SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR– The Department of Agriculture in Bicol has a new full- fledged Regional Executive Director in the person of Rodel P. Tornilla. He recently took his oath of office before Agriculture Secretary William Dar on December 20, 2019 . His appointment as Director IV was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Dec. 3, 2019.

      An economist and a certified Bicolano, Tornilla is the 15th  Regional Executive Director (RED) of the Department of Agriculture RFO 5. 

At 45 years old, RED Rodel is the youngest director to be entrusted with the highest post at the DA regional field office in Bicol. He 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,  Tornilla 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. (Lovella P. Guarin)