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Joji Ilagan Bian

Joji Ilagan International Schools, Joji Ilagan Career Center Foundation, Inc.
Davao City, Philippines
Joji Ilagan Bian founded the Joji Ilagan Foundation College of Business and Tourism, with two classrooms and four teachers, including herself. It was the first Hotel and Restaurant Management technical vocational school in the Visayas and Mindanao in the early 80's. At that time, the city was still burdened by peace and order problems yet, this in no way deterred her from pursuing her dreams of training young people in technical vocational skills. Her tenacity paid off and soon, as the economic conditions became better, she had trained professional and highly skilled individuals manning the hospitality and tourism industry. She didn't stop at just being in the education sector but was instrumental in providing industry support by helping set up organizations such as the Women in Travel where she was the charter president; Davao Tourism Association, as the first woman president, and as Tourism Council of Davao Chair in 1990.

From that couple of classrooms of the Joji Ilagan Foundation more than 30 years ago, she has established six more premier learning institutions: The Stockbridge American International School based in Davao and General Santos City; JIB E-Academy and Solutions, a language and call center school; JIB Welding Academy, which offers a welding and related metal fabrication courses; International Culinary and Hospitality Entreprenuership, a culinarty and hospitality school that delivers Australian Training Qualifications under WorkSkills Australia . In General Santos City, Joji has established the International School of Hotel and Tourism Management, the first culinary and hospitality school in Southern Mindanao with industry standard facilities and educational amenities Joji straddles the government and private sphere. She was the first woman president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc; first woman Chair of the Mindanao Business Council and represented Mindanao at the East Asia Business Council. She was also vice-chair of the Mindanao Commission of Women, established to provide leadership to address political, socio-cultural and economic concerns from a Mindanao women's perspective. She is the founding chair of the Mindanao Technical Vocational Schools Association; the largest umbrella organization with membership of over 2,000 Mindanao vocational schools. She brought together the industry, labor, and TVET sector to forge alliances to upgrade the skills of the human resource in the region.She was appointed by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Mindanao representative in government created commissions. Most notable are: Mindanao representative to the Export Development Council, the Maniwang Commission in 2003; Constitutional Commission in 2005, and as one of the 15-member Advocacy Commission.In 1997, she was conferred the Datu Bago Award for Business and Education, one of the youngest awardee to the highest award given to the city to Dabawenos who have rendered invaluable contribution to the growth and development of the city. In the same year, she was also the Kabalikat Laang Bisig Presidential National Awardee for the promotion of Development of Technical Vocational Training in the Philippines, conferred by the President of the Philippines.In the private sector, Joji was awarded the Jaycees’ LEAD Award and the Patnubay Award in NGO Work for Education in 2010 for her outstanding contribution to the field of education through the many free skills training and scholarships that she has consistently been giving Mindanao. She was also also honored for her work in the promotion of technical vocational education in the country.Joji also received the University of the Immaculate Conception Centennial Outstanding Alumni Award in 2005.