Cecilia Gonzales-Soriano

Hall of FAME



International Development Corporation of Korea

Ms. Ma. Cecilia “Chil” Gonzalez-Soriano is a member of ME Class of 1979, and distinguished herself early by being the first female valedictorian in the then Ateneo School of Arts and Sciences. She built her career with the Department of Finance, joining its International Finance Group in 1986 and helped the newly installed administration of President Corazon Aquino reschedule the government’s old debts and obtain new financing from bilateral and multilateral development agencies. During this time, she completed her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. She quickly rose through the ranks to become Undersecretary in 1991, the youngest and first woman to do so. In 1992, Chil was detailed to the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. to serve as Advisor to the Executive Director for Brazil, Colombia, and Philippines. She continued to assist the Secretary of Finance in introducing various revenue-generation measures, as well as facilitating the Philippine government’s access to new international funding sources.  She resumed her duties full-time as Undersecretary of Finance in 1995, focusing on the flow of official development assistance as well as private capital to local government units.  Many of the government programs currently in place, such as the Community-Based Resource Management Project, the Local Government Financing Policy Framework, and the National Strategy for Microfinance, started with her.

Chil provided not only the heavy technical inputs to these public financing programs, but also played a leadership role to promote and implement them.  She chaired the preparatory meetings of the Technical Working Group and Deputy Ministers, which led to the meeting of the Finance Ministers of the 18 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group in 1997. During the Asian financial crisis in 1997, she chaired several emergency international meetings to discuss the policy responses for dealing with the crisis. In 1998, she organized the international roadshow to float the first Republic of the Philippines (ROP) Global Bond, which preceded the graduation of the Philippines from the International Monetary Fund.  As head of the Corporate Affairs Group of the DOF, Chil led the negotiation of various guarantee agreements for private sector participation in public infrastructure projects.  

 After leaving government service in 1998, she continues to be actively involved in policy formulation and strategic reviews in her role as consultant to the DOF, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), League of Cities of the Philippines, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank.  She has taught local government financing with the Ateneo School of Government. Her involvement in the urban water sector led to the issuance of E.O. 279 in 2004, which enhanced LGU, government bank, and private sector participation in financing water and sanitation projects. 

Chil’s lifetime work in public finance and local development is an outstanding example of leadership and excellence in the service of the nation.

Prepared by Darwin D. Yu, 22 July 2011