ASOG Dean Philip Arnold "Randy" Tuaño

Shaping Competent, Ethical Leaders

by Cris Yparraguirre

When he was a student at Ateneo High School,  Philip Arnold 'Randy' P Tuaño found one subject interesting: Consumer Mathematics.

"It was very practical. It was a subject that discussed savings and income wages. I really enjoyed the course and thought it was something I could explore in college," he recalls. So, he did. Tuaño took up AB Economics at Ateneo de Manila, graduating in 1989. He also has an MA in Development Economics (1996) from the University of Sussex. He also studied at the University of the Philippines, obtaining an MA in Economics (2001) and a PhD in Economics(2015).

With an extensive background in economics, one would think that Tuaño would thrive well in a bank, multinational company, financial institution, accounting firm, or even in the government sector. But Tuaño chose a different path, a call to service that started to brew during his time at Ateneo. The period of civil unrest brought about by the martial rule in the 70s served as the impetus for Tuaño's calling: "It was in the 80s, and many of us were caught in the twilight of Martial Law and the spirit of volunteerism."

Tuaño started volunteering in college. He was moved by the depth of engagement in the communities and organizations they served. Service of faith and promoting justice—some of the virtues defining Ignatian spirituality —were palpable in Tuaño's Ateneo experience. The University, he adds, has a longstanding tradition of supporting trade unions, farmers, and workers' organizations. 

"I started my work as a formator for the Office of Social Concern and Involvement (OSCI)," he says, working for the University's arm for social formation from 1989 to 1995. He rose to become one of the program officers of the Center for Community Services, one of the first social development offices that former University president Fr Bienvenido Nebres SJ and Fr Noel Vasquez SJ helped establish.

"The Center for Community Services was composed of several offices. There was an office that assisted trade unions; an office that helped organized farmers, etc.," Tuaño says. The offices of the Center for Community Services included the Workers College, which assisted in the organizing of trade unions, the Organizing for Rural Development, which assisted in supporting farmers' organizations in the Quezon province, the Lingap para sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan, which organized farmers in the Sorsogon province, and the Office for Social Concern and Involvement, which assists undergraduate students in their immersion and exposure programs.





"We are proud to say that our faculty is part of disinformation and misinformation research. This is one of the challenges that affect democracy, which we strive to teach our students. Then there is also the question of participatory governance."



After completing his first Master's degree in 1996,  Tuaño worked at the Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs.

“My work at the Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs (CSPPA) arose out of my organizing work at the Center for Community Services. Many of the NGOs that were organized in the 1970s and 1980s went into advocacy and lobbying for progressive social and economic policies in the government, and the CSPPA was tapped for that.”

Buoyed with the spirit of democracy, Tuaño wanted to continue what he started and extend a hand in improving communities.

"There was an opening at the end of the EDSA [revolution] where participation among sectors was highly valued and encouraged. As a result, the Center for Social Policy was organized to allow the participation of marginalized sectors. The center pioneered many institutions with different advocacies," he says. 

Tuaño furthered deepened his engagement, working with government and the civil society sectors by working as a director of the Macro Policy Unit of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (2001 – 2004), as Development Associate at the Peace and Equity Foundation (2004 – 2008), and as a researcher for the Caucus of Development NGO Networks in the mid to late 2000s.

"You cannot have peace without social justice," he says. 

In the mid-90s, Tuaño also started teaching part-time at his alma mater: "I was teaching on and off at the Economics department and became a full-time faculty member by 2015."


From community development to teaching, Tuaño was called in for a new direction in 2022 as dean of the Ateneo School of Government.

"I came from the Loyola Schools, and no one wants to be chair[ of a department], he chuckles before adding, "but we all have our tour of duty, and all of us are responsible for that position. So when I was asked to become a dean, I thought of all this. The School of Government originates in the Social Development complex  of the University."


"And becoming a dean is just a continuation of the tradition, of thinking how the school has been making efforts to help marginalized groups of the society; to be able to put their agenda in government. So I think that's one of the things that the school can do."

The last two years have been like no other, but Tuaño is confident that the Ateneo School of Government can chart its path forward through it all.

The pandemic highlighted the role of technology in teaching and learning, which the new dean hopes to maximize.

"We have many students who are not based in Metro Manila. We have a customized program for the Department of Health that helps medical professionals who work in barrios and far-flung areas. The challenge is really how to ensure that with this online setup, we can teach our students and inculcate the Ignatian values that we have," he says.

The school is increasing its research output and hopes to play a more dynamic role in policy development. "We are researching national security and democracy, answering questions  such as how do you know what economic and political arrangements are necessary for this new normal?" 

Tuaño also hopes to address the other issues we are combating: disinformation and misinformation.

"We are proud to say that our faculty is part of disinformation and misinformation research. This is one of the challenges that affect democracy, which we strive to teach our students. Then there is also the question of participatory governance," he says. 

Tuaño's community development experience and economic background provide a solid foundation to helm the School of Government.

"Because of the volunteer experience, we are involved in issues of marginalized communities. We were exposed very early to the politics involved in this. My Ateneo education and formation allowed me to become involved in this. I believe our students today think and feel the same."

With everything going on, Tuaño is ready to help develop competent and ethical leaders for the country. ​​​Fabilioh!



Published by the Office of University Development and Alumni Affairs (OUDAA),
Ateneo de Manila University

Fr Norberto "Kit" Bautista SJ

Rica Bolipata-Santos PhD

Cris Yparraguirre

Renzo Guevara, Margarita Santos, KD Suarez

Andrea Bautista
Art Director/Graphic Designer

Ateneo alumni can update their information by emailing OUDAA at