BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Dr. Mina T. Gabor – Chairperson

Dr. Mina Gabor’s accomplishments show how she can merge business, tourism, and social responsibility. She is an active leader who has worked in many organizations—in government and non-government organizations, as well as in private organizations. She was Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry in 1985 to 1989, Undersecretary of the Department of Tourism in 1995 to 1998. She was the founder of several establishments including the International School of Sustainable Tourism Inc. (where she is currently Chairperson and President), the World Trade Center Metro Manila, and set up the first Hot Air Balloon Festival in Southeast Asia, among many others. She is also currently the Tourism Consultant for the Province of Bohol and Pampanga. Her contribution to the tourism and trade industry in the Philippines has allowed her to receive numerous awards including the Philippine Legion of Honor Award in 1998 for her service to the Tourism Industry, the highest award given to an individual by the Philippine Government, the Tourism Award by SKAL International in 2017; was one of 10 Outstanding Women in Government (National Press Club) in 1998, was accorded full military honors by the PMA Cadet Corps, the second female government official for her invaluable contribution to the country’s economic development, and the International Award for Oustanding Performance in Export Promotion (Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in 1988.

Dr. Florangel R. Braid – Vice Chairperson

Dr. Florangel Braid is the former President and now President Emeritus of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC).  A member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, she authored provisions on communication, education, cooperatives, science and technology, NGOs, and human rights.  She was chairman of the Philippine Social Science Council, senior researcher at the East West Communication Institute, professor at the University of Hawaii, professorial lecturer at the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Miriam College, Silliman University, among others; chairperson of the Communication Committee of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines,  trustee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Throughout the years, she has received numerous awards for her work including the 2007 Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awards for Literature and Journalism; the 2008 AMIC Asian Communication Outstanding Research Award; the 2008 Hildegard Awards for Women in Media and Communication; the 2013 Balitok-ASNA Outstanding Pangasinan Citizen Award; and the 2018 Philippines Communication Society award for outstanding achievement in the field.

Ms. Corazon Alma de Leon – Treasurer

Ms. Corazon Alma de Leon was the Former Chair of the Civil Service Commission, and Former Chair of the Career Executive Service Board. Ms. de Leon has extensive work experience at the Governmental level in the Philippines, having held the posts of, inter alia, Under-secretary in the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Acting Director in Social Development Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister, Social Welfare Specialist and Acting Assistant Director, in the Bureau of Family Welfare of the Department of Social Welfare. She is also Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees in the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Bangkok, Thailand. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Health and Master’s Degree in Social Work both from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines. 


BOARD MEMBERS

Ms. Ballsy Aquino-Cruz

As a Bachelor of Science in Commerce graduate from Assumption Makati, her work experience began in the field of finance. In 1976, she joined the Financial Markets Group in the Philippine Pacific Capital Corporation as a trader but resigned in 1978 to campaign for the LABAN candidates led by Ninoy Aquino. In the same year, she also joined the Purchasing Department in Central Azucarera de Tarlac but eventually left to join her family to live in exile in Boston, MA. There she became an Assistant Math and Reading teacher for gifted children. Through the years, she has been more involved in social service. In between her years working in Jose Cojuangco & Sons, Inc., she went on leave to volunteer in the Office of President Corazon Aquino. At present, she is a Board Member in several Foundations, including Children’s Hour and the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation, Inc. where she is the Chairperson.


Atty. Kit Belmonte

Atty. Kit Belmonte is a politician and lawyer who advocates for ssocial justice and human rights. In 2010, he served as a Consultant to the Office of Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs under former President Benigno Aquino III. At present, he is in his third and final term as the Congressman of the Sixth District in Quezon City, while serving as Deputy Minority Leader in this 18th Congress. Since his first term, he authored bills in line with his main advocacies, such as socialized housing, social justice and human rights, and the anti-death penalty. Atty Belmonte is a proud product of the University of the Philippines, earning both his BA Economics and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the UP School of Economics, and the UP College of law, respectively. A lawyer by profession, he co-founded Belmonte Sison & Associates before running for office.


Ms. Pearl Palma-Cardema

Ms. Pearl Palma-Cardema is the only daughter of Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma. She completed her AB Economics degree in the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her work life has been devoted to serve in the judiciary field where she was Technical Assistant to Justice Palma from her times at the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 1973 to 1978, to being the Assemblywoman at Batasan Pambansa in 1984 to 1986, and until Justice Palma served as the President of the Constitutional Commission in 1986 to 1987. She also served as Technical Assistant to Justice Claudio Teehankee at the Supreme Court in 1979 to 1983.


Dr. Ma. Alicia M. Lim, MD

Since 1974, Dr. Alicia Lim has been working in the health sector where she began as a Senior Resident Physician at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center and has worked as a Medical Specialist, Chief of Medical Professional Staff, Medical Center Chief, and at present already an Honorary Consultant at the Department of Anesthesiology in the same hospital. She is a member of various health organizations including the Philippine Board of Anesthisiology, Philippine Medical Associatoon, and the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, where she also currently holds the position of President. She is also part of several committees under the Department of Health dedicated to improving healthcare service.


Mr. Tadeo M. Palma

Mr. Tadeo Palma is one of the two sons of Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma. He graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Business Administration. His career has been dedicated to public service where he served as Secretary to the Mayor in 2001 to 2010 under Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and until Mayor Herbert Bautista’s term in 2010 to 2019. As Secretary to the Mayor, he was responsible for assisting the Mayor in the implementation of projects and services, recommending infrastructure projects to the City Mayor, and handling Quezon City’s Socialized Housing Projects. He was also awarded one of the 10 most Outstanding Quezon City Citizens in 2018.


Dr. Carmencita N. Reodica

A veteran public health worker with a wide range of experience in health services stretching over a period of 37 years. Her skills cover international and national health development, health program design, management and delivery both at the national and local levels; public health administration, international health policy and diplomacy; pioneering innovative areas and approaches in health promotion. She served as Secretary of the Department of Health in 1996 to 1998 and was Executive Director of the Quezon Institute. She was Director to various projects targeting women’s health, reproductive health, urban health, and nutrition under the Department of Health At present, she is President of the US-based Center for Health Innovation and Solution, Chairman of the Blood Services Committee of Red Cross-Rizal Chapter, and a member of the Board of Trustees in Gerry Roxas Foundation and Children’s Hour Foundation. Her hard work has been recognized by many and has obtained many awards including the Gawad Parangal Award: Most Outstanding Alumni from the University of the Philippines in 1991 (where she is the first recipient); Presidential Lingkod ng Bayan Award in 1995; the Woman of Distinction Award in 1997; was an awardee in the First 100 Women in the Philippines in 1998; and the Pillar of Excellence in Public Health in 2008.


Ms. Sonia M. Roco

In addition to raising a family where she is a wife and partner to the late Senator and Secretary Raul S. Roco and a mother to their six children, Ms. Sonia Roco also fulfilled a successful career in the social services sector as an advocate for culture and the arts, education, and environment. She served as Chairperson in various organizations including the Metro Manila Community Orchestra, was President in Foundations including the Senate Spouses Foundation and the Women in Nation-Building (WIN), and was Executive Director of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines for two years. She was also an active supporter and participant in the radio program, Harana ng Puso, for five years. At present, she is the Chairperson of the Cayco Foundation Inc. and President and Founder of the Naga International Technology Center. Due to her hard work and leadership, she was awarded the Most Outstanding Student of the Philippines of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) in 1964, and the Cardinal Santos Leadership Award for being a leader of Student Catholic Action (SCA) and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). She and her husband Raul were also bestowed the Golden Parents’ Award in 1995 by the Golden Mother and Father Foundation, Inc.


Atty. Rene Andre Q. Saguisag

Rene, Jr. or Rebo grew up in a home that valued and produced strong women – his
mother was the late DSWD Secretary Dulce Saguisag and had multi-awarded author Lara and
SEA Games medalist Caissa for sisters. Rebo himself married Judge Jackie. This probably
explains that while he doesn’t necessarily hold himself out as a champion of women’s rights, he
somehow ends up getting involved with it and/or related causes.
Some of the best years of his life he spent coaching the Assumption High School
Basketball Team while assisting in its Grade School and College teams. As City Councilor of
the 1 st District of Makati, he is a member of the Committee on Women and Family. He likewise
works with Mayor Abigail Binay & Vice-Mayor Monique Lagdameo as part of the Makati
Gender and Development Council. As the Executive Director of the UAAP, he is actively
involved in updating the Association’s rules on Sex/Gender. He is also a Convenor of the
Mindanao Peace Games, which aims to narrow the gap between men’s and women’s sports


Comm. Rene V. Sarmiento (ret.)

Comm. Rene V. Sarmiento began his career in the legal field as Associate Attorney in the Jose W. Diokno Law Office in 1979 before becoming an Attorney-at-Law in his own Law Office in 1988 to 2005 and then as a Law partner in 2014 to the present. Between these years, he also became Commissioner in the 1986 Constitutional Commission and a member of the Presidential Human Rights Committee in 1991 to 1994. He has also held several government positions including Commissioner for the Commission on Elections and member (later Vice Chair) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’ Panel for Talks with the CPP/NPS/NDF. He was also active in several organizations including Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Empowerment Service Organization (PRESO), where he was President. He is a Lecturer in the University of the Philippines Law Center and in the Pre-Bar Review Center at San Beda University and a Managing Partner on the Sarmiento Ruga Caringal Law Firm. He has received several awards for his work including the Special MABINI Presidential Award for his advocacy to empower Persons with Disabilities in the electoral process (2013), the Outstanding Public Official award by the Consumer’s Union of the Philippines (2007), the Gawad Parangal 2005, where he was Quezon City’s Most Outstanding Citizen, and The Outstanding Catandungon Award in the field of Law and Human Rights (2001) given by the Office of the Provincial Governor in Catanduanes.


Atty. Teresita C. Sison

She graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 1951. She was a partner of the Luna, Puruganan, Sison & Manas law firm. For many years, she was the National Treasurer of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) which is the organization composed of all the lawyers in the Philippines. She had to resign from this office when she was appointed as a member of the Judicial & Bar Council (JBC), the constitutional body that determines the capabilities of the aspiring applicants to the judiciary. She was the first woman president of the century-old Philippine Bar Association (PBA) whose existence started during the Spanish times with Justices and known members of the bar. She was president of the U.P. Women Lawyers Circle (WILOCI), whose mission is to provide legal aid to the poor just like the WLAP (Women Lawyers of the Philippines). She is also a board member of the Asociacion de Damas de Filipinas and the Philippine Tuberculosis Society. Atty. Sison is a receiver of the Presidential Award of Distinction given by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (1980), the Chief Justice Special Award from Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan (1991), the Most Outstanding in Law Award by the National Council of Women of the Philippines (NCWP) in 2005, in 2018 was given the Plaque of Appreciation and Recognition as the Philippine Bar Association’s first woman president (1991-1992), and many other awards.


SECRETARIAT

Maribeth R. Baril
Executive Director

Maricel P. Emperador
Administrative and Finance Officer

Samantha Nicole B. David
Program Associate

Mary Philline Descalzo-Dela Cruz
Social Worker

Emily A. Palma
Program Adviser

Atty. Reena Yumina M. Yason
Corporate Secretary