Agri chief receives “Lifetime Excellence Award”


QUEZON CITY, Nov. 23 — Agriculture Secretary William Dar received on November 20, the “Lifetime Excellence Award” given by the Asia Leaders Awards 2020, in recognition of his over four decades of dedicated servant leadership to attain food security, both in the Philippines and in other parts of the world.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar received on November 20, the “Lifetime Excellence Award” given by the Asia Leaders Awards 2020, in recognition of his over four decades of dedicated servant leadership to attain food security, both in the Philippines and in other parts of the world. Photo by DA

“Being a son of farmers in the North, I had never imagined holding a top position in government with the opportunity to serve our farmers and fishers and change their fate,” Secretary Dar said in his acceptance speech.

“I had also never imagined garnering this Lifetime Excellence Award, a prestigious recognition from the Asia Leaders Awards 2020. There is so much more I intend to do for our agriculture sector. Nonetheless, I’m very thankful for recognizing my efforts — and the collective achievements of the Department of Agriculture (DA) — thus far,” he added.

“Servant-leadership is how I have led the past four decades, and how I will be leading the DA in the next two years as we continue to lay a solid foundation for a productive, globally competitive and climate-resilient agriculture,” Secretary Dar said.

“While the ongoing global pandemic makes our work at the DA doubly challenging, I will not rest until the victories I have attained in previous organizations I have led are reflected in the lives of the Filipino farmers and fishers,” he added.

“Guided by our ‘new thinking’ to modernize and industrialize the Philippine agri-fishery sector, we, at the DA, will continue to unlock the sector’s vast untapped potentials and gear it up as one of the country’s primary engines of economic growth. Agriculture will be an attractive sector as a source of income and a hotbed for honing technological sophistication,” he said.

He added that “under my leadership, we at the DA vow to continue performing our duties, anchored on the principles of good governance, transparency, consultative engagement and with a greater sense of urgency.”

A horticulturist by profession and the country’s 45th agriculture chief since June 23, 1898, Secretary Dar was appointed as the first director of the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in 1987 by then Agriculture Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez. Thereafter, he headed the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), and acting DA secretary in 1998.

He went on to become the first Filipino to lead a global agricultural research center, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in India, serving an unprecedented three five-year terms as director-general.

For his remarkable leadership at ICRISAT, the government of India conferred on him the MS Swaminathan Award, India’s version of the World Food Prize.

When he returned to the Philippines in 2014, he founded the Inang Lupa Movement that advocated for the modernization and industrialization of Philippine agriculture.

He was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in August 2019, and immediately confronted several challenges like the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), birth pains of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), and falling palay prices, and in early 2020, the eruption of Taal volcano, followed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, and recently a series of destructive typhoons that altogether exacted a heavy toll on the country’s food production, supply, and affordability.

The agriculture sector was considered by the country’s economic managers as the saving grace, as it managed to grow by 1.6 percent (%) in the second quarter and 1.2 % in the third quarter 2020, at the height of the community lockdowns imposed by the government to stem the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 virus.

The Lifetime Excellence Award is the third award Secretary Dar has received this year. Two others were the: “Lifetime Contributor Award” by the Asia CEO Awards; and “Presidential Award” by the University of the Philippines Los Baños Alumni Association.

He is one of this year’s 23 recipients of the Asia Leaders Awards (ALA), whose judges include: Gerard Ho, Singapore ambassador to the Philippines; Norman Mohammad, Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines; Hang Dong-man, South Korean ambassador to the Philippines; Abdulgani Macatoman, Trade and Industry undersecretary; Edward Ling, president of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines; and Elton See Tan of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The ALA is one of the largest and respected award-giving bodies from the Philippines with awardees from the Asia-Pacific region. It recognizes the exemplary achievements of technocrats and leaders who make a difference in their own organizations, and go out of their comfort zone to help those in need. The ALA recognizes leaders who inspire others to do better, to help others and be the best in their industries, and at the same time, promote the Philippines as a major business hub and investment destination in Asia.  (DA-StratComms)


Dr. Eva Maria C. Cutiongco-de la Paz is 2018 Dangal ng Bayan (DnB) Awardee!

Dangal ng Bayan (DnB) or the Outstanding Public Officials and Employees Award is conferred to an individual for performance of an extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of his/her observance of the eight norms of behavior provided under Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Continue reading

Physics professor bags top PCIEERD R&D award

(AUG. 3)—UP National Institute of Physics (NIP) professor Maricor N. Soriano, PhD, received the 2018 Outstanding R&D Awards for the Emerging Technology Category from Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).


The award is open to all research and development (R&D) projects undertaken for the last three years by Filipino scientists, researchers and engineers from universities and colleges, R&D institutions, and private industries under DOST-PCIEERD’s sectoral concerns clustered into four categories: Industrial Technology, Energy, Utilities and Systems, Emerging Technology, and Special Concerns.

Soriano was awarded for her research project “Integration of ARRAS and CRAVAT Tools,” a DOST funded project under the program Coral Reef Assessment and Visualization-Advanced Tools or CRAVAT.

According to Soriano, CRAVAT is a two-year project (2014-2016) with the objective of  developing coral reef monitoring tools that can go deeper, see wider, analyze higher-dimensional data, and process data faster. The CRAVAT program and its predecessor the Automated Rapid Reef Assessment System (ARRAS) are programs for local governments and environmental monitoring agencies for coral reef monitoring that are easy to acquire, use and maintain. To date, outputs of the CRAVAT and ARRAS projects are being used by 28 different agencies (local governments, schools and non-government organizations).

Soriano added that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources supplied additional funding to allow training of its regional officers in the use of these technologies. Soriano’s team has obtained videos and produced maps covering 2000 km of coral reefs out of the estimated 10,000 km of coastlines with reefs in the Philippines. The permanent visual records can be used as a baseline to monitor changes in the coastal marine resources.

Soriano and her team was awarded with a trophy and a cheque worth P300,000 during PCIEERD’s 8th anniversary celebration on June 29 at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center.

A Professor 7 at NIP, Soriano earned her PhD in Physics from UPD in 1997. Her research interest is in color, video and image processing. She has collaborated with marine scientists to create tools to visualize coral reefs, with museums to digitally preserve and analyze paintings, and with public health experts to create smartphone-based tools for microscopic diagnosis.

For her multidisciplinary work, she was recognized in 2006 as Outstanding Young Scientist in Applied Physics by the National Academy of Science and Technology-Philippines; one of nine Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service in 2013; and the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship by the UK government in 2015.


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