ENGR. ABELARDO DELOS REYES BRAGAS
10th Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture RFO 5
In the exigency of service, agriculture secretary Proceso J. Alcala has effected a re-assignment of regional directors and other top DA officials in some regional offices nationwide. In Bicol (region 5) Engr. Abelardo de Los Reyes Bragas with a position of Director IV has been assigned and designated as officer-in-charge , regional executive director vice Dr. Jose V. Dayao, Director IV, CESO Rank IV who has been re-assigned to the Office of the Secretary as Special Assistant.
The Special Order was issued last January 7 but Bragas reported to the DA regional office on January 14 and had his first meeting with the staff on January 14. Meanwhile, Dr. Dayao who is set to retire by April this year has requested secretary Alcala that instead of reporting to the Office of the secretary be retained at the DA-5 regional Office and continue performing functions that may be assigned to him while working on his clearances till April. Dayao's mandatory retirement is still in July but he has written secretary Alcala even prior to the re-assignment that he will be retiring by April.
Director Bragas who hails from Batangas is an agricultural engineer by profession and an alumnus of Gregorio Araneta Foundation. Prior to his assignment in Bicol he was designated regional executive director (Director IV) at Region IV-A. He rose from the ranks starting as Junior Soil technologist, to senior soil technologist at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management then as agriculturist II, senior agriculturist, supervising agriculturists, chief agriculturist then Engineer V at the DA in region IV-A.
Director Bragas is married to Melchy Moreno from Paloyon, Nabua, Camarines Sur and blessed with 2 sons and 1 daughter.
On his first meeting with the staff he urged the cooperation and support of everyone and said that he will continue whatever good policies and practices that are already in place but later if he sees there is a need to improve further then he will do so. He says he has the heart for the Bicolanos not only because he is married to a Bicolana and frequently comes for a visit but because he had worked with many hard-working Bicolanos some of whom had been his mentor as he was rising from the rank and has also developed deep friendships with most of them. (Emily B. Bordado)
Dir. Bragas initiates DA “make over” and ensures 100% fund utilization (by: Emily B. Bordado)
In barely a year since he assumed as OIC- regional Executive Director, Engr. Abelardo R. Bragas has taken great efforts to give the DA Bicol regional office a “make over” - by way of repairing, renovating, rehabilitating and improving facilities and structures within the 70-hectare compound. “Government offices and structures should have a dignified and presentable appearance to make them more client- friendly,” says Dir. Bragas. They should also be safe and functional, he adds. Being an agricultural engineer Dir. Bragas makes sure that the structures within the DA compound are safe, sturdy, and functional.
Screen houses which were dilapidated were repaired and improved. But some of them which have been worn out and not in use were knocked down and the area was converted into an open parking space. The machinery shed adjacent to the engineering office which used to house the fishery research staff has been repaired and improved and will now be the office of the regulatory division which provides frontline services to clients. The Regional Agriculture Engineering Division office has likewise been repaired and expanded while repair and improvement of the building which houses the Sugar Regulatory Administration office is on going. The building which used to house the Pesticide Analytical Laboratory managed by the BPI but which has now been abandoned has also been rehabilitated and will soon be utilized as the office of the property and procurement section and store house for office equipment and supplies. Likewise, roofing has been constructed in between this building and the motorpool. The swampy area around it has already been filled up and the area connecting them has been concreted. The area has also been cleared of the unsightly pile of rusting and dilapidated vehicles which used to be dumped there. Construction of two units of palay sheds were also completed to ensure that palay stocks are protected from the elements. The warehouse for farm equipment have also been completed as well as the filling up of the areas around it. Repainting of various buildings that is, the administration building, the Regional Crop Protection Center, the Bicol Experiment Station have also been completed giving them a more dignified and presentable appearance. Repair of the various comforts rooms were also. undertaken.
The vacant spaces in the vast experimental stations will now be optimally utilized as he had instructed the program coordinators to develop their respective areas assigned to them. Aside from the building and structures within the DA regional office compound, Dir. Bragas also intends to rehabilitate and improve the structures and facilities of the DA in its satellite stations in the provinces. He says that DA outreach stations should serve as the showcase of latest and modern technologies and therefore the physical structures, facilities, crops and animals stocks should also be upgraded and of superior quality. But more than improving the physical structures of the DA, Director Bragas is also keen on improving the systems and procedures in the office to ensure efficiency and transparency. Policies and decisions affecting the operations of the office are discussed thoroughly among the senior officials, division/section chiefs, program coordinators and focal persons in consultation with the officers of the employees association. Management conferences would usually take more than 10 hours as issues and concerns are exhaustively deliberated until win-win solutions are agreed upon. Bragas also makes sure that all funds allocated to Bicol are fully utilized and none of them should be returned to the DA main office or the DBM. He reasons out that: ”it’s very difficult to request for funds, so whatever has been released for the region should be used and spent here so that it would contribute to the region’s economy and benefit the Bicolanos.”