JC Punongbayan, a PhD economist, assistant professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, and seasoned journalist for Rappler, embodies the JCI value of "Service to humanity is the best work of life." Since 2013, he has been an integral part of UPSE, not only as an instructor but also as a lecturer, teaching fellow, and now an assistant professor. Beyond academia, JC extends his educational reach by delivering talks to various civil society groups, including youth organizations, business associations, labor unions, advocacy groups, and political parties.

As a prolific writer and columnist for Rappler.com for over a decade, JC utilizes the power of the written word to shed light on societal, economic, and developmental issues in the Philippines. His articles serve as calls to action, urging critical thinking and meaningful economic reforms. With a significant social media presence, JC's journalistic efforts reach a wide audience, influencing not only students and citizens but also policymakers. Through his work, he not only imparts knowledge but also encourages individuals to become thoughtful and responsible members of society.

Kenneth Isaiah Ibasco Abante (Ken) is a policy researcher, teacher, organizer, and public servant dedicated to empowering ordinary people for systemic change. He excelled academically, graduating as valedictorian at various levels. At Harvard Kennedy School, he earned his Masters in Public Administration in International Development, receiving top distinctions. During his tenure at the Department of Finance, he contributed to significant legislation such as the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012. Ken actively engages in policy research and organizing, notably with Move As One and initiatives promoting budget transparency and COVID-19 response. His work reflects a strong belief in the power of ordinary citizens to shape governance structures and effect change.

Stephen Co is a visionary entrepreneur, renowned for his groundbreaking work in food innovation. As the founder and CEO of Worth The Health Foods (WTH Foods), a leading plant-based alternative protein startup in the Philippines, he embodies ingenuity, sustainability, and community commitment. With WTH Foods, Stephen revolutionizes Southeast Asian cuisine by crafting plant-based versions of beloved dishes, championing sustainability while tantalizing taste buds. Prior to WTH Foods, he founded Nipa Brew Craft Beverages, showcasing his passion for innovative gastronomy. Stephen's academic journey, from graduating magna cum laude in BS Biology at Ateneo de Manila University to earning a Masters in Technology Management from the University of the Philippines - Diliman, underscores his dedication to science and entrepreneurship. Recognized as a Gen.T Leader of Tomorrow and recipient of the RVR SIKLAB Awards for impact entrepreneurship, Stephen continues to inspire as he leads the charge in addressing global food security challenges through his upcoming food innovation center.

Hyku Desesto (Hyku), a celebrated photographer, videographer, director, and entrepreneur based in Dubai, UAE, embodies resilience and determination in her journey to success. From honing her craft in photography to establishing her own production company, Hyku's entrepreneurial spirit shines through. Her adeptness in navigating multicultural environments and her charismatic personality have propelled her business to remarkable heights, catering to exclusive lifestyle and corporate clientele. Collaborating with icons like Gigi Hadid and brands like Vogue, her sustainable business not only realizes her visions but also inspires fellow Filipinos in Dubai. Hyku's excellence has garnered recognition from regional and international award bodies, earning her prestigious titles such as The Filipino Times UAE Photographer of the Year 2019 and nominations for Entrepreneur of the Year 2019. Her groundbreaking work extends beyond accolades, as she was commissioned by Netflix Amsterdam for their inaugural Ramadan campaign, representing Filipinos among Arab talent, and challenging stereotypes through her fearless and relentless approach to her craft.

Mark Sultan, a highly acclaimed Igorot social entrepreneur and climate change advocate hailing from the Municipality of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat Province, embodies resilience and innovation. As the founder of Bambuhay, a pioneering greentech social enterprise, he addresses pressing environmental and social challenges through circular economy solutions. Despite humble beginnings in conflict-affected Southern Philippines, Mark's determination propelled him through college as a self-supporting student. Transitioning from a corporate career, he founded Bambuhay to uplift marginalized communities, providing sustainable livelihoods and empowering them as Agri-preneurs. Over five years, Bambuhay has grown exponentially, establishing a production facility, automating processes, and creating employment opportunities. Mark's transformative work has earned him numerous accolades, including the Grand Winner-Startupper of the Year in Paris and appointments to prestigious positions such as the National Innovation Council, showcasing his impactful contributions to sustainable development and social empowerment.

Ej Obiena, a Filipino Olympian pole vaulter, made history in 2023 by securing the Philippines' first gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. Ranked second globally in men's pole vault, he surpassed the Asian Games record with a remarkable 5.90 meters jump. Setting the Philippine national record at 5.55 meters in 2016, he continued to break barriers by clinching gold at the Asian Athletics Championships in 2019. Recognized as the first Filipino athlete to receive a scholarship from the International Athletic Association Federation (IAAF), Obiena's achievements and dedication exemplify excellence in pole vaulting, inspiring athletes worldwide.

Ma Regaele A. Olarte, an aspiring Doctor of Philosophy in education with a specialization in Physics at the University of the Philippines, boasts a distinguished academic background. She graduated with honors in Master of Development Management from the Development Academy of the Philippines and holds a Master of Public Management, Major in Policy and Program Administration, from the University of the Philippines. Notable accolades include being an Academic Awardee at the Development Academy of the Philippines, receiving the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize Laureate in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and being the Grand Champion in the SEAMO-BIOTROP SEA Creative Camp for Urban Agriculture in Indonesia. Recognized for her outstanding achievements, including being the Top Honoree of the Gawad Kagitingan ng Lahing Kayumanggi in 2017, Olarte is driven by an ethos of stewardship in her role as an educator, believing in faithfully stewarding all that is entrusted to her. With a steadfast belief in the power of determination, Olarte aspires to become the Secretary of the Department of Education, embodying the conviction that with belief, nothing is impossible.

Engr. Mark Napao is a dynamic force in engineering, leading impactful initiatives in social innovation and sustainable energy solutions. As the President and Founder of Solar Hope, an NGO dedicated to providing solar and sustainable solutions to marginalized communities in the Philippines, he spearheads efforts to improve access to reliable energy sources. With expertise in Rural Electrification, Renewable Energy, and Community Development, Engr. Napao's contributions extend beyond his role as an Engineer at the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. His achievements include winning the Social Innovation Challenge 2020 and being selected for the iVolunteerPH 1st Cohort Incubation Program. Internationally recognized for his commitment to sustainable energy, Engr. Napao has received accolades such as the New Energy Nexus Philippines Honorable Mention and the East-West Center Planet Pillar Award. Through initiatives like the Tanglaw Solar Lanterns project, which has illuminated 42 communities and provided solar lighting to 2,600 homes, Engr. Napao and Solar Hope are making a profound impact, bringing light and hope to those in need.

Tor "Mastor" Sagud epitomizes a deep commitment to preserving and promoting the unique Igorot culture of the Cordilleras. With a background rooted in the mountainous region, Tor has made significant contributions as an illustrator, artist, animator, and author of "IGOROTAK: AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE." His impact extends to education and the creative industry, where he formerly served as department head of Animation at CLSDA, Inc., overseeing projects for renowned productions like Disney's Big Hero Six Series and Dragon Ball Z. Today, he leads Studio Sagud, dedicated to producing cultural and educational books, and co-chairs Gripo Comics.

Tor's mission is to bridge the local digital creative industry with local and international clients, aiming to prevent exploitation and foster industry growth in the Cordillera region. His modern illustration style blends traditional and contemporary elements, seeking to unify the diverse regional identities within the Cordilleras and the Philippines. His projects, such as the "Igorotak Series," not only promote and preserve local culture but also contribute to reforestation efforts and address unemployment issues in the Cordillera region and beyond. Sagud envisions this initiative as a catalyst for revitalizing Cordillera culture and inspiring artists nationwide to engage in similar endeavors.

Junior Chamber International Philippines Inc.
No. 14 Don Alejandro Roces Avenue,

Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City,

National Capital Region, Philippines 1103

(02) 8 638 8819

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