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The Philippines Today: Its Tax Reforms, Politics and Business Climate

The Philippines Today: Its Tax Reforms, Politics and Business Climate

This is a “must watch” for dual-citizens, investors in Philippine-based companies, entrepreneurs with business partners in the Philippines or who source-out Philippine-made products, as well as retirees who plan to move to the Philippines and Hawaii residents who still maintain close ties with relatives back home. The Philippines is now at crossroads as it prepares for the presidential elections in May 2022 and grapples with the effects of the pandemic on its economy. The forum will provide insights into what to expect for those visiting the Philippines, its quarantine requirements and response to the latest COVID surge, and the pulse of the nation as it prepares for its next political chapter.



Speakers: Emil Fernandez is the Philippine Consul General in Honolulu since October 2021. He has served 4 Presidents and 13 Foreign Affairs Secretaries since his appointment as a Foreign Service Officer in 1998. Mr. Fernandez also served as Deputy Consul General in Frankfurt, Germany. His other foreign assignments included stints in Washington, D.C. (2010 to 2016), Santiago, Chile (2005 to 2008) and Caracas, Venezuela (2002 to 2005). He graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a BA in Management Economics. He has also completed postgraduate courses in Commercial and Trade Diplomacy, International Relations, and International Trade Law and Policy.

Mon Abrea, CPA, MBA is the Co-Chair of Paying Taxes – EODB Task Force. With TaxWhizPH mobile app as his brainchild, he was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Persons of the World, an Asia CEO Young Leader awardee and one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines because of his tax advocacy and expertise. Currently, he is the Chairman and CEO of the Asian Consulting Group (ACG) and Trustee of the Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines – the advocacy partner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on ease of doing business and tax reform.

Orlando Mercado served in the Philippine Senate for two terms and as Secretary of National Defense under two presidents (Estrada and Macapagal-Arroyo). He was a field reporter during pre-Martial Law days, but with the proclamation of Martial Law in 1972, he was charged for subversion and detained for 9.5 months. After his release, he returned to broadcasting and started teaching. In 2009 he was appointed as the first permanent representative of the Philippines to ASEAN. He has taught courses at the UP Diliman where he obtained all his degrees, including a PhD in political science. He is currently the Secretary-General of the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (EROPA).


Kit Zulueta Furukawa immigrated to Hawaii in 2008 and worked for the private and public sectors (PBS Hawaii, County of Maui and UH Maui College) before venturing full-time on her own marketing and creative consultancy company—Kit Zulueta Productions LLC. She also owns and operates Mystery Maui Escape Room and with her husband, Deron, ventured into the food retail business with Maui Chili Chili Oil at the height of the pandemic. Kit received her training in Film and AV Communications from UP Diliman and was recently awarded the Filipino Chamber’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2021—one of her many community awards. Kit will be sharing her observations on her recent trip to the Philippines.


Moderator Vice Consul Andrea Christina Q. Caymo, heads the Economic, Cultural and Visa Section of the PCGH. Prior to being posted in Hawaii, Andrea served under the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and was responsible for crafting the long-term strategic plan of the Philippine Foreign Service. She started her career as an investment banker for Metrobank and later moved to China to do a project for Marine Dream Foundation, an environment NGO based in Shanghai. She holds a degree in BS Business Economics from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and a Certificate in International Security Studies from Harvard Extension School.


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