Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II – Leading light of Philippines

Trade Secretary Mar Roxas II, one of the most eligible bachelors in Manila, has been described as a leading light of the Liberal Party, and according to some, ‘helped put IT as the top agenda in the Estrada and Arroyo government’.

Trade Secretary Mar Roxas II, one of the most eligible bachelors in Manila, has been described as a leading light of the Liberal Party, and according to some, ‘helped put IT as the top agenda in the Estrada and Arroyo government'.

Coming from a famous family lineage which includes Philippines’ first President - Manuel Roxas, his grandfather - he has been entrusted with the Trade Secretary role twice in successive governments of Estrada and Macapagal-Arroyo.

Roxas II, who hailed as a former banker with a degree in economics from the Wharton School of Economics and the Kennedy School of Government, is largely liked by the people of Capiz and the IT fraternity in the Philippines.

As Trade Secretary in Estrada’s government, Roxas has been credited for highlighting that the Philippines enjoys an abundance of knowledge workers second only to India. This is seen in the sizeable number of multinationals outsourcing their software systems or applications development activities, engineering design, and human resources management to the Philippines.

These include companies like America Online, Andersen Consulting, Alitalia, Barnes & Noble, Bechtel, Caltex, Citibank, Flour Daniels, James Martin, Mitsubishi, Procter & Gamble, International Red Cross, SGS, Chiyoda, Omron and Sumitomo. Home-grown contract manufacturer Ionics and telecoms operator PLDT holds up the local interests.

As Trade Secretary on Estrada’s trip to the US last year, he helped ink a package of financial assistance worth $125.5 million, including the delivery of helicopters and a Coast Guard cutter to the Philippines, and for a $20-million food aid package for Mindanao.

Currently, Mar Roxas holds the co-chairman post to take charge of the Philippines IT development.

As Trade Secretary on Estrada’s trip to the US last year, he helped ink a package of financial assistance worth $125.5 million, including the delivery of helicopters and a Coast Guard cutter to the Philippines, and for a $20-million food aid package for Mindanao. And the International Monetary Fund has committed to release a $314-million package for presidential fiscal projects aimed at strengthening the floundering peso. And billionaire Gates donated $12 million worth of computer software for distribution to some 1,000 public high schools in the Philippines.

Described as having a reserved demeanor and a low-key style, Mar Roxas II has been sounding the clarion call for Filipinos to take up the challenges of a new global economy, premised on the ethereal estates of intellectual property, technological innovation and international business competitiveness. – Lim Fung Meng, ZDNet Asia