Abdula assumes DA-BAR leadership from Soriano

Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, in his concurrent capacity as director of the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute-Midsayap Station, assumed the leadership for the DA-Bureau of Agricultural research (BAR) from Dr. Junel B. Soriano on 15 August 2022. A turnover ceremony marked this transition which was live streamed on the bureau’s Facebook page. 

An accomplished researcher and administrator, Dr. Abdula has wide knowledge and extensive experience in the field of plant breeding and molecular biology and biotechnology. He steered the development of new rice varieties; and has authored and co-authored a number of publications. As a testament to these, he was a recipient of various awards and recognitions—Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award national winner, ASEAN Rice Science and Technology Ambassadors awardee, and Gawad Saka national winner. 

“We will continue to sustain what has been started to make the DA-BAR more relevant. Technologies and programs should come from the output of [research and development (R&D)],” director Abdula said as he acknowledged director Soriano’s excellent term. 

“Let us prioritize projects that will outscale and commercialize technologies to our farmers and fisherfolk,” he added.

He also underscored strengthening R&D processes and adoption of technologies and how the farmers and the agencies will utilize the research outputs. 

For his part, Dr. Soriano introduced to the incoming director “the very treasure of this bureau— its people.” He acknowledged DA-BAR officials and staff for their competence, excellence, and perseverance which he referred to as “bits and pieces of what builds the puzzle of success for the bureau.” 

“Nine months may seem short for someone with long-term hopes for the bureau. But I am confident to say that we were able to deeply understand the bureau—its responsibilities and the important role it plays toward attaining our aspirations for the sector. Together, we were able to identify what has to be done and formulate solutions to address the needs of our office, and deliver on the interests of our stakeholders,” said director Soriano. 

Dr. Abdula, together with assistant directors Joell H. Lales and Dr. Anthony B. Obligado, presented a certificate of appreciation and token to Dr. Soriano in recognition of his dedicated service as a leader that contributed to the growth and development of the bureau. 

“On behalf of the bureau, we would like to express our most profound appreciation to Dr. Junel Soriano for his excellent leadership, which was marked also by his generosity and patience in sharing his expertise, knowledge, and experience for the bureau for almost a year,” DA-BAR assistant director for Programs Lales said. 

Dr. Soriano has introduced and firmed up strategies and reforms in line with the department’s OneDA Reform Agenda. To ensure a more effective and efficient delivery of the gains of research for development and extension (R4DE) to the agri-fisheries sector, he further firmed up the bureau’s inclusive and transformative research for development and extension agenda—giving the necessary focus to “Technology Scaling for Impact to Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors.”  Along with this, he underscored the need to ensure that all agri-fisheries R4DE initiatives will be translated to policies that are useful and beneficial to the sector; hence, the institutionalization of the “research to policy for development and extension” approach.  

Dr. Soriano served as the bureau director from 25 October 2021 to 14 August 2022. He now serves as director of the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management. (### Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino and Geline Nicole A. Morillo)