News & Events

Vigan native cited for boosting rice research

By Sosimo Ma Pablico
Manila Times, March 15, 2004

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur—Dr. Leocadio S. Sebastian, a native of this city who is now the executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, has been honored by the Crop Science Society of the Philippines (CSSP) for his “innovative leadership in propelling PhilRice toward helping farmers produce more rice for all Filipinos.”

Sebastian received the CSSP achievement award in research and development (R&D).

Eloisa Karen T. Barroga, chief of the PhilRice technology promotion department, also received the CSSP achievement award in extension.

The CSSP noted that under the stewardship of Sebastian, PhilRice “has increasingly become instrumental in the implementation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997, helping the rice farming industry cope with market liberalization and rapid globalization that threaten small farmers and food producers.”

Sebastian was also cited for his innovative managerial skills, which helped PhilRice hurdle the challenges of its transfer to the Office of the President in March 2002 and back to the Department of Agriculture on June 23, 2003, including the lead implementation of the national hybrid rice commercialization program (HRCP).

Aimed at creating agricultural jobs while helping attain rice self-sufficiency in the country, the HRCP is on top of PhilRice’s R&D activities geared at a modernized Philippine rice industry that is economically viable and globally competitive.

In addition, Sebastian was cited for his dynamic leadership in drawing PhilRice into carrying out new projects such as an environmental management system (EMS), which calls for the integration of principles of environmental protection into an organization’s products, operations and activities, as well as services.

With EMS, PhilRice further improved its quality of service, work ethics and working environment. Under Sebastian leadership, PhilRice has metamorphosed into an R&D and extension center of sustainable and environment-friendly rice technologies to best serve the Filipino farmers.

On the other hand, Barroga was recognized for using innovative methods, approaches, strategies and various combinations that have proved effective, and cost reducing, while at the same time expanding the reach and coverage of PhilRice’s extension efforts.

In her work as an education communication specialist of PhilRice, Barroga has pursued over the years a singular objective of bringing rice science and technology closer to its end-users.

The end-users include marginal to progressive farmers, extension workers, officials of local government units, policy makers, nongovernment organizations, private business enterprise and the mass media.

Barroga was cited for putting in place an area-based technology promotion framework, assigning to each PhilRice branch office a service area composed of several adjacent provinces with contiguous rice area, or rice basin. This framework has spurred the development of localized extension models by the branch offices.

Moreover, she has transformed the usual dole-out strategy to cost recovery, cost-sharing and strategic partnership with other government units. This scheme has reduced the cost of reaching strategic audiences and decision makers.