OFW REMITTANCES HIT $10 BILLION IN MAY 

Remittances – both cash and non-cash – hit $10 billion in the first five months of the year due to the steady growth in remittance flows from both land-based and sea-based workers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported yesterday. Central bank data showed personal remittances surged 6.1 percent to $10.404 billion in the first five months of the year from $9.809 billion in the same period last year. “The sustained expansion in personal remittances during the first five months of 2014 was underpinned by the steady growth in remittance flows from both land-based workers with long-term contracts and sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts,” the BSP said. For May alone, personal remittances went up 5.5 percent to $2.195 billion from $2.081 billion a year ago. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Phl growth forecast trimmed to 5.8% due to DAP controversy

JULY 18 --New York-based think tank Global Source has slashed its growth forecast for the Philippine economy this year, citing the controversy over the Disbursement Allocation Program which may further cut government spending and investments. In a report written by Filipino economists Romeo L. Bernardo and Marie Christine Tang, Global Source reduced its growth forecast for this year to only 5.8 percent. This is lower than the think tank’s previous projection of a 6.1-percent growth, and remains below the government’s 6.5- percent to 7.5-percent target for the year. Bernardo and Tang explained that the Supreme Court’s action declaring the P144-billion stimulus package illegal will significantly reduce government spending, which has been a driver of economic growth. President Aquino earlier this week said Malacañang will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision on DAP. “(M)ore timid government spending as projects and transactions come under increased scrutiny especially by state auditors and the executive’s lost flexibility in funding within-year spending priorities from identified savings, tell us that government outlays will again fall below program this year,” Bernardo and Tang said.

ALSO: World Bank President hails PH as next Asian miracle

JULY 16 --PHOTO: COMFORTER IN CHIEF: World Bank president Jim Yong Kim fields questions from the media during the Daylight Dialogue in the Palace while the embattled President listens during the “The Good Governance Challenge” session. Kim says the Philippines “is a global model in fighting corruption,” according to Agence France-Presse. President Aquino on Tuesday received profuse praise from visiting World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who declared that the Philippines would be the next Asian “miracle.”
Kim, who was in Manila for a two-day visit, also announced that the World Bank was providing $119 million for the construction of new roads, bridges and irrigation systems in Muslim Mindanao in support of efforts to promote peace and economic development in the region. During the open forum at the Daylight Dialogue in Malacañang, Kim recalled that the World Bank had downgraded its “overall global [economic] growth forecast from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent.”

But the World Bank did not do so for the Philippine economy, where the forecast remained “around 6.4 percent with a lot of upside going into the future. “So I will just say again maintain these reforms, continue on the path that you’re on, and I think the future is very bright for the Philippines,” Kim said. Foundation for future --Kim later offered a toast during a luncheon in the Palace, saying to President Aquino that “each of those things you’re doing are not only the right thing to do but they’re laying the foundations for your economic growth in the future.” “And we are absolutely certain that the impact of your administration will be felt far beyond the six years that you have as President,” Kim said. He said President Aquino should take much of the credit for the Philippine turnaround. “Can the Philippines be the next Asian miracle? [After] coming here, I think there is no question that is the case,” Kim said. Antigraft campaign --Kim heaped praise on Aquino’s antigraft campaign, which has seen the President’s predecessor and three sitting senators charged with corruption, as well as the impeachment of a Chief Justice. “Among the most important things you can do is tackle corruption and . . . that is one of the things that the [Aquino] government is doing frankly better than any government in the world,” Kim said. “Around the world, the spread of information technology is converging with grassroots movements for transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment,” he said. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) From Yahoo News Asia: World Bank, IFC commit $4.2 billion to Philippines

The World Bank said Tuesday that it and its private sector arm have committed concessional loans of up to $4.2 billion to the Philippines to help the country reduce poverty, create jobs and sustain growth as it recovers from the impact of a devastating typhoon and separatist rebellion. The World Bank will provide $3.2 billion in development financing to the Philippine government, while the International Finance Corp. will offer another $1 billion for investment in business and industry under a 2015-18 aid program, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said. Kim had announced a day earlier that the World Bank Group was planning a separate $528 million rural development project this year to boost the income of farmers and fishermen, including $62 million for areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan last year.

"I am here to reaffirm the World Bank Group's support for the courageous Filipinos who are rebuilding from the ruins of Typhoon Haiyan," Kim said in a statement after visiting Tanauan, a town in central Leyte province that was heavily damaged by the massive typhoon. Kim, who was on a two-day visit to the Philippines, said the rural development project fund includes $119 million for roads, bridges, and irrigation and potable water systems in the turbulent southern Philippines, including areas where decades of fighting between Muslim rebels and the government have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and hindered growth in the resource-rich region.

The government and the main Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, signed a peace accord in March in which the rebels agreed to greater autonomy instead of independence. Kim noted that the conflict-affected regions are among the poorest in the Philippines, crippled by a poverty rate of over 50 percent, or more than twice the national average. "Our support for the peace process is in line with our goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity," he said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ABOUT JIM YONG KIM

Jim Yong Kim MD, PhD, also known as Kim Yong (Hangul: 김용; hanja: 金墉; born December 8, 1959), is a Korean-American physician and anthropologist who has been the 12th President of the World Bank since July 1 2012. He was President of Dartmouth College from 2009 to 2012. He was formerly the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a co-founder and executive director of Partners In Health. On March 2, 2009, Kim was named as the 17th president of Dartmouth College, a position he formally assumed on July 1, 2009, becoming the first Asian-American president of an Ivy League institution. On March 23, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would nominate Kim as the next president of the World Bank to replace Robert Zoellick. On April 16, Kim was elected to head the World Bank and took office on July 1. Kim was named the world's 50th most powerful person by Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People in 2013. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT FROM WIKIPEDIA.

(ALSO) Abads in government: Son-in-law under scrutiny

With the inter-locking postings of the members of the family of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. under intense public scrutiny, a party-list member has raised an alleged conflict-of-interest situation in the case of Abad's son-in-law who is connected with the World Bank. Gabriela party-list member Luzviminda Ilagan considers it 'more than a coincidence' that all of the posts given to the four Abad family members were related to government finances and the daughter, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Abad, was married to a Britisher who works with the World Bank, a major source of government borrowings. "Don't get me wrong, they have done nothing wrong in accepting these posts. It's just that these appointments have created a public perception that they are in a conflict of interest situation," said Ilagan.

The senior Abad is the gatekeeper of the national budget, including the release of pork barrel funds to lawmakers; the mother, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, is set to become senior vice chair of the House committee on appropriations, the lead body formulating the annual state budget; the daughter will oversee the deployment of the President's pork barrel of more than P1 billion; and the son, Luis Abad, has direct and personal access as Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima?s chief of staff. Julia's husband, Andrew Parker, works as a senior rural development economist for the World Bank's Philippine office. They met when Julia was employed as an executive assistant of Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman at the social welfare department whose Kalahi-CIDSS poverty alleviation project was being funded by the World Bank. The two married in 2008. With the government expected to rely on borrowings for the budget' President Aquino having vowed not to raise taxes Ilagan questioned whether the Abad's being married to a World Bank officer would mean that the latter bank would be given preference over other multilateral lending agencies in choosing where to borrow. The WB competes with other multilateral agencies in lending to the Philippines. 'Since the Abads are seen to be in positions that can influence the government on deciding where it will borrow, choosing the WB will immediately be cast in a cloud of suspicion of favoritism'. Ilagan said. * read more...

(ALSO) Julia Abad: Being Julia

Heads turn whenever Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Julia Andrea Abad walks into a somber Palace meeting or a crowded hall. Not your typical stiff and senior Cabinet secretary, Julia is 32 (the youngest Cabinet member), model-thin, stylish, short-haired and goes to meetings usually in a chic sheath dress. But beyond the attractive facade is someone who works hard, is efficient, dedicated to her craft, gives her best shot in every task and rubs off all these wonderful qualities on her equally young staff. “In terms of work, I really care. I don’t settle for sloppy work. When we do policies, I evaluate and really see if there’s a lot of thinking that went with it. I mean, if you can get away with perfect work, why not? In that way, I’m a little strict, I edit a lot, I’m a teacher,” she says. “We know that we won’t do everything perfectly but that we’re doing what we can and giving it our best shot.”

It’s plain to see why President Noynoy Aquino gives her so much trust. He saw not only Julia’s youthful exuberance but also her discipline and work ethic when she worked for him as his chief of staff in the Senate for three years. As PMS chief, Julia oversees her department’s function of providing policy support to the President. “PMS is a support staff system for the President. It basically does whatever the President asks it to do. We provide the technical staff work and support,” she explains. If not for her prominent last name, too, Julia is not the type who would harp about her political lineage (her father is Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and her mother is Batanes Rep. Dina Abad) because she’d rather focus on her own achievements. “Of course I’m very proud of my parents. I wouldn’t be this kind of person that I am without my parents. I learned from my parents the value of hard work, integrity, a good name, discipline, honesty, sincerity and knowing how to use your freedom responsibly,” she says. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

OFW remittances hit $10 B in May

J

MANILA, JULY 21, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Kathleen A. Martin - Remittances – both cash and non-cash – hit $10 billion in the first five months of the year due to the steady growth in remittance flows from both land-based and sea-based workers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported yesterday.

Central bank data showed personal remittances surged 6.1 percent to $10.404 billion in the first five months of the year from $9.809 billion in the same period last year.

“The sustained expansion in personal remittances during the first five months of 2014 was underpinned by the steady growth in remittance flows from both land-based workers with long-term contracts and sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts,” the BSP said.

For May alone, personal remittances went up 5.5 percent to $2.195 billion from $2.081 billion a year ago.

* The central bank said remittances coursed through banks went up by 5.4 percent to $1.980 billion in May, while the five-month tally increased by 5.7 percent to $9.372 billion.

Cash remittances from land-based workers grew by five percent to $7.1 billion as of May, while those coming from sea-based workers rose 8.1 percent to $2.3 billion.

The bulk of the remittances were sent from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong, the central bank noted.

“The steady deployment of OF workers remained a key driver in the sustained growth in remittance flows,” the BSP said.

Citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the central bank said job orders reached 371,097 in the five months to May.

These were primarily for service, production, and professional, technical, and related jobs in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Qatar.

At the same time, the sustained expansion of remittance service providers abroad have supported the increase in remittances during the period.

Remittances play a big role in supporting domestic consumption, which remains to be the largest driver of the Philippine economy.

Last year, cash remittances surged 7.4 percent to $22.968 billion, the highest annual level ever recorded by the central bank. Personal remittances, meanwhile, grew 8.6 percent to $25.351 billion.

The BSP hopes to grow cash remittances by five percent this year from the 2013 figure.

Phl growth forecast trimmed to 5.8% due to DAP issue By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 19, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - New York-based think tank Global Source has slashed its growth forecast for the Philippine economy this year, citing the controversy over the Disbursement Allocation Program which may further cut government spending and investments.

In a report written by Filipino economists Romeo L. Bernardo and Marie Christine Tang, Global Source reduced its growth forecast for this year to only 5.8 percent.

This is lower than the think tank’s previous projection of a 6.1-percent growth, and remains below the government’s 6.5- percent to 7.5-percent target for the year.

Bernardo and Tang explained that the Supreme Court’s action declaring the P144-billion stimulus package illegal will significantly reduce government spending, which has been a driver of economic growth.

President Aquino earlier this week said Malacañang will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision on DAP.

“(M)ore timid government spending as projects and transactions come under increased scrutiny especially by state auditors and the executive’s lost flexibility in funding within-year spending priorities from identified savings, tell us that government outlays will again fall below program this year,” Bernardo and Tang said.

* “Although we had expected underspending at the start of the year, we were looking at a J-curve recovery by the second half as government officials ironed out kinks and cleared away bottlenecks, most particularly in reconstruction and rehabilitation activities. We are less confident of that happening now,” they said.

The analysts pointed out that even if the share of infrastructure outlays in public expenditures has been low despite its steady increase through the past quarters, such has been “vital” in giving a boost to the domestic economy.

Philippine economic growth settled at a weaker-than-expected 5.7 percent in the first quarter, but government officials stood by their goal as prospects for the economy remained promising.

World Bank President hails PH as next Asian miracle By Christian V. Esguerra, Paolo G. Montecillo |Philippine Daily Inquirer4:05 am | Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Kim praises Aquino fight vs corruption


COMFORTER IN CHIEF: World Bank president Jim Yong Kim fields questions from the media during the Daylight Dialogue in the Palace while the embattled President listens during the “The Good Governance Challenge” session. Kim says the Philippines “is a global model in fighting corruption,” according to Agence France-Presse. GRIG MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino on Tuesday received profuse praise from visiting World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who declared that the Philippines would be the next Asian “miracle.”

Kim, who was in Manila for a two-day visit, also announced that the World Bank was providing $119 million for the construction of new roads, bridges and irrigation systems in Muslim Mindanao in support of efforts to promote peace and economic development in the region.

During the open forum at the Daylight Dialogue in Malacañang, Kim recalled that the World Bank had downgraded its “overall global [economic] growth forecast from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent.”

But the World Bank did not do so for the Philippine economy, where the forecast remained “around 6.4 percent with a lot of upside going into the future.

“So I will just say again maintain these reforms, continue on the path that you’re on, and I think the future is very bright for the Philippines,” Kim said.

Foundation for future

Kim later offered a toast during a luncheon in the Palace, saying to President Aquino that “each of those things you’re doing are not only the right thing to do but they’re laying the foundations for your economic growth in the future.”

“And we are absolutely certain that the impact of your administration will be felt far beyond the six years that you have as President,” Kim said.

He said President Aquino should take much of the credit for the Philippine turnaround.

“Can the Philippines be the next Asian miracle? [After] coming here, I think there is no question that is the case,” Kim said.

Antigraft campaign

Kim heaped praise on Aquino’s antigraft campaign, which has seen the President’s predecessor and three sitting senators charged with corruption, as well as the impeachment of a Chief Justice.

“Among the most important things you can do is tackle corruption and . . . that is one of the things that the [Aquino] government is doing frankly better than any government in the world,” Kim said.

“Around the world, the spread of information technology is converging with grassroots movements for transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment,” he said.

* Under Aquino’s leadership, he said, “the Philippines is absolutely at the forefront of this transformation.”

Kim said the Philippines, where one quarter of the roughly 100 million people live in deep poverty, had huge potential.

He cited the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals, prudent monetary policies and young workforce.
Kim’s strong endorsement was a timely boost for Aquino, with two polls released this week showing the President’s public support dropping to record lows amid deep controversy over an economic stimulus program.

The Supreme Court on July 1 ruled the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was unconstitutional, with 13 justices handing down a unanimous decision that Aquino should not have bypassed Congress in spending P167 billion.

Aquino on Monday said the government would appeal the Supreme Court ruling.

Aid for Mindanao

Kim announced fresh World Bank aid financing for Muslim Mindanao at a news conference at the World Bank office in Taguig City.

Muslim Mindanao remains one of the poorest regions in the Philippines, with development held back by four decades of conflict between separatist rebels and government forces.

“We’ll support the peace process in conflict-affected areas,” said Kim, who is here for a two-day visit.

Kim noted that the poverty rate in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao was at 50 percent, or more than twice the national average.

He said the $119 million in aid financing would be made available to the government to bankroll the construction of new farm-to-market roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems and potable water projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM, which will be expanded under a peace agreement signed in March between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest rebel group in the region.

The government and the MILF are seeking the enforcement of the agreement, which grants broad autonomy to the expanded Muslim region, by next January.

The fresh World Bank financing is part of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) that Kim himself announced this week during a visit to Leyte province.

Under the PRDP, the government would receive $508 million in concessional loans from the World Bank to raise rural incomes across the country.

The PRDP will be presented to the World Bank’s board of executive directors next month.

Robust investments

On top of the new aid, the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the World Bank’s private investment arm, is also working on projects that will generate 6,000 new jobs in Mindanao.

Kim said the bank remained confident of the Philippines’ prospects, citing robust investments by the Aquino administration in areas such as education and healthcare over the last four years.

“Spending on health and education has doubled. This is extremely important,” Kim said, noting that the full impact of the investments would continue to be felt for decades to come.–With a report from AFP

FROM YAHOO NEWS ASIA

World Bank, IFC commit $4.2 billion to Philippines Associated Press July 15, 2014 8:46 AM


World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, right, answers questions beside Philippine Budget Secretary Florencio Abad during a forum called the Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in suburban Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Pool)


MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The World Bank said Tuesday that it and its private sector arm have committed concessional loans of up to $4.2 billion to the Philippines to help the country reduce poverty, create jobs and sustain growth as it recovers from the impact of a devastating typhoon and separatist rebellion.

The World Bank will provide $3.2 billion in development financing to the Philippine government, while the International Finance Corp. will offer another $1 billion for investment in business and industry under a 2015-18 aid program, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

Kim had announced a day earlier that the World Bank Group was planning a separate $528 million rural development project this year to boost the income of farmers and fishermen, including $62 million for areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan last year.

"I am here to reaffirm the World Bank Group's support for the courageous Filipinos who are rebuilding from the ruins of Typhoon Haiyan," Kim said in a statement after visiting Tanauan, a town in central Leyte province that was heavily damaged by the massive typhoon.

Kim, who was on a two-day visit to the Philippines, said the rural development project fund includes $119 million for roads, bridges, and irrigation and potable water systems in the turbulent southern Philippines, including areas where decades of fighting between Muslim rebels and the government have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and hindered growth in the resource-rich region.

The government and the main Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, signed a peace accord in March in which the rebels agreed to greater autonomy instead of independence.

Kim noted that the conflict-affected regions are among the poorest in the Philippines, crippled by a poverty rate of over 50 percent, or more than twice the national average. "Our support for the peace process is in line with our goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity," he said.

* The Philippines posted a first-quarter growth rate of 5.7 percent, down from 7.7 percent for the same period last year and 6.3 percent in the last quarter of 2013, due largely to the impact of Haiyan and an earthquake during the last quarter of last year. Despite the disasters, the Philippines was still Asia's third-fastest growing economy during the quarter, behind China and Malaysia.

Kim was upbeat about the Philippine economy. He said that while the bank downgraded the forecast for overall global growth from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent, it did not do so for the Philippines.

"We think it's going to hold steady at around 6.4 percent, with a lot of upside going into the future," Kim said.

FROM WIKIPEDIA

ABOUT JIM YONG KIM

Jim Yong Kim MD, PhD, also known as Kim Yong (Hangul: 김용; hanja: 金墉; born December 8, 1959), is a Korean-American physician and anthropologist who has been the 12th President of the World Bank since July 1 2012.

He was President of Dartmouth College from 2009 to 2012. He was formerly the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a co-founder and executive director of Partners In Health.

On March 2, 2009, Kim was named as the 17th president of Dartmouth College, a position he formally assumed on July 1, 2009, becoming the first Asian-American president of an Ivy League institution.

On March 23, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would nominate Kim as the next president of the World Bank to replace Robert Zoellick.

On April 16, Kim was elected to head the World Bank and took office on July 1.

Kim was named the world's 50th most powerful person by Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People in 2013.

EARLIER REPORT FROM THE INQUIRER

Abads in government: Son-in-law under scrutiny By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 05:48:00 07/22/2010 Filed Under: Government, Family, State Budget & Taxes, International Economic Institutions


HERE comes the bride: Julia Abad with parents Butch and Dina. Photographs by Mandy Navaser

MANILA, Philippines- With the inter-locking postings of the members of the family of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. under intense public scrutiny, a party-list member has raised an alleged conflict-of-interest situation in the case of Abad's son-in-law who is connected with the World Bank.

Gabriela party-list member Luzviminda Ilagan considers it 'more than a coincidence' that all of the posts given to the four Abad family members were related to government finances and the daughter, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Abad, was married to a Britisher who works with the World Bank, a major source of government borrowings.

"Don't get me wrong, they have done nothing wrong in accepting these posts. It's just that these appointments have created a public perception that they are in a conflict of interest situation," said Ilagan.

The senior Abad is the gatekeeper of the national budget, including the release of pork barrel funds to lawmakers; the mother, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, is set to become senior vice chair of the House committee on appropriations, the lead body formulating the annual state budget; the daughter will oversee the deployment of the President's pork barrel of more than P1 billion; and the son, Luis Abad, has direct and personal access as Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima?s chief of staff.

Julia's husband, Andrew Parker, works as a senior rural development economist for the World Bank's Philippine office. They met when Julia was employed as an executive assistant of Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman at the social welfare department whose Kalahi-CIDSS poverty alleviation project was being funded by the World Bank. The two married in 2008.

With the government expected to rely on borrowings for the budget' President Aquino having vowed not to raise taxes Ilagan questioned whether the Abad's being married to a World Bank officer would mean that the latter bank would be given preference over other multilateral lending agencies in choosing where to borrow.

The WB competes with other multilateral agencies in lending to the Philippines.

'Since the Abads are seen to be in positions that can influence the government on deciding where it will borrow, choosing the WB will immediately be cast in a cloud of suspicion of favoritism'. Ilagan said.

*Ilagan, a representative of the militant Gabriela women's party-list group, also noted that the policy reforms prescribed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for their lending have been much criticized.

Ilagan claimed to have been getting a lot of feedback on the issue of the four Abads in the Aquino government which she said was being perceived as a lack of delicadeza (sense of propriety).

'It seems that this administration is no different from its predecessor when it comes to lack of transparency', she said.

But to Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, an economic adviser of former President Arroyo and now a party ally of Mr. Aquino, the issue of too many Abads in government was overblown.

'Having worked with Butch and Dina during the socdem struggle and in the House of Representatives for nine years, the fears of conflict of interest are quite overstretched,' he said, adding that their competence and record of public service outweigh all the objections.

He believes the public is better off being served by this family in whom the President has a lot of confidence.

EARLIER FROM PHILSTAR LIFESTYLE

Julia Abad: Being Julia By Patricia Esteves | Updated March 13, 2011 - 12:00am


Budget Secretary Abad’s daughter Julia Abad Parker is the director-general of the Presidential Management Staff, a very powerful office that has a lot of say on how the President's P1 billion pork barrel will be spent. In addition, her husband, Andrew Parker, is a senior rural development economist for the Philippine office of the World Bank, a major multi-lateral lender to RP. A second child of Abad, Luis, is the chief of staff of Finance.

MANILA, Philippines - Heads turn whenever Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Julia Andrea Abad walks into a somber Palace meeting or a crowded hall. Not your typical stiff and senior Cabinet secretary, Julia is 32 (the youngest Cabinet member), model-thin, stylish, short-haired and goes to meetings usually in a chic sheath dress.

But beyond the attractive facade is someone who works hard, is efficient, dedicated to her craft, gives her best shot in every task and rubs off all these wonderful qualities on her equally young staff.

“In terms of work, I really care. I don’t settle for sloppy work. When we do policies, I evaluate and really see if there’s a lot of thinking that went with it. I mean, if you can get away with perfect work, why not? In that way, I’m a little strict, I edit a lot, I’m a teacher,” she says. “We know that we won’t do everything perfectly but that we’re doing what we can and giving it our best shot.”

It’s plain to see why President Noynoy Aquino gives her so much trust. He saw not only Julia’s youthful exuberance but also her discipline and work ethic when she worked for him as his chief of staff in the Senate for three years.

As PMS chief, Julia oversees her department’s function of providing policy support to the President. “PMS is a support staff system for the President. It basically does whatever the President asks it to do. We provide the technical staff work and support,” she explains.

If not for her prominent last name, too, Julia is not the type who would harp about her political lineage (her father is Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and her mother is Batanes Rep. Dina Abad) because she’d rather focus on her own achievements. “Of course I’m very proud of my parents. I wouldn’t be this kind of person that I am without my parents. I learned from my parents the value of hard work, integrity, a good name, discipline, honesty, sincerity and knowing how to use your freedom responsibly,” she says.

* A graduate of Communications at the Ateneo de Manila University, Julia earned a Master’s degree at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked as a writer for a foundation, then joined the Department of Social Welfare in 2005 before Secretary Dinky Soliman resigned from her post. She also taught at the Ateneo de Manila University for a time before working as then Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s chief of staff. Unlike five or six months ago, Julia says she is much more relaxed now and settled at her post.

A team player and teacher through and through, Julia always makes it a point to motivate her staff and serve as a role model. “I’m very proud of my staff. They’re very hard-working, devoting up to sometimes 14 hours a day to make our work good. They read and revise a lot, too. They’re very driven and dedicated. I actually recruited some of them,” says Julia.

When asked about her greatest accomplishment so far, Julia counts joining President Aquino’s presidential campaign and being a part of the transition team that hopefully will propel the country towards economic progress.

Another of Julia’s talents is juggling her career and family life with aplomb. Blissfully married to Englishman Andrew Parker for two years now, Julia makes sure she devotes quality time to her husband as well. She says she’s very lucky to have a supportive husband.

Her advice to young people who want to work in the government? “Go. You can always make a significant impact for others, for your country in whatever your field is,” ends Julia.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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