Dr. Rogelio D. Colting (1951-2021)

(February 5, 1951-October 17, 2021)

BS Agriculture (Soil Science), 1974 UPLB
MS Soil Science 1981 UPLB
PhD Soil Science 1988 UPLB

Dr. Colting is a son of the Ibaloi tribe of Tublay, Benguet. He is the first in his tribe to graduate at UP Los Baños (UPLB) and become President of Benguet State University (BSU).

He studied at UPLB through scholarships as a son of WWII Veteran, the BSU-Ford Foundation, and PCAARRD. After a year’s stint with Benpres Holdings Corp. in Negros Occidental, he returned to his high school alma mater BSU where he spent his lifetime of public service of almost 40 years (1977-2015). He started as Instructor and retired as University Professor, the first at BSU. He became Department Chair for Soil Science, Dean of Graduate School, Director of the Institute of Highland Farming Systems and Agroforestry, and Vice President for Research and Extension. With his commendable management style, he was elected and reappointed by the Board of Regents as fourth BSU President (July 1, 2003-December 6, 2011). His Student First Policy and capacity-building initiatives for employees had excellent domino effect in achieving the four-fold functions of the university. During his first term, BSU attained SUC Level IV in 2007, the highest category of SUC Levelling by CHED and DBM that elevated BSU into the elite group of Top 20 Performing SUCs with SUC Level IV status.

As a Soil Scientist and BSU President, his desire to rehabilitate degraded farm soils and his advocacy to eliminate pesticide pollution was realized. He made a bold decision to declare BSU in 2004 as pro Organic Agriculture University despite pessimism from various sectors. A comprehensive BSU Organic Agriculture (OA) Program was developed that included the offering of Organic Agriculture as a major field in BS Agriculture, now adopted by other SUCs. The establishment of certified OA Demo Farm and production areas, and delivery of free trainings have convinced many farmers to shift to organic farming. In 2007, the Institute for Marketecology (IMO) based in Switzerland certified BSU as producer and processor of Arabica Coffee, the first in the country. To institutionalize OA, a Regional OA Congress was conducted in 2006, a Cordillera Organic Agriculture Development Center (COADC) was established in 2009. In 2015, a National OA Scientific Congress started with him becoming founding president of the Organic Agriculture Society of the Philippines (OASP). Some sectors say that Roger is the Father of OA in Benguet.

With the BSU-OA Program being adopted in various LGUs in the country, the concept became a working paper in the framing of the Organic Agriculture Act (RA10086) in 2010. And, when the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) was created, Dr. Colting was chosen as the first representative of the academic sector. After his retirement, he worked with the Diocese of Baguio and helped organized and became Technical Consultant of Our Farmers’ Haven (OFH) Federation, Inc., a group of organic farmers in Benguet forging partnerships with various markets such as Healthy Options in Metro Manila.

Dr. Colting is also considered as the bastion in the establishment of the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC), the biggest in the country. In 2010, he convinced the university Board of Regents to allot four hectares of land for the project to support the agriculture industry in Benguet and nearby provinces. He also convinced Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to fund a Vegetable Processing Center to process excess market supply into enriched vegetable noodles and other products. In addition, an Agri-technology-based Industry funded by the Japanese government was established and enabled young farmers to learn how to start a business and be competitive.

Dr. Colting is a recipient of various awards, foremost is the Highest Commendation for Outstanding Performance as University President by the Board of Regents (Res. No. 2012, s. 2011). He was UPLB-CA Outstanding Alumni, was a Benguet Province Leadership Awardee, and had Achievement Awards in Soil Science and in Research Management. He is Grand Knight (4th degree) of the Knights of Columbus, a member of UP Kappa Phi Sigma Honor Society, and a PAARRFI Chair Holder in Soil Science Research. Soka University in Japan bestowed him the Highest Honor Award for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of higher education and advancement of culture. He was officer of various organizations such as UPLB Baguio-Benguet Alumni Association, Cordillera History Society (founder), Philippine Society of Soil Science and Technology, Philippine Fruit Association and Crop Science Society of the Philippines.

On October 18, 2021, BSU hosted a virtual wake to Dr. Colting, to pay tribute to a soft spoken, calm and deeply passionate man who served communities with humility.

Dr. Colting is survived by his wife Lita P. Molitas (UPLB alumna: BS Agriculture 1975, MS Entomology, 1987, and PhD Entomology 1998) with three children, Job Rogelio, and two UPLB alumna: Gretchen Shagami Colting-Hudson (BS DevCom 2001 and DComm 2016, UPOU), and Clarice Shalumai Colting-Pulumbarit (BS Bio 2001 and MS EnviSci, 2015); and six grandchildren: Aivien Shudimai, Lila Shalumi, Gael Luntian, Ramone Rogelio, Sebastian Rogelio, and Keagan Malik.