Five Pinoys receive Lee Kuan Yew Senior Fellowship in Public Service

1st row (Left to Right): Maria Victoria Castro (DICT), Glenn Banaguas (ECCRI), Maria Angela Ponce (DFA)
2nd row (Left to Right): Kevin Lester Lee (SEC) and Mark Dennis Joven (DOF)
Courtesy of: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Five Filipinos were recently inducted into Singapore’s highest and most prestigious program, the Lee Kuan Yew Senior Fellows in Public Service (LKYSF). The highly selective program only chooses a limited handful of Senior Fellows each year. Of the 56 leaders from across the world chosen for the Class of 2022, only five hailed from the Philippines – a testament both to the rigorous selection process as well as to the high caliber of the Senior Fellows themselves.

The LKYSF was developed and taught by world-renowned academicians and practitioners, exploring key issues of the decade and significant trends as well as critical insights into upcoming opportunities and challenges. It is tailored to senior-level leaders in public, private, and non-profit sectors, the rigorous curriculum works to develop the leadership and governance competencies of its Senior Fellows.

The Philippines was proudly represented by Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute President and Chairman Glenn Banaguas; Department of Information and Communications Technology Cybersecurity Bureau Director Maria Victoria Castro; Department of Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven; Securities and Exchange Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee; and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs Maria Angela Ponce.

Collectively, the Philippine fellows represent many years of public service expertise across a variety of disciplines and vital sectors.

Banaguas is a distinguished scientist and science diplomat, and one of the leading experts in environment, climate change, and disaster risk in Asia. He is also the Chairman of the ASEAN Science Diplomats and the US-ASEAN Fellows for Science and Technology, and the Climate Diplomat of the EU-Asia Expert Panel for Climate Diplomacy and Environmental Security. He is currently an Executive Fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland and concurrently serves as an adviser and consultant for the United Nations. Banaguas is a United Nations Sasakawa and The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Laureate, as well as an Asia Leaders for Sustainability awardee.

Dir. Castro has been with the government for more than 25 years. She is the Head of the Cybersecurity Bureau of the Department of Information and Communications Technology and former Undersecretary of the Department. Prior to joining the DICT, she was with the National Security Council (NSC), where she handled matters of national significance. She has done public policy research in the area of crisis management and is an expert in the fields of food security, health security, non-proliferation, disaster management and monitoring, and most on-systems integration.

Atty. Joven is the Undersecretary for the International Finance Group of the Department of Finance. A CPA Board topnotcher, his services are highly sought-after in the areas of estate planning, corporate reorganizations, cross-border transactions, and tax advocacy. As a faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Law, he has taught Wills and Estates, Income Taxation, Business Taxation, Credit Transactions, and Financial Accounting. He is licensed to practice law in the Philippines and the State of New York.

Atty. Lee is the Supervising Commissioner of the Markets and Securities Regulation Department and the Information and Communications Technology Department. He spearheaded the establishment of the International Affairs and Protocol Division and PhiliFintech Innovation Office of the Commission. He is a Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) and other international organizations.  Prior to joining the Commission, Atty. Lee was an Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the President (OP).

Atty. Ponce is presently the Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs. As the Legal Adviser of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations (UN) in New York, she commenced her work as Vice-Chairperson of the UN General Assembly’s Legal Committee in 2018. Ponce is also in charge of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns, which focuses on marine scientific research and marine environment protection, and capacity-building activities among maritime agencies and institutions in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Following the completion of the Senior Fellow Programme, they have since returned to the country and are currently making plans for their respective organizations for the coming year.