Dr. Cielito F. Habito is a Professor of Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he served as Director of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development for 11 years. He currently heads the USAID Trade-Related Assistance for Development (TRADE) Project. He He also writes the column “No Free Lunch” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
His professional career has spanned work in academe, government, business sector and civil society. He began as a faculty member at the Department of Economics of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB), where he served from 1975 to 1990. He also worked as a Research Assistant at the World Bank, as Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, Research Fellow at the Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and Visiting Fellow at the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo.
In 1990, President Corazon Aquino appointed him as Assistant Director-General and subsequently, Deputy Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). In 1992, newly elected President Fidel V. Ramos appointed him to take over leadership of NEDA as Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and Director-General. In that position, he was the country’s chief economic planner and member of the Cabinet of President Fidel V. Ramos throughout his six-year presidency in 1992-1998. He has since held board directorships in private corporations including the Manila Water Company, Metrobank, Metrobank Card Corp., Philsteel Holdings, Lepanto Mining Corp., and others. He is also Chairman of Brain Trust Inc. and Operation Compassion Philippines, and is a member of various professional, civic and religious organizations, including the Philippine Economics Society, Galing Pook Foundation, Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF)-Philippines, Ramos Peace and Development Foundation (RPDEV), Knights of Columbus, and the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community, among many others.
Dr. Habito has received numerous awards, including the Philippine Legion of Honor, The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award, Most Outstanding Alumnus of UPLB, the Gawad Lagablab or Outstanding Alumnus of the Philippine Science High School, and Outstanding Citizen of Laguna. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in U.S.A. (1984), where he also earned a Master of Arts (1981). He also holds a Master of Economics (1978) from the University of New England (Australia). He earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Summa cum Laude (1975, Major in Agricultural Economics) from UPLB.
Born in Cabuyao, Laguna, Dr. Habito is married to Pilar Relova of Pila, Laguna, and is father to five children and grandfather to three.