AGRICULTURE Secretary William Dar has vowed to continue performing his duties, anchored on the principles of good governance, transparency, consultative engagement and with greater sense of urgency.
Dar made the commitment after receiving the 2020 “Lifetime Excellence Award” in recognition of his over four decades of dedicated servant leadership to attain food security, both in the Philippines and in other parts of the world.
The recognition was given during Friday’s Asia Leaders Awards 2020.
“Being a son of farmers in the North, I had never imagined holding a top position in government with the opportunity to serve our farmers and fishers and change their fate,” Dar said in his acceptance speech.
Dar claimed that he never imagined to be awarded with the said award but still thankful for recognizing efforts and collective achievements of the department.
“There is so much I intend to do for our agriculture sector. Servant-leadership is how I have led the past four decades, and how I will be leading the DA in the next two years as we continue lay a solid foundation for a productive, globally competitive and climate-resilient agriculture,” Dar said.
He added that even as the ongoing global pandemic makes their work at the DA doubly challenging, he will not rest until the victories he have attained in previous organizations he have led are reflected in the lives of the Filipino farmers and fishers.
“Guided by our ‘new thinking’ to modernize and industrialize the Philippine agri-fishery sector, we at the DA will continue to unlock the sector’s vast untapped potentials and gear it up as one of the country’s primary engines of economic growth. Agriculture will be an attractive sector as a source of income and a hotbed for honing technological sophistication,” he said.
A horticulturist by profession and the country’s 45th agriculture chief since June 23, 1898, Dar was appointed as the first director of the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research in 1987 by then Agriculture Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez. Thereafter, he headed the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), and acting DA secretary in 1998.
He went on to become the first Filipino to lead a global agricultural research center, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in India, serving an unprecedented three five-year terms as director general.
For his remarkable leadership at ICRISAT, the government of India conferred on him the MS Swaminathan Award, India’s version of the World Food Prize.
The Lifetime Excellence Award is the third citation Dar has received this year. Two others were the: “Lifetime Contributor Award” by the Asia CEO Awards; and “Presidential Award” by the University of the Philippines Los Baños Alumni Association.