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Increased tie-ups with international firms are expected with the conferment of two engineers from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) as new members of the ASEAN Engineering Register (AER).

Established in 2001, AER is a trade register that provides complete database of practicing engineers within the ASEAN member-countries.

Dr. Caesar Joventino M. Tado, PhilRice director for administration and one of the new members, said inclusion in the ASEAN engineers’ registry will expand networks that would provide the rice research and development sector with updated information and research collaborations.

Tado and Engr. Alexis T. Belonio, PhilRice consultant, were granted membership owing to their contributions in the improvement of people`s quality of life.

The current president of the Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers, Tado is an outstanding agricultural engineer in farm power and machinery recognized by the Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers.

He led a team that improved and tested the PhilRice-BS rice mini combine harvester, a machine that simultaneously reaps, gathers, threshes, cleans, and bags rice in a single operation. The machine helps farmers save around P3,000 a hectare in labor cost and reduces post-harvest grain losses from 1 to 3 percent.

He also patented a seed cleaner model and pioneered the creation of PhilRice’s Rice Engineering and Mechanization Center in 2009.

Meanwhile, Belonio, the first Filipino to receive the Rolex Award for enterprise in 2008, is known for his creation of a low-cost and environment friendly rice husk stove. The stove gave huge savings for households not only in the Philippines but also in Indonesia as a ton of rice husk can replace 2,311-kilogram tanks of LPG.

“Before, a Filipino engineer working abroad could only be a technician. This is the highest designation we could get even if we are doing real engineering work. It`s difficult for us to get the same recognition abroad as standards vary. But with an AER membership, Filipino engineers could get more projects, more leadership posts in collaborative undertakings, and receive higher acceptance and credibility in the international community,” Tado said.

Aspiring AER applicants must have, among others, full-time membership to an engineering or technological organization in the home country and at least seven years of professional experience with two years as lead in a significant work.

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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