PROFILE: Nicanor Jesus “NICK” Pineda Perlas III

Research by Yeni Raboca, Halalan Volunteer

Posted at Jun 03 2009 04:48 PM | Updated as of Apr 29 2010 08:25 PM

Date of Birth: 10 January 1950
Place of Birth: Manila, Philippines
Metro Manila Address: Pasig City

Civil Status: Previously married to American educator Kathryn Carpenter-Perlas.
Children: Christopher Michael

Official website:
Facebook Page:
Twitter Account:


Environmentalist and civil society leader Nicanor Perlas surprised his peers when he expresed that he is joining the 2010 presidential race. He told his 50-or-so friends and supporters present at the the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Park in Quezon City on June 17, 2009 that he made the “painful” decision after growing tired of waiting for change in the Philippines. The Independent candidate is trailing behind in pre-election surveys. 

On corruption: “I have no utang na loob (debt of gratitude) except to the country and to God.”

On running for presidency: “I found out there was no more room for a real reason, conversation, dialogue, then that was when I decided.”

On the public’s reception of his bid for presidency: “I’m not ashamed of my ideas. I’ve been a heretic for so long. And I know heretics are just the future this is starting to emerge.”

On returning his green card: In 1992, Perlas narrated that he went to the US Embassy to return his green card. “In the other line, there were a lot of people lining up to get a green card and here I was, returning mine. They asked, ‘Why are you returning your green card? A lot of Filipinos want to get one?’ I said, ‘I think I am done helping people abroad. It’s time for me to help my own country’.”

On winnability: "Winnability is something you create, not something you earn or inherit. Because if a person has a vision, a track record and is able to communicate in large scale there are a lot of people who are going to get excited." 

 Educational Attainment

  • Perlas finished elementary and high school in Ateneo de Manila in 1964 and 1968, respectively. His awards in high school included Athlete of the Year (1968) and Silver Medalist in the Math and Science Club.
  • He earned his degree in Bachelor of Science, Major in Agronomy, Minor in Agricultural Economics from the Xavier University College of Agriculture in Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. He was a University Scholar. He graduated in 1972 with Highest Honors.
  • Perlas took graduate studies in 1978. He was in the deans list when he took Masters of Science in Botany in the Environmental Sciences Department of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna. 

Career Timeline 

1970’s, NGO: Perlas founded the first ecological society in the Philippines. After graduating in 1972, he co-organized a successful large scale global campaign to halt plans to construct 12 nuclear plants in the Philippines.

Perlas became a technical adviser to the Presidential Commission on the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant under the office of then President Ferdinand Marcos. He left the Philippines after organizing a conference, which exposed the dangers of the fully constructed and operational Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

1980’s, JOURNALISM: Perlas became an agricultural journalist and columnist at the Modern Agriculture and Industry-Asia, where he pioneered the first monthly articles on ecological agriculture in an Asian context.

1983-present, NGO: Perlas pioneered the introduction of large scale commercial organic and biodynamic agriculture in many provinces in the Philippines. Together with colleagues at the International Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (IASA), he coined the term “sustainable agriculture.”

1986 - After the fall of Martial Law, Perlas returned to the Philippines and founded the Centre for Alternative Development Initiatives (CADI). He became a consultant to the Aquino Government and founded the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, campaigning against the abuse of pesticides.

Perlas also became a member of the government's Pesticides Technical Advisory Committee, which eventually banned 32 of the most damaging pesticides and caused the government to invest P760 million in integrated pest management, which trained more than 100,000 farmers.

1992 - Perlas was one of the Philippines' NGO delegation to the 1992 Earth Summit.

1994 - He won the Global 500 Award from UNEP, and one of the TOFIL Awards to outstanding Filipinos.

1990s - He became Co-Chair of the Green Forum of environmental groups, and became a member of Mikael Gorbachov's Commission on Globalization.

1996 - Perlas was the chief negotiator for 5,000 organizations, which stopped radical and one-sided liberalization agendas in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

2000 - Perlas published a book entitled Shaping Globalisation: Cultural Power and Threefolding and took the book to the State of the World Forum 2000. He co-founded two networks, GlobeNet 3 and Global Institute for Responsible Leadership, to take the ideas forward in a global scale.

2004 - Perlas became the Chief Facilitator of the ABS-CBN Forum on the Filipino Future. Perlas has been focused on social movements and their power to change the world.


  • Chairperson of the Philippine Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Green Forum, and the Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development (2008)
  • Environmental Representative in the Steering Committee of KOMPIL II that developed the detailed strategies that eventually succeeded in removing Estrada from office.
  • President, Center for Alternative Development Initiatives
  • Adviser on Strategy and Integral Sustainable Development and Member, Board of Directors, Lifebank, and Board of Trustees of Lifebank Foundation
  • Co-Founder and Board Member, Global Leadership Initiative, and member, Mikhail Gorbachev’s Commission on Globalization
  • Co-Founder, President and Executive Director, Center for Alternative Development Initiatives, Metro Manila and Iloilo City 
  • Co-Founder, Tindog Pilipinas! (also Spokesperson), national movement for a better Philippines, Professionals for Social Responsibility, Philippine Advancement and Renewal thru Threefolding Networking, Research & Service (PARTNERS), and Global Network for Social Threefolding, found in 12 country areas in the world.
  • Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TruthForce!, the Internet-based newspaper-cum-magazine,, and the Ikabuhi Newspaper for Micro-Entrepreneurs (34,000 + circulation)
  • Professor, Doctoral Program on Applied Cosmic Anthropology, Asian Social Institute.
  • Co-Founder and Spokesperson, Karangalan, 1st National Conference and Festival on “Mobilizing Excellence for Creating a Visionary Philippines”, January 21-23, 2005 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
  • Consultant and Adviser, UN agencies, Philippine official delegations to the United Nations, government and donor agencies, and civil society organizations.

Awards, Medals, Citations

  • Manuel L. Quezon Award for exemplary achievements as a Civil Society leader in the fields of Environmental Advocacy, Global Economic and Financial Management and Peace. (21 August 2009)
  • Right Livelihood Award or Alternative Nobel Prize (2003)
  • United Nations Environmental Program Global 500 Award (1994)
  • The Outstanding Filipino Award in the field of Agriculture (1994)
  • William F. Masterson, S.J. Award (1995)

–With additional research from Maria Althea Teves, Newsbreak

Sources: COMELEC Certificate of Candidacy,,,,,,,