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Amb. Cabactulan is a career diplomat, with educational background in the fields of political science and economics. He obtained his bachelor and master degrees in Political Science from the University of the Philippines and a Certificate in Development Economics from the School of Economics of the same university. He had a Diploma with merit for Commercial Policy from the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the predecessor of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Geneva, Switzerland. Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as Staff Economist. His foreign assignments were in Geneva, Brussels, New York City (1986-1990 and 1995-2000) at the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, Sydney and the United Arab Emirates. He was previously assigned in the Home Office as Executive Director of the Office for the United Nations and Other International Organizations (UNIO) and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Cabactulan has extensive experience in negotiations. He was a member of a team that negotiated Philippine accession to the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade. He participated in a number of negotiations on textile agreements, the General System of Preferences or GSP and Coffee Export Quota. He led the G-77 in the negotiations on economic and related issues at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva (General Assembly, ECOSOC, Commission on Sustainable Development, Population Commission, UNICEF and UNDP) in 1989 and in 1996. He was the facilitator of the UN Ad Hoc Working Group that paved the way for the convening of the Summit on Financing for Development.