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Atty. Benedicto Bacani

Atty. Benedicto Bacani is the Executive Director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance based in Notre Dame University, Cotabato City, where he served as Dean of the College of Law and Associate Professor in Political, Administrative and Human Rights Law.

He has broad international experience in examining political solutions to conflicts and promoting the rights of minorities, having been a senior fellow of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC; Hubert Humphrey fellow at the University of Minnesota where he specialized in federalism and conflict management; short-term consultant on constitution-making in Nepal; and visiting lecturer at the European University Centre for Peace Studies in Austria.

He was Asia Director of an international funding agency that provided grants to programs on education and peace and reconciliation to 13 countries in the region.

A scholar of Governance, Justice, Autonomy, Peace and Development, he has authored books and monographs, among which is the book Beyond Paper Autonomy: The Challenge in Southern Philippines that examined the causes of the failures and successes of Muslim Mindanao autonomy.


Atty. Ishak Mastura

Atty. Ishak Mastura is the Chief Operating Officer of IAG Development Consulting, Inc. He has more than 15 years of experience in trade, industry, business and investment policy-making and doing business in Mindanao having been the Chairman and Managing Head of the Regional Board of Investments of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) now Bangsamoro-ARMM (2009-2018).

As RBOI chief, he presided over an unprecedented registration of about P24-B investments in the region. He was previously the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Autonomous Regional Government. He was also the longest serving Regional Secretary of the ARMM Department of Trade and Industry (2002 -2008).

He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a B.Sc. in Management, and afterwards took up his Juris Doctor (law degree) from the same institution. He finished his Master of Laws in Petroleum Law and Policy in 2007 at the University of Dundee in Scotland, U.K. after having obtained a prestigious British Chevening scholarship.


Ronald U. Mendoza, PhD

Ronald U. Mendoza, PhD is Dean and Associate Professor at the Ateneo School of Government. From 2011 to 2015, he was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and the Executive Director of the AIM Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness. Prior to that, he was a Senior Economist with the United Nations in New York. His research background includes work with UNICEF, UNDP, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and several Manila-based non-governmental organizations.

Mendoza obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Honors Program) from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, his Masters in Public Administration and International Development (MPA-ID) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Fordham University. He is a recipient of various awards, including the 2012 National Academy of Science and Technology’s Ten Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) in the Philippines (in Economics), the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2013, and Devex 40 Under 40 Development Leader in 2013.

He is a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Multi-Sector Governance Council, the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of Galing Pook. In addition, he is a Senior Fellow with the East West Institute in New York and member of the Ateneo University Press Editorial Board. Mendoza is also a reserve officer with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the Philippine Air Force Reserve Command.


Atty. Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco

Atty. Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco is a senior research fellow at the Ateneo Policy Center of the Ateneo School of Government and the Institute of Autonomy and Governance. He is also a Lecturer at the Institute of Law, School of Law and Governance of the University of Asia and the Pacific. Atty. Yusingco previously worked as a Consultant to the Office of Senator Koko Pimentel. Atty. Yusingco is also a contributor in various Philippine newspapers, such as on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler, MindaNews, The Daily Guardian, Philippine Times, Sun Star Cebu, Asian Currents, Asia Times, Channel News Asia, and East Asia Forum.

Atty. Yusingco finished his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Ateneo de Manila University, and his Bachelor of Laws from Arellano University School of Law. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Law and Development from the University of Melbourne Law School.