethnicity and Sub-nationalist Independence Movements in the Philippines and Indonesia: Implications for Regional Security (2002) and published four (4) major monographs on Bangsamoro, ASEAN, and regional geopolitics. He also contributed several articles that saw print in international refereed journals and wrote book chapters in the areas of ethno-nationalism, Bangsamoro politics, indigenous peoples’ rights, conflict management, regional cooperation, Southeast Asian governance, public administration, human rights, democracy, and social policies.

Dr. Buendia was a recipient of the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Republica Award both at the Regional (NCR) and National levels in the Social Science, Economics, Education and Humanities category in 2007. He also held the Ambassador Carlos J. Valdes Professorial Chair in Political Economics, the Alfredo S. Lim II Distinguished Professorial Chair in Public Administration, the Yuchengco Professorial Chair in Southeast Asian Studies, and Visiting Professor at the Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (WIAPS) Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.

He is currently a member of the International Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of Criminology (Melbourne, Australia), Founding Member of the Asian Criminological Society (Beijing, China), and former Editor in Chief of the Asia Pacific Social Science Journal. He is also member of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), Asian Political and International Studies Association (APISA), the International Political Science Association (IPSA), and the Phi Gamma Mu International Honor Society-Beta Chapter.

Dr Buendia also provided project consultancy services to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-Bangkok), World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), CANADA-ASEAN Governance Innovations Network-Institute on Governance (CAGIN), Canada International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Center (IDRC), the International Technology and Management Corp. (INTEM), and Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), among others.

He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Political Science at the National University of Singapore (NUS) under the NUS by-research Ph.D. scholarship and earned his Master of Public Administration (MPA) with Highest Distinction at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (National College of Public Administration and Governance [NCPAG]).

Alvin Camba, PhD


Dr. Alvin A. Camba earned his doctorate degree from the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Paramadina Institute for Public Policy in Indonesia. From Spring to Summer 2019, he was a GCI Fellow at the Global Development Policy Center (GDPC) at Boston University.

Using mixed-methods approaches, he investigates the relationship between capital inflows and elite collective action. Focusing on the Philippines and maritime Southeast Asia more broadly, his research explores three interrelated themes: (1) elite conflict or consolidation around new capital, (2) illicit capital and offshore financial centers, and (3) the political economy of development.

His research has been awarded multiple best graduate research paper awards by sections of the American Sociological Association (ASA), published in high-ranking academic journals (e.g. Development and Change, Environmental Policy and Governance, and Journal of Agrarian Change), and consulted by Southeast Asian politicians and technocrats. His projects have been funded by the National Endowment of Democracy, Southeast Asia Research Group, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, The Smith Richardson Foundation, and a number of other academic networks. Apart from academic publishing, he also contributes to popular outlets and think tank reports. He has been cited and/or interviewed by The Financial Times, Bloomberg, the South China Morning Post, the Wall Street Journal, Nikkei Asian Review, NPR, and other news outlets. He has also spoken at universities, think tanks, international organizations, state institutions, and political risk firms (e.g. World Bank, US Embassy Manila, and AidData).

Dr. Camba is incoming Assistant Professor at the Korbel School of the University of Denver.

Jose Antonio Custodio


Jose Antonio A. Custodio is a security and defense consultant.  He has served as a consultant for the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Office of the President. He specializes in military history and has post-graduate studies in history from the University of the Philippines. He also occasionally teaches history and political science at several universities in Metro Manila.

Danilo Lorenzo delos Santos

DLSDanilo Lorenzo S. delos Santos is a Ph.D research student at the University of Tokyo, earning his degree of International Public Policy under the Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSSP) through the Monbukagusho Scholarship – Japanese Government.

He is currently Non-Resident Fellow on Global Politics of the Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute and a frequent contributor for broadsheets, Philippine Star and BusinessWorld, on topics of geopolitics, global finance, as well as domestic issues and governance.

He is the sole author of the K-12 textbook, “Community Engagement, Solidarity, and Citizenship”, and the co-author of an upcoming textbook for the tertiary level on the topic of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. As an author, he is a member of the National Book Development Board.

Before pursuing his Ph.D. studies, he was the former Research Manager of the Stratbase Group and was a former Assistant Professor of De la Salle University under the Departments of International Studies, Political Science, and Decision Science & Innovation, handling both teaching and administrative tasks. Moreover, he handled modules for the Ateneo Center for Continuing Education and the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Before becoming a full-fledged academic, he served under the Office of the President during the term of former President Benigno S. Aquino III as Desk Officer for Money Laundering and Economic Crimes for the Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime.

He attained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from De La Salle University – Manila and Master of Arts in Political Science, Major in Global Politics from the Ateneo De Manila University. In 2017, he obtained his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Ateneo De Manila University – Regis University Program.

Atty. Jenny Domino


Atty. Jenny Domino is a Harvard Satter Human Rights Fellow at ARTICLE 19. Her human rights work focuses on international criminal accountability, constitutional structure, and the limits of freedom of speech in situations of mass atrocity. She previously consulted for the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and has interned at the International Criminal Court’s Office of Public Counsel for the Defence. She has written for the Cambridge International Law Journal and The Philippine Daily Inquirer and has been interviewed by leading Philippine news agencies on the ICC’s preliminary examination of the Philippines. She received her Master of Laws degree at Harvard Law School and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Philippines, where she was Chair of the Philippine Law Journal. She also held the 2018 Global Diversity Fellowship of Vrije University Amsterdam’s Center for International Criminal Justice.

Ludwig Federigan

federiganLudwig O. Federigan is a recipient of a number of scholarships to attend executive programs on climate change, sustainable consumption and production, sustainability leadership, and the ASEAN Leadership Programme.

A 2017 Yale Sustainability Leadership Fellow and a Climate Reality Leader, he is the Executive Director of the Young Environmental Forum and the Officer-In-Charge of the Information and Knowledge Management Division of the Climate Change Commission (Philippines). He is a recipient of various recognition among these include the Miguel R. Magalang Individual Climate Leadership Memorial Award awarded by The Climate Reality Project for his numerous acts of leadership in the global climate movement.

He has written and published over a hundred articles on environmental issues, climate change, sustainability and leadership in his weekly column, All About Choices, in The Manila Times.

He was the former Treasurer and Vice-President for Business Operations of the World Wide Fund for Nature (Philippines), and also served the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Asia-Pacific Finance & Operations Group.

Robin Michael Garcia, Ph.D

RMGRobin Michael U. Garcia, Ph.D, is a Shanghai-educated political scientist, academic, and the CEO of WR Numero—a data analytics and polling firm in collaboration with Warwick&Roger, which he founded in 2017. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Political Economy Program of the School of Law and Governance of the University of Asia & the Pacific (UA&P).

He has written on topics that lie at the intersection of political psychology, international political economy and international relations theory applied to Southeast Asia, the Philippines and China. Prof. Garcia had lectured on development theory, political economy, public policy, and international relations at De La Salle University-Manila and the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

He obtained a Doctorate Degree in Politics and International Relations degree from the School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) of Fudan University in Shanghai, China where he was distinguished with the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in 2017. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Major in Public Policy from the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) in 2013, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies from De La Salle University-Manila 2010 where he was awarded the Gawad Mag-Aaral (Distinguished Student) Award.

Richard Javad Heydarian


Richard Javad Heydarian is a multi-awarded public educator, academic, columnist, and policy adviser. He has taught political science at De La Salle University and Ateneo De Manila University, and is an incoming research fellow at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He is currently resident analyst at GMA network, a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and a regular opinion writer for leading global publications. His latest book is “The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt against Elite Democracy” (Palgrave), which was among The Financial Times’ “Best of weekend long reads”, and described as “a superb monograph on the Duterte Phenomenon, grounded in political theory and Philippine history…” The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) describes it as an important work which, “vividly describes the simmering public dissatisfaction with post-Marcos “elite democracy” that paved the way for Duterte’s rapid rise to power…” He is also the author of forthcoming “The IndoPacfic Age: Trump, China, and the New Global Struggle for Mastery” (Palgrave) and “Duterte’s Foreign Policy”.

He is a regular contributor to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC, and has written for or/and interviewed by Aljazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Economist, among other leading global publications.

He has been described as “one of Asia’s most prolific…analysts,” and was awarded as the 2018 Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the World (TOYP) by JCI international for his contributions in social sciences. He has been invited to speak at the world’s leading universities such as Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, York University, and Australian National University, among others, and major global conferences on asian geopolitical affairs.

He currently sits as Professorial Chairholder in Geopolitics in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Ma. Carmen Lagman, Ph.D


Ma. Carmen Ablan Lagman, Ph.D, is a Full Professor with the Biology Department of the De La Salle University – Manila. She is a member of the Center for Natural Science and Environment Research (CENSER), where she is also the Coordinator of the Technologies for Biodiversity Use and Utilization Unit. She has previously been the head of the Practical Genomics Laboratory and head of CENSER’s Biodiversity Unit.

Her career started by working on the physiology and genetics of giant clams and genetic connectivity and adaption of reef fish for her Ph.D. at the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute, where she also received her Masters’ in Marine Biology.

She also had research positions at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management in Manila and in the World Fish Center located in Malaysia. In addition, she has had visiting researcher positions at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Thailand and the National Research Institute for Aquaculture in Japan.

In 2016, Dr. Lagman received the Newton Agham Leadership in Innovation Fellowship (LIF) from the British Government and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) in Cambridge, UK. The year prior, she won 1st Prize in the Outstanding Research and Development Award (Emerging Technologies Category) from the Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technologies Research and Development (PCIEERD) under the Department of Science and Technology.

She is an alumna of the Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program (2013 – 2014) and also a recipient of the USAID Science Technology Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program on its first year of implementation last August 2014.

Alvin Manalansan

Manalansan_AMAlvin M. Manalansan is the current Healthcare and Education Convenor of CitizenWatch Philippines, an advocacy group which champions the rights of consumers on various issues such as greater access to healthcare, affordable prices of basic goods and lower taxes for the burdened sector of the economy.

He is an independent health, nutrition and food safety consultant. He previously consulted for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) where he worked with different international and national agencies, including local government units in various health and nutrition programs such as nutrition in emergencies, management of severe acute malnutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Prior to his consultancy engagements, he served as senior Food-Drug Regulation Officer in the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

He attained his Bachelor of Science in Community Nutrition, including post graduate courses in the same field, from the University of the Philippines. He also obtained international certifications in managing public health programs, food and nutrition safety, global health response, and evaluation of social programs.

He is a current Board Member of the Philippine Society of Nutritionists-Dietitians and frequently writes health commentaries in the Philippine Star and Business World.

Sherwin Ona, Ph.D

ona_2Sherwin E. Ona, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Political Science at De La Salle University (DLSU). His current interests are in the areas of human security and non-traditional threats, open government, cybersecurity policies and disaster informatics. Dr. Ona is the former research and advanced studies director of the College of Computer Studies and is the current chairperson of the political science department.

For his research endeavors, Dr. Ona was part of the iGov summer program of the State University of New York (2009-2010) and managed the e-Participation in rural communities project supported by the IDRC-Canada (2011). In 2012, he was part of the IDRC’s “Open Data in Developing Countries”, a global network of international research teams that examined the challenges of open government data in developing and least developed economies. In 2017, Dr. Ona served as a senior team leader for the Newton disaster informatics and innovation spaces project sponsored by the British Council and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Dr. Ona also served as technical consultant to the following government agencies: Commission on Information and Communications Technology (2005-2008), the Department of Science and Technology-ICTO (2012), the Commission on Higher Education (2016) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (2018). In 2019, he assisted the UN-Asia Pacific Center for ICT for Development (APCICT) in their research about the government-led interoperability initiatives in the Philippines.
At present, Dr. Ona is a fellow of the Philippine Pubic Safety College and the La Salle Institute of Governance. He is an auxiliary officer of the Philippine Coast Guard with the rank of commander.

Bienvenido “Nonoy” Oplas, Jr.


Bienvenido Oplas, Jr. is the President of Minimal Government Thinkers (MGT), a free market, non-government think tank in Manila registered in 2008. He was also a Columnist of BusinessWorld’s Weekender section from April to September 2015, and is currently contributing writer to Opinion section, “My Cup of Liberty”, from October 2015 to present. Prior to that, he was a Columnist of InterAksyon, for the “Fat-Free Economics” column from March 2012 to July 2014.

MGT is a member-institute of Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia) based in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Property Rights Alliance (PRA) based in Washington DC, USA.

He is a lifetime member of the Philippine Economic Society (PES) and the UPSE Alumni Association (UPSEAA).

He graduated from Cadiz City High School, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, class valediction in 1980. Then he went to the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) and finished AB Economics in 1985. He went back to the school and obtained the Diploma in Development Economics (DipDE) in 1998.

Before forming MGT, he worked for a labor federation from 1985-86, then in a tv public affairs program, “Public Forum” in IBC-13 hosted by Prof. Randy David and directed by the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1987-1990. He also joined the cast of a political satire program in IBC-13, “Sic o clock News”, also directed by Ms. Abaya in the last year of the program, mid-1989-1990.

He worked as a Junior economist then Senior economist at the Congressional Planning and Budget Office (CPBO), House of Representatives, 1991-1999. Then he joined Think Tank, Inc., a research and consulting firm headed by former DOF Secretary Gary Teves, 2000-mid-2005.

So far he has published two books, Health Choices and Responsibilities (2011) published by Central Books Supply (Manila), and Liberalism, Rule of Law and Civil Society (2014), published by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Philippines Office.

He was also a Chapter contributor of two books, Free Trade and Markets for Healthcare: Lessons from Asia (2013) published in Delhi, India; and Why Liberty (2010) published in the US.

Vicente Paqueo, Ph.D


Vicente B. Paqueo, Ph.D, is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), a Fellow of the Social Weather Station (SWS) and the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), and a World Bank Consultant. Dr. Paqueo was a Lead Economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and a Professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics. Until recently, he was Lead Consultant of the ADB Social Protection Support Project for the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps). He was also a consultant at various times of other organizations like the ILO, WHO, UNICEF, UNESCAP, NEDA, DSWD, POPCOM and Population Center of the Philippines.

Dr. Paqueo finished his AB (cum laude) at the University of the Philippines School of Economics and got his Ph.D. from the same institution. He was appointed visiting post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University in New Jersey with a grant from the Population Council. He has since then published numerous articles and books and presented papers in local and international conferences. As a young man, he received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award for Human Resources Economics from the Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Vanessa Pepino


Vanessa Pepino is a development economist and environmental planner. Her areas of interest include environmental sustainability, particularly sustainable tourism planning and urban development, socio-economic development, and policy and institutional assessment. She has seven years of experience as a writer and researcher focusing on economic growth and development, and various sectoral industries, e.g. energy, agriculture, BPO/KPO, tourism, and mining. She holds an undergraduate degree of Political Science from De La Salle University-Manila where she graduated Cum Laude in 2011 and a Master Degree in Development Economics from University of the Philippines-Diliman. Currently, she works as a project manager for an international consulting firm.

James Mark Terry Ridon

ridonJames Mark Terry L. Ridon is a public interest lawyer focusing on infrastructure: power, transport, telecoms, cybersecurity, housing, water, natural resources, and environment. He is the Convenor of Infrawatch PH, a public policy think-tank covering major infrastructure and development projects in the Philippines.

He served as the Chairperson and CEO of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor under the Duterte Administration, and represented the Philippine government as the head of delegation to the Asia Pacific Conference on Housing and Urban Development in New Delhi.

He was Representative of the Kabataan Partylist in the 16th Congress, with membership in committees such as Ways and Means, Legislative Franchises, Energy, Natural Resources, Transportation, ICT, Official Development Assistance, Climate Change, among others.

He currently writes commentaries in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, while studying public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law, and sat as a member of the UP Board of Regents and chaired the UP Student Council.