Former PH Senator Aquino apprised of SEARCA's transformation agenda

  • By Leah Lyn Domingo
  • 7 July 2023

Former PH Senator Aquino apprised of SEARCA's transformation agenda

Former Senator of the Philippines Paulo Benigno "Bam" Aquino paid a visit to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 6 July 2023. Prior to the visit, Aquino had participated in a speaking engagement at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Student Union, where he addressed the importance of bridging programs for senior high school students.

Mr. Aquino was welcomed by a team led by Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director. Others who attended the meeting include Dr. Nur Azura Adam, deputy director for programs; Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, deputy director for administration; the rest of the SEARCA Executive Committee; and Partnerships Unit staff.

Former PH Senator Aquino apprised of SEARCA's transformation agenda The former senator was extensively briefed on SEARCA's current strategic agenda of "accelerating transformation for agricultural innovation" (ATTAIN). This five-year plan of action is implemented through a range of core programs, primarily focusing on education and collective learning, research and thought leadership, as well as emerging innovation for growth.

Dr. Gregorio shared with Mr. Aquino that SEARCA is actively coordinating with the House of Representatives in providing relevant agricultural research outputs that serve as a basis for policy formulation.

Mr. Aquino took the opportunity to stress the urgency of making cutting-edge technologies accessible to all relevant stakeholders, recognizing a prevailing gap. He affirmed that while these technologies are widely available, various barriers often impede their reach and effectiveness.

Dr. Gregorio underscored SEARCA's belief that systemic and integrated innovation would require a shift in mindset, where farming is seen as sustainable agribusiness rather than just production as it is traditionally viewed.

He also emphasized the need for ecosystem thinking, circular economy, future-proof products and services, low ecological footprint, and transformative leaders for Southeast Asia.

The former lawmaker also said that policy recommendations stemming from research initiatives should not merely identify areas of improvement but also provide a clear, practical roadmap for implementation.

Following the briefing, Mr. Aquino was given an exclusive tour of the SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Next Generation.

Former PH Senator Aquino apprised of SEARCA's transformation agenda