First National Congress
6-7 December 2004, Cebu City, Philippines

Hon. Florencio "Butch" B. Abad
Secretary, Department of Education

Sec. Florencio B. Abad completed his Business Administration degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1980. He graduated from the Ateneo College of Law in 1985 as a President's scholar and became a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines the year after. He went to Harvard University for his Masters in Public Administration in 1993 as a Ford/Asia Foundation Scholar.

Sec. Abad served in the first legislature after martial rule was dismantled as Representative of the Lone District of Batanes from 1987 to 1990. After a short stint as Secretary of Agrarian Reform in the Aquino Cabinet, he returned to Congress in 1995 and served three consecutive terms representing Batanes. He championed legislative reforms as chair of the appropriations committee and authored vital legislations, such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act. He served in the committees on basic education, energy, agricultural modernization, and agrarian reform. He also served as board of director in various government corporations, as well as in human resource development institutions such as the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Sec. Abad has worked in the academe and in the public and non-government sectors. He was a research director at the Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs in 1986 and has been a regular lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University's College of Arts and Sciences, School of Government, and Graduate School of Business. He is an acknowledged mover in civil society, particularly in agrarian development, peace building, and governance reforms, and he is a public education advocate. He started early as an anti-Martial Law activist and a human rights advocate and worked as a trade unionist at the Federation of Free Workers. For his activism, Sec. Abad was twice detained as a prisoner of conscience in 1978 and 1980. Sec. Abad is also credited with helping steer the Liberal Party of the Philippines to its revival as a major reform-oriented political party in the country today.