Gregorio, an eminent scientist, will serve for another three years.
A professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Gregorio was endorsed by the SEARCA Governing Board and Education Secretary Leonor Briones. His reappointment was approved and signed by Singapore Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, who is also the SEAMEO council president. SEAMEC is SEAMEO’s highest policymaking body composed of the Education Ministers of the 11 SEAMEO member countries.
At a townhall meeting attended by SEARCA staff, scholars, and the agency’s Governing Board Chair and UPLB Chancellor Jose Camacho Jr. last May 2, Gregorio cited some of the gains during his first term under the banner of Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation.
Gregorio said that SEARCA reached new heights in the implementation of its programs and organizational development.
These changes include enhanced staff compensation and career paths.
“SEARCA also became better in strengthening community relations and engagement through outreach activities branded as SEARCAlinga initiatives that have benefitted over a thousand staff, scholars, frontliners, mothers, children, senior citizens as well as typhoon victims,” Gregorio said.
He added that more partnerships were forged with international organizations, government agencies, academic and research institutions and the private sector.
Gregorio also cited the expansion of the SEARCA-established Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources, with two Philippine state universities among those admitted as new members.
Gregorio said SEARCA is also upscaling its School-plus-Homes Gardens Project to Busuanga Island and Cambodia and has added the elements of biodiversity and entrepreneurship to the package.
“The new SEARCA Grants for Research towards Agricultural Innovative Solutions; SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Next Generation, an interactive museum; and partnership for the Innovation Olympics 2.0, an agri hackathon for the youth to develop innovative solutions for the farming sector, were some of the smarter ways SEARCA embarked on to reach its stakeholders, including the youth to entice them to engage in agriculture,” Dr. Gregorio said.
“The pandemic pushed us to launch the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagement, which not only offers webinars, but also serves as a platform for forums, roundtable discussions, and conferences,” he added.
During his first term as SEARCA director, Gregorio was appointed as a United Nations Food Systems Champion, president of the Society for the Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia and Oceania and chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education Technical Panel for Agriculture. He was also named one of the 2021 Filipino Faces of Biotechnology by the Department of Agriculture.