Dr. Ciel Habito is a Professor of Economics in the Ateneo de Manila University, where he is also Director of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD). He has served as Board Director in various private corporations and foundations, including the Manila Water Company, Metrobank, Metrobank Card Corporation, Steel Corporation of the Philippines, Brain Trust Inc., Operation Compassion International, Galing Pook Foundation, Clean Air Initiative-Asia, and the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation (RPDEV). He also writes the award-winning weekly column “No Free Lunch” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He was the Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) during the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, and served the full six-year term in the Ramos Cabinet.from 1992 to 1998.
Dr. Habito continues to speak widely to a variety of audiences at home and abroad on economic policy and sustainable development. His wide experience in international development diplomacy included heading Philippine delegations to major nternational conferences, including the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt (September 1994); the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark (March 1995) where he chaired caucuses of the Group of 77; ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meetings from 1991 to 1998; and the annual sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) from 1993 to 1998. He was elected Chairman of the Sixth Session of the UNCSD in New York in 1998, for which he was credited for skillfully reconciling the divergent interests of governments, industry and civil society in the contentious discussions of the session, and for introducing a Stakeholder Dialogue as a regular feature of the CSD annual sessions. He served as member of the ASEAN High Level Task Force to Study the AFTA-CER Free Trade Area, and is acknowledged to be among the Eminent Persons in Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region.
His professional career began at the Department of Economics of UPLB, where he started as Instructor in 1975, and moved up to become Professor and Chairman of the Department by the time he left to join government in 1990. In 1990, he was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as Assistant Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and was promoted a year later to Deputy Director-General, and in the following year was appointed by then newly-elected President Fidel V. Ramos to his Cabinet in the concurrent positions of Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and Director-General of NEDA.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Philippine Legion of Honor in 1998, The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award (for Economics) in 1991, Most Outstanding Alumnus of UPLB in 1993, and the Gawad Lagablab (Outstanding Alumnus Award) of the Philippine Science High School in 1991. He is a member of various professional, civic and religious organizations, including the Philippine Economics Society, Philippine Agricultural Economics and Development Association, Economics Association of East Asia, International Society of Ecological Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Knights of Columbus, and the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community.
An accomplished economist, he has authored or co-authored numerous books, monographs, journal articles, papers presented in local and international conferences and seminars, and government policy papers on topics spanning the range of economic policy issues, quantitative economic modeling, and sustainable development. He also writes a weekly column (“No Free Lunch”) in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He prepared a computer software package that simulates the Philippine economy for policy analysis using a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model he developed.
Dr. Habito and his wife worked with and among the poor, especially children of depressed communities in their hometown of Los Baños. Their community work evolved into a community outreach program within a school that includes a mobile children’s library, outreach daycare and primary schools in depressed communities, a special education program for autistic children, livelihood and entrepreneurship training and assistance for the poor, and teacher training.
Dr. Habito holds a Ph.D. in Economics (1984) from Harvard University, where he also earned a Master of Arts (1981). He also holds a Master of Economics (1978) from the University of New England in Australia. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Summa cum Laude (1975, Major in Agricultural Economics) from UPLB, the third Summa cum Laude and the first male and the third ever to graduate with that highest honor in the university’s then 66-year history.
Born April 20, 1953, he is married to the former Pilar Relova, with whom he has five children.