11th Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture RFU 5

Dr. Elena B. de los Santos is the newly appointed Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture Bicol. Her appointment as fullfledged RED was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last September 28, 2016. A very simple and unassuming but well-organized and smart lady, Dr. de los Santos is very much qualified, and honed for the job having been with the department for the past 36 years. She finished her Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture major in Animal Husbandry at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture major in Animal Husbandry. She obtained a Master’s degree in Animal Science from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, and a doctor’s degree in Development Management from the Bicol University. Through diligence and dedication she rose from the ranks starting as Job Order Livestock Poultry Technologist then as Agriculture Food Technologist, Agriculture Development Specialist and Senior Agriculturist.

Her major supervisory break came when she was promoted as Agricultural Center Chief III where she was also designated as chief of the Research Division and Manager of the Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center for six years. Then she was appointed Chief Agriculturist, then Director III or Assistant Director for Field Operations and Extension a position she held for five years.

She is very hard working and adept at multi-tasking as evidenced in the various tasks and responsibilities she has handled and continues to handle. For the past 5 years she has been the Regional Focal Person/Coordinator of the Rice Program; Deputy Project Director and now Project Director of the World Bank funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP); regional focal person of then Bottom-Up-Budgeting (BUB) and assistant project director of another WB funded special project – the Bicol Agri-Water Project. As RTD for operations and Extension and regional focal person for rice program she supervised the implementation of DA’s key banner programs. These resulted to good performance of major agricultural commodities in the region such as rice, corn and other major agricultural commodities which maintained regional sufficiency level. Production growth of rice, cacao, mango, carabao, cattle, hog, and chicken were also sustained attributed to timely delivery of critical interventions and incorporation of disaster preparedness , quick response to calamities coupled with aggressive promotion of climate smart technologies and good practices and use of modern science based tools.

Together with her predecessor former regional executive director, Eng. Abelardo Bragas she transformed and upgraded the physical structures and infrastructure of the DA regional office and its provincial outreach stations and facilities. But more than transforming the physical structures and infrastructures of DA Bicol, Dr. de los Santos is also keen on transforming and improving the systems and operations of the DA. She wants to ensure that all transactions in the department are transparent and not marred with irregularity or corruption. Upon assumption she met with division/section chief and focal persons and laid down her policies and stand against any irregularity in program implementation. She also met with suppliers and contractors transacting business with the department and laid down her policies. She then reassigned people to where they would be more effective. She remains downto-earth, very accommodating and approachable and never fail to look back to her humble beginnings. But she is firm in upholding what she believes is right. (Emily B. Bordado)