Agriculture Sec. William D. Dar affirms Dr. Leocadio S. Sebastian, former executive director of Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), as new assistant secretary in an oath taking ceremony in Quezon City, Jan. 8.

Sebastian, who was PhilRice executive director from July 2000 until July 2008, was also designated as undersecretary and chief of staff of the agriculture department.

Leading PhilRice, Sebastian strengthened and mobilized the national rice R&D network, enabling the Philippines to increase rice productivity and sustain PhilRice’s stature as a premier knowledge generating institution in Southeast Asia.

During his stint as PhilRice highest official, he was conferred with prestigious awards including the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), Outstanding Young Scientist in Plant Breeding, Pantas (Sage) Award for Research Management, and JICA Presidential Award.

His leadership skill is complemented with expertise in agriculture, genetics, agricultural chemistry, and plant breeding.

Sebastian is recognized for his development of rice cultivars (Matatag lines 5-8) with resistance to rice tungro spherical virus, molecular mapping of the RSTV and its vector – the green leafhopper, and the development of marker-aided selection techniques for the transfer of the resistance genes to other elite rice cultivars.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute