ASEAN agri agency seeks new director

  • 6 July 2018

Source: The Manila Times
6 Jul 2018

THE Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said a professional search for qualified candidates is ongoing to succeed Gil Saguiguit Jr. PhD.

Saguiguit is stepping down as SEARCA director after four decades of service to the center, starting as a student assistant and working himself to the top post and holding it for an unprecedented three terms.

SEARCA's said that all application information are available online at

The outgoing director said that while he enjoyed the support and full backing of the 11-member SEARCA governing board, the center's charter does not allow for a fourth term.

"My job is to see to it that SEARCA is better than when I first took over as director. I would like to think I did just that as evidenced by the kind of development organization SEARCA is today," Saguiguit said, adding he feels it is time to move on.

Under the leadership of Saguiguit, SEARCA reached unparalleled heights as a research and capacity building organization. Its donor confidence, partnerships, and international linkages soared. The center also received recognition from partners, donors, and stakeholders within and outside the Southeast Asian region.

Among the institutions that became SEARCA's partners are the Asian Development Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, European Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, German Academic Exchange Service, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, and Agropolis Fondation of France.

Saguiguit said that development has translated to significant increases in grants and external funding SEARCA has received from major international donors and partners.

Evolving into a think tank, SEARCA has addressed contemporary and emerging issues in the agriculture sector brought about by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Integration.

"SEARCA convened policy forums and conducted cutting-edge research that produced science-based policy recommendations and legislation for national governments SEARCA is mandated to serve and has become increasingly engaged with ASEAN," Saguiguit said.

At the home front, the director said he saw to it that SEARCA gave back to its host government by providing technical assistance to government line agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Commission on Higher Education, and the Climate Change Commission, and contributed much to agricultural and rural development in the Philippines.

Alongside making headway in its technical work, SEARCA also improved the efficiency of its operations and support infrastructure to cope with the influx of new programs and projects.