Our Board of Trustees

The Visayan Forum Board of Trustees

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CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Atty. Laurence is one of the most notable lawyers in the Philippines. He is Founding Partner at one of the top law firms in the country, and a Professor of Law at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Atty. Laurence handles complex commercial, civil, and criminal litigation in all courts in the Philippines. He has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution, domestic and international arbitration, corporate rehabilitation, bankruptcy cases, financial restructuring, and creditors rights.

He has conducted several FCPA-related investigations for various multinational companies.

Prior to founding FAD, Mr. Arroyo was a partner of the Dispute Resolution Practice Group of Baker & McKenzie (B&M) Manila.  He was a member of B&M’s Steering Committee for the Asia Pacific Region, International Arbitration Group, and Corporate Compliance Group.

In addition to his practice, Mr. Arroyo currently teaches Evidence and Trial Technique at the Ateneo De

Manila University School of Law.  He has also taught Special Proceedings, Arbitration Law, and Statutory Construction. He also frequently speaks on arbitration and other topics at Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) seminars.

In 2006, Chambers Asia identified him as one of the “up-and-coming” dispute resolution lawyers. In 2010, AP Legal 500 described him as an “ADR expert” in the Philippines.

Mr. Arroyo was recently appointed by the Supreme Court as a Member of one of the Technical  Working Groups tasked with proposing revisions to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

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SECRETARY

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue has completed her Bachelor of Laws at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City in 1997 and passed the Bar examinations the following year. To name a few, she has been awarded as the 2016 The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) for ICT, 2013 Philippine Individual ICT Contributor of the Year awarded by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), Top Ten Outstanding Young Leaders for 2009 chosen by the Asia Society Foundation under its Philippines 21 program and represented the Philippines in Malaysia in the Asia-Pacific Global Forum for Young Leaders.

She is the former Chair and Co- Founder of National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP 2010-2012). A President of the Philippines ICT Innovation network Inc.  As a member of the media, Atty. Jocelle is a Columnist of the IBP Newsletter and a former reporter/ news writer of ABS-CBN, TV 4 and GMA TV 10.

Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Anti-Trafficking Legal Advocates Society (ATLAS), Inc., the President of the Philippine ICT Innovation Network and the Chair of National-ICT Confederation  of the Philippines (NICP) eGOV Awards 2015 (Excellence in Governance through ICT) for 2012-2016.

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TREASURER

Sr. Cecilia Espenilla is a graduate of BS commerce major in Accounting.  She earned her Masters in Theological Studies in Ateneo de Manila University and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Leadership and Management in De La Salle University.

Last July 2016, she was elected as the Main Animator of Talitha Kum Philippines, a religious organization fighting human trafficking. To date, she has reached about 10,000 individuals in her campaign to end human trafficking.

Busy as she is, she has done multiple tasks such as the Congregational Coordinator of Religious Education, Vocation Promoter and Regional Treasurer in Mindanao, and even assigned as School Administrator most of her religious life. Currently, she is the Promoter of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Philippines.

She is an active organizer and speaker on anti-human trafficking forums and seminars organized either by the province, city, diocese, parish or NGOs. She is most involved in the anti-human trafficking awareness campaign to the youth in private and public schools and in barangays. She works as a member of the iFIGHT Team of the Visayan Forum, one of the most successful NGOs in fighting against human trafficking for 25 years.
Sr. Cecilia has also been involved internationally, elected in Rome as the Asia-Pacific Coordinator of the Dominican Sisters International from 2007-2013; last September 2016, she was invited to attend the International Dominican Human Rights Congress in Salamanca, Spain.

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President and CEO of Visayan Forum

Cecilia is the Founder and President of Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. She is a globally celebrated social entrepreneur and human rights activist, well known for her relentless pursuit of justice and freedom for survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery.

A Freedom Fighter even in her youth, Cecilia dedicated her life to ending modern slavery by fighting for the Filipino people’s liberation from the tyranny of the Marcos regime, and eventually founding Visayan Forum after her release from being a political prisoner. Since then she has successfully established global best practices to fight human trafficking.

She is an internationally recognized Anti-Slavery Awardee, a Trafficking in Persons Hero, a Modern day  Slavery Abolitionist, the recipient of the first Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor, an Awardee of the World Children’s Prize, the 2013 Reuter’s Trustlaw Connect Impact Awardee, and one of the Child10 Awardees of 2015. In 2013, Cecilia’s journey with survivors fighting to end modern slavery was featured by The CNN Freedom Project in a full-length documentary entitled “The Fighters”.

Cecilia fervently believes that we can end human trafficking and modern slavery in this generation.

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MEMBER

Katie Ford is the founder and CEO of Freedom for All, which creates programs and media campaigns to combat human trafficking. Freedom for All partners with ten (10) organizations that are making long-term, systematic changes to end slavery in their respective justice and penal systems in India, Brazil, Ghana, the USA and the Philippines. They also rehabilitate, educate and provide job training and shelter to survivors.

Katie was presented with the Women Together Award at the U.N. She was also given the Changing the Game Award from the Australian Women in New York (AWNY). CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Interview and other international media outlets have covered Katie’s work.

Previously, Katie Ford was CEO and Chairwoman of Ford Models, Inc. She also served as a member of the UN Give Women Leaders’ Council. Katie sits on the Board of Directors of Verite, the leading international business advisor on forced labor.

Katie holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MBA from Columbia University.

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MEMBER

Lulu is an international expert on social development working with the Asian Development Bank. She also served as Consultant for World Bank Projects. For almost 2 decades, she has been working in community development in the Philippines and abroad.

Lulu brings her 19 years of experience in community development work which focuses cooperative development,environmental protection and management,relief and rehabilitation, program delivery and migrant working  children.

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MEMBER

A notable businesswoman, Shelley is credited for bringing SkinDoctors and Sparitual into the Philippines, two highly innovative brands for beauty and wellness: SkinDoctors is a topical alternative for cosmetic surgical surgery while Sparitual is a vegan and eco-conscious brand. Shelley believes in “Selling with integrity”.

Apart from her trailblazing business, Cytherea Global Cosmetics, Inc. of which she is both Founder and President, Shelley is an active socio-civic leader.

She was President of Rotary Club of Makati San Lorenzo District 3830 from 2011 – 2012. During her service, the organization mobilized 76 other clubs in producing and providing 10,000 bulbs using Coke bottles for over 39 Communities in one day. It activated several Medical and Dental Missions and Feeding Programs.

Shelley also facilitated the strengthening of ties between Rotary and Visayan Forum through an official partnership where the organization mounted several activities for Visayan Forum including a Fund Raising Ballet.

With Shelley at the rein, the club garnered 24 awards, including the highest Most Distinguished Club, Presidential Citation with distinction together with awards for exemplary performance in almost all Avenues of Service and Areas of Focus and The Rotary Foundation.