Rodel P. Tornilla, 15th OIC Regional Executive Director of DA RFO 5

 Rodel P. Tornilla is the 15th OIC Regional Executive Director (RED) of the Department of Agriculture RFO 5. His appointment (S.O 411) was signed by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol last May 2, 2019 but he assumed the position on July 1, 2019 after the optional retirement of former RED Elena B. delos Santos on June 30, 2019.

At 45 years old, OIC RED Rodel is the youngest director to be entrusted with the highest post at the DA regional field office in Bicol. As a xennial, he can relate with both the millennials and the senior staff. On his first week as OIC RED, he immediately conferred with the different divisions and operating units of the DA regional office to lay out his plans and know their predicaments.  He also conferred with NFA and PCA officials and Local Chief Executives  on the on-going and proposed projects in their respective provinces.

An economist, OIC RED Rodel graduated Cum Laude with the degree of BS in Agriculture major in Agricultural Economics at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture. He also tucked a Master’s degree in Applied Business Economics major in Food Systems Management from the University of Asia and the Pacific in Pasig City in 2008. He has achieved his impressive academic credentials through various scholarship grants from the PCARRD in Los Baños, Laguna and Agricultural Training Institute in Quezon City

            His first job was in the government sector as Coconut Development Officer at the Philippine Coconut Authority –Region V from 1996 to 2000. In 2002 his stint at the Department of Agriculture Regional Office V began when he was hired as Science Research Assistant at the Crop Improvement Unit of the Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center (BIARC) of the Research Division.  The following year, he was promoted as Agriculturist I or Researcher at the same division where he authored and co-authored 16 research papers some of which garnered Best Paper Awards. In 2010, he was appointed as Technical Assistant of the then Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension  Dr. Elena B. delos Santos and was also appointed Regional Rice Program Report Officer, a post which he held until 2016. In 2012, he was tasked as Co-Project Investigator/Extension Specialist of the Bicol Agri-Water Project, a five-year USAID funded project that aimed to introduce innovative rice farming practices to farmers in Bicol to mitigate the impact of climate change. In 2013, he was designated as Economist of the Phil. Rural Development Project regional project coordination office, a position he held until 2018 when he was designated as PRDP I-Support Component Head.

In 2016, he was promoted as Agricultural Center Chief II/Regional Rice Program Focal Person and OIC Chief of the Field Operations Division. He became the focal person of the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) in Bicol, DA’s armor for poverty reduction. He was catapulted to the post of OIC Regional Technical Director for Operations on March 2017 and has held said position before he was appointed as OIC RED effective July 1, 2019.

Having been mentored by his predecessor, Dr. Elena B. delos Santos, who is a very hard working and an organized manager, OIC RED Rodel is also expertly steering DA Bicol to perform at its best, both in financial disbursements and in achieving the physical targets of the agency without prejudice to the welfare of the farmers. As he had been closely involved with the Rice Program for the most part of his 23 years in the government, the rice farmers are closest to his heart and he has been aggressively taking steps to help them become globally competitive. Among these steps were provision of agri-machineries, seeds  and farm inputs to qualified farmers. He has also detailed a number of six-wheeler trucks to the NFA provincial offices of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon during the peak of palay harvest season this year (2019) to encourage farmers to sell their palay to NFA at high price. The farmers’ organizations that sell their palay to NFA also received incentives in the form of farm equipment and machineries based on accumulated points or number of bags sold to NFA.

He is also keen in providing the needs and developing the skills and talents of the DA human resource as he urged them to seize every opportunity to improve their skills. He has also reorganized the DA acoustic band and encouraged the creation of a pool of talents and artists. Earlier this year, he has  organized the DA basketball team which has been competing in local tournaments with other agencies and municipalities.  (Lovella P. Guarin)