Be at the forefront of development, Caraga State U graduates urged

31 May 2019

BUTUAN CITY – Step up and step out! Be at the forefront of development! This was the rousing message of distinguished rice scientist Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio to the graduates of Caraga State University (CSU) at its commencement exercises themed “Breaking Barriers for Relevant Global Engagement” held last May 30.

Having hailed from the mountains of Bukidnon where he was born and studied through high school, Dr. Gregorio related how he stepped up and stepped out into college at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and stepped out in his career at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) working on rice breeding for tolerance to saline-prone and problem soils and other varieties, taking him all over the country and the world, and later as crop breeding manager for corn at East-West Seed Company.

Dr. Gregorio noted that CSU is an excellent school that has equipped its graduates to make a difference in their chosen field.

Headed by Dr. Anthony M. Penaso, CSU offers undergraduate and graduate programs in agriculture, information technology, mathematics, and science education. Other undergraduate programs it offers are engineering, forestry, and sciences. It also has a graduate program in environmental management.

Dr. Gregorio nonetheless pointed out that “stepping up and stepping out does not necessarily require you to make your career in another province or another country.” 

“Rather, it means not limiting yourself in your thinking and aspiring, not allowing geographical barriers or perceived hindrances due to your field of expertise to keep you from maximizing your contribution to the global community, even as you work and make a difference in your local capacity,” he said.

Now the Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Dr. Gregorio shared how his new post gives him the privilege to think and influence globally while being able to influence and act locally.

Hosted by the Philippine government, SEARCA is an international development organization mandated to promote inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development in the Philippines and the 10 other Southeast Asian countries. SEARCA does this through programs that offer graduate scholarship and institutional development assistance, conduct research and development, and provide science-based information to those who need it most.

Dr. Gregorio said four of CSU’s own faculty members are among the 1,400 recipients of SEARCA scholarships who have completed their PhD and master’s studies and have gone on to occupy high positions of responsibility in governments, academe, private sector, and international and national institutions. He said some have even become ministers, deputy ministers, members of Parliament or Cabinet, presidents of universities, and other prestigious posts.

Moreover, Dr. Gregorio shared that SEARCA has also been working with partners to contribute to internationalization of education in the Philippines to address the challenges and changing landscape of Southeast Asia’s labor market brought about by the ASEAN integration.

“This include building technical and leadership capacities of faculty, continuous curricular reforms, strengthening government-industry-academe partnership, increasing student and faculty mobilities, and enhancing English language proficiency,” Dr. Gregorio explained.

He said all these steps are towards a bigger initiative of universities to ensure equitable access to job opportunities and high-quality skills development trainings.

In closing, Dr. Gregorio enthused CSU’s Class of 2019 with inspiring words of SEARCA’s founding Director Dioscoro L. Umali: “Be the heroes we never were and live.”



Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, tells graduates of Caraga State University (CSU) “Your future roles and contributions, whether in agriculture or in other fields, will be important to national development and in ensuring that our country is as competitive as our neighbors” at the CSU graduation rites held last May 30.
Dr. Anthony M. Penaso, President of Caraga State University (CSU), presents a plaque of appreciation to Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, who served as the commencement speaker at CSU’s 42nd Commencement Exercises held at its main campus in Butuan City last May 30.

26 June 2019, Los Baños, Laguna

Filipino, Indonesian SEARCA scholars feted at UPLB graduation rites

Three Filipino scholars and an Indonesian of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) were awarded at various recognition rites leading to the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Commencement Exercises held last June 22.

Gerald M. Salas, a faculty member of Pampanga State Agricultural University, was the top PhD in environmental science graduate of the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management. He also received the academic achievement award for PhD graduates presented during the UPLB Graduate School Hooding and Recognition Ceremonies.

On the other hand, Karen Joyce G. Cayamanda who obtained her PhD in development studies, earned the Best PhD Dissertation award at the UPLB College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf), while Miko Mariz C. Castro, MS in agricultural economics graduate, bagged the Best MS Thesis award at the UPLB College of Economics and Management.  Both of them are faculty members of UP Mindanao.

Imelda Grace Siregar, Indonesian PhD Agricultural Education graduate, received the Academic Achievement Award for garnering the highest General Weighted Average (GWA) among the UPLB CPAf graduates.

Like Salas and Cayamanda, Siregar was also a SEARCA scholar under the PhD Research Scholarship Program, while Castro was a SEARCA scholar supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

They are among 34 SEARCA scholars from eight Southeast Asian countries who completed their MS and PhD programs in school year 2018/2019 at various study posts in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and Australia.

Eight of them are Filipinos, including Ronilo de Castro, swine research manager at the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, who obtained his doctorate at Nagoya University, Japan under the Nagoya University-SEARCA PhD Research Scholarship.

These graduates join the ranks of more than 1,500 SEARCA scholarship alumni.

Currently headed by Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA has been awarding scholarships to Filipinos and other Southeast Asians since 1968 to build a strong cadre of agricultural and rural development professionals and leaders in Southeast Asia.


2 July 2019

SEARCA leads talks on youth, gender inclusion in forestry

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) organized the session on youth and gender inclusion in forestry at the Asia Pacific Forestry Week 2019  (APFW 2019) held in Incheon, Korea last June 17-21.

The APFW 2019 was jointly organized and hosted by the Korea Forest Service and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The overall theme “Forests for peace and well-being” of APFW 2019 evokes the need to integrate forestry into the context of environment, society, and sustainable development wherein the economic and sociocultural dimensions are taken into consideration.

SEARCA’s session on youth and gender inclusion in forestry brought together voices of youth and women champions who have led the way to meaningful participation towards sustainable forest management (SFM).

SEARCA Director Glenn B. Gregorio said the session aimed to identify gaps and interventions towards streamlining youth and women’s participation in forestry decision-making and their implications for SFM.

In his overview of the session, Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, SEARCA Program Head for Research and Development, emphasized that the experiences from countries in the Asia-Pacific region show the transformative impacts of empowering men, women, youth and indigenous communities to manage forest and natural resources, resulting in substantial benefits such as capital formation and improvements in livelihood and food security.

SEARCA drew in Bangkok-based Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) to discuss “Forests, power and exclusion: What it takes to include women and youth in forest landscapes” as well as Thailand’s International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) to talk about “’Youth Inclusion in Decision Making for Sustainable Forest Management.”

Dr. Kalpana Giri of RECOFTC highlighted that representation, resources and rights are the key entry-points for inclusion. 

On the other hand, Ms. Oindrila Basu, IFSA representative, underscored that youth inclusion in decision- making not only recognizes and encourages their voice and action, but also instills in them a sense of responsibility to the cause of the planet and accountability towards the decisions taken.

Country experiences of Nepal and Myanmar on the role of men and women in forest decision-making were also presented by representatives of the Federation of Community Forestry Users in Nepal and the assistant director of the Forest Research Institute (FRI) of Myanmar.

Dr. Ei Ei Swe Hlaing of FRI shared findings of the assessment of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in mountainous regions of Myanmar towards community forest development, a project funded by the SEARCA-managed ASEAN Working Group Strategic Response Fund (ASRF).

She highlighted that women, young and old, are empowered by the income they get from NTFPs which helps pay for household expenses, minimal as it is. 



Organizers, resource persons, and participants of the session on youth and gender inclusion in forestry convened by SEARCA at the Asia Pacific Forestry Week 2019 (APFW 2019) held in Incheon, Korea last June 17-21.