Fil-Am entrepreneur working on improving PH economy

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 3, 2014

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Engineer. Entrepreneur. Silicon Valley innovator.

These are the words that describe billionaire Dado Banatao, touted as the Bill Gates of the Filipinos.

The 67-year-old Banatao, who hails from Cagayan Valley, was recently honored as one of three outstanding Asian Americans during San Francisco’s tenth anniversary celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Banatao is the managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital, a firm focusing on semiconductors and semiconductor related technologies.

Banatao, who has received multiple awards for making a mark in America’s high-tech world said it’s only fitting that successful Filipino-Americans also do their part in the Philippine economy.

“There are a lot of capable Filipinos here that have the means, financially, to give back,” Banatao said. “But there’s not enough. So the country, unfortunately our country in the Philippines really needs a lot of help, really basic help in education, technology, and entrepreneurship and other strategic philanthropic work.”

Banato heads a non-profit organization called the Philippine Development Foundation or PhilDev which focuses on programs that build the infrastructure of science and technology development and innovation aimed at long term social and economic development in the Philippines.

“We are way down the list in Asia in having the number of scientist and engineers that can create valued products,” Banatao said. “So that is the focus of PhilDev. We have been working for seven years now with the government, the academe, and the industry in developing that level of expertise. We even proposed a research and development project in computing and communication infrastructure for the department of education. We are almost done with that R&D and this for the entire country’s elementary and high schools.”

Despite the problems the Philippines faces, reports of corruption within the government, rampant poverty, Banatao believes the Philippine can one day rise up.

“I know that there is a lot of usual doubt if our government is finally clean or corrupt that has been a forever discussion, every time,” Banatao said. “I think that enough asking or thinking about those things do not hesitate. I think the more good people do good things over there hopefully over time people see that and they become the examples of doing well or doing good for the country.”

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