The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday said Education Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francis Varela’s death is a big loss to the government agency because of his crucial role in educational reforms.
“DepEd deeply mourns the loss of one of its greatest officials in the person of Francis M. Varela, Undersecretary for Finance and Administration,” the agency said in a statement.
“Undersecretary Varela has been very instrumental in forging ahead education reforms particularly in ensuring that every cent in the education budget is spent judiciously. He was a staunch advocate of anti-corruption efforts in the Department and played a very important role in instituting reforms to ensure that ethical standards are observed in all transactions involving the agency,” DepEd said.
A highly principled man, a sharp mind, a willingness to make tough decisions, and the compassion for the Filipino learner were all hallmarks of Varela’s five years in DepEd.
“We are one with his family in this difficult time and one with the nation in mourning the loss of an extraordinary public servant,” DepEd said.
Also expressing their deepest sympathies are members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) who stated they are extending their condolences to family and loved ones of the DepEd official.
Varela is an investment banker by profession. He graduated magna cum laude in Mathematics at Xavier University in Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental and finished his Master of Science in Industrial Economics at the then Center for Research and Communication (now University of Asia and the Pacific or UA &P) in Pasig City.
He is the youngest among the new DepEd officials, but his vast experience is definitely not of a greenhorn. Varela spent a decade of his corporate life with the AsianBank Capital and Investment Corporation where he held top posts as Chief Operating Officer and President.
He also used to head the Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications of the AB Capital Group. The expertise and skills he obtained from his top-rank positions best suit him to handle the finance and administration portfolio of the DepEd organization.
For two years, he was involved with the Center for Research and Communication as an economist, program director of the Industrial Economics Program, and a faculty member of both Economics and Mathematics departments.
A multi-talented leader, he is also a contributing columnist to Business World and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He served as director or trustee in various foundations and corporations including two universities – Araullo University and the University of Iloilo.
His previous involvements include President of Foundation for Economic Freedom, Director of Investment House Application of the Philippines; Phinma Property Holdings Corp.; Microtel Development Corp.; CIP II Power Corp.; Trustee, Phinma Foundation and CRIBS Philippines and Member, National Issues Committee – Makati Business Club.
Fully aware of the voluminous work load he faces in the government’s biggest department, Varela vows to squarely address the financial and administrative challenges posed by such a huge bureaucracy as DepEd. (Joel C. Atencio)