Rodel Bontuyan: Bringing together aid and local institutions

Rodel Bontuyan, area manager for Plan International. Photo by: Devex

Rodel Bontuyan started 2013 with a new mission: He would lead the operations of Plan in Luzon, the largest of the three major groups of islands in the Philippines.

A few months before his assignment, he signed an agreement on behalf of the NGO with law enforcement authorities in a region south of the country to collaborate in protecting women and children from abuses.

Bontuyan is one the most influential development leaders aged 40 and under in Manila.

Devex is recognizing 40 of these young trailblazers in international development. They are social entrepreneurs, government leaders, development consultants, business innovators, advocates, development researchers, nonprofit executives and journalists.

We spoke with Bontuyan about his work.

Can you share with us a moment when you felt your work was making a meaningful development impact?

I feel that the work that we do was making a meaningful development impact when we discovered the positive changes in the life of boys and girls whose rights had been denied. More and more children now enjoy their right to health, education, protection, etc. and the government has improved the way it performs its duties for children to realize their full potentials.

The following are few of the results of our work that we can see:

  • Mothers and their children who die due to birth deliveries attended by non-professionals do not die anymore due to the systems in place where maternal health care now reach the unreached.

  • Children who walk for an hour or two to fetch drinking water can now study and play due to the installation of water systems nearby.

  • Domestic violence affecting girls and women is now reduced, while fathers now participate in child rearing.

  • Communities are better prepared before any disaster strikes and are resilient to climate change.

  • Local governments have improved their programs for children and women.

What’s your strategy for building and maintaining relationships with Plan International’s Philippine partners?

Transparency, open communication, focus, integrity and honesty were the values we have demonstrated in building and maintaining relationships with our partners. We just have to keep it going.

You spent five and a half years leading Plan International’s operations in the central Visayas region. How will your experience there shape the way you intend to lead operations in the Luzon region?

With various lessons learned and the good practices that worked in that context, we just have to replicate and scale up context-appropriate programs that will work in Luzon.

We will also focus our attention to the most disadvantaged children especially the indigenous communities and deliver a more gender-transformative program that will truly make positive changes in their lives, factoring in their vulnerability to natural hazards, armed conflict and poor governance.

Read more about the Devex 40 Under 40 International Development Leaders in Manila.

About the author

  • Devex Editor

    Thanks a lot for your interest in Devex News. To share news and views, story ideas and press releases, please email We look forward to hearing from you.