Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra and Development Academy of the Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Engelbert C. Caronan Jr. were both honored by the DAP in ceremonies that formally introduced them in their new roles with the 45-year-old institution.

Guevarra, who served as chairman of the DAP’s Board of Trustees from 2016-2018, was conferred the title “Eminent Fellow” and given membership in the elite Council of Fellows, while Caronan was formally presented for the first time to the public, including some of the DAP’s major stakeholders.

The conferment given Guevarra comes after a two-year stint as chairman of the DAP’s Board of Trustees, which ended when he was appointed as Justice Secretary last April 5.  The DAP confers the Eminent Fellow title only to those who have been chosen to become a member of its Council of Fellows, an elite group of individuals who have achieved eminence in local and international circles in their fields of expertise.

Important role

The Council of Fellows serves an important role at the DAP as it is a mechanism that generates and facilitates the development and generation of “new, trail-blazing, pioneering, innovative, value-adding and creative ideas” to address development problems of local, national or international significance, thereby enabling the institution to perform one of its major functions of research and development.

Guevarra thanked the DAP for according him the honor, saying it was one “surprise” that was “really so sweet, so heartwarming, so gratifying, (and) a source of genuine pride” as it is “an honor that no politician can take away” and because the conferment was made for his “expertise in government, exceptional leadership and exemplary service.”

Nakakataba talaga ng puso (it warms the heart) when you hear something like that and you know while it’s just been really my way of life to do my task in everything I think, say and do, it is still my hope that I could live up to your lofty expectations and standards,” the Justice top man said.  “I promise on my honor to contribute everything that I have learned in public governance to the DAP’s sustained efforts of being the country’s foremost and premier center of development research and training for national progress.”

Formal presentation

Caronan, meanwhile, was formally presented to the DAP’s stakeholders that included its roster of fellows, members of its academic council as well as representatives of Asian Productivity Organization member countries that included diplomatic personnel.

Caronan, who assumed the institution’s top post in July. comes as the ninth president in DAP history with some impressive credentials.  A multiple-term councilor, vice mayor and mayor of Tuguegarao City, he is also an academician, having taught law at Arellano University and in other law schools in Tuguegarao City.  He recently obtained his Masters in National Security Administration where his thesis “A Grounded Theory Study of the Perceptions of Peace Practitioners on Interfaith Dialogue in Mindanao” was acknowledged as one of the best papers.

Caronan vowed to provide a “conducive environment” where he can collaborate with DAP employees in enabling the institution to achieve its mandate, saying that it is a “tall order” as presidents and CEOs do not have the answers to the ways of achieving their institution’s mandate.

‘No deficit of talent’

“What I can do, what I can promise is to provide a conducive environment for collaboration and exchange of ideas and to channel this towards a common good,” the 45-year-old lawyer, a descendant of the ethnic Ybanag tribe in Northern Luzon, said.  “There is no shortage of wisdom at the DAP.  There is no deficit of talent at the DAP.  Knowledge is never scarce at the DAP.  There is no inadequacy of dedicated workers at the DAP.  And so, I seek your help and guidance, working together as one so that we may be able to approximate the depth and the breadth of the reason for why we are here.”

The twin ceremonies were attended by members of the diplomatic corps, the DAP’s Board of Trustees and their representatives, members of the DAP’s Council of Fellows and Academic Council, representatives of government as well as those of APO member countries, and the institution’s management and staff.


These include Vietnamese Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan, Singaporean Ambassador Kok Li Peng, the Foreign Service Institute’s Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat, former APO Director Joselito Bernardo and APO colleagues Ateca K.C. Vakatora and Mr. Gosen, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, BOT Vice Chairman McJill Bryant Fernandez, the Office of the President’s Alberto Bernardo, the Career Executive Service Board’s Maria Anthonette Allones, Undersecretaries Jose Miguel de la Rosa and Adora Navarro of the National Economic and Development Authority and Tonisito Umali of the Department of Education, Atty. Carlo Bala of the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit’s Rebecca Aquino, Rosalie Sarmiento and Winnie Rose Encallado, the DBM’s Narciso Alcaraz and Raymond Sale, Dr. Sixto Roxas, Dr. Eduardo Gonzales, former Senator Orlando Mercado, Ma. Lourdes Rebullida, Edicio de la Torre, former Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, and members of Caronan’s family led by wife Olivia. – Bert A. Ramirez