New DA-BAR leadership focuses on Raising the BAR of Excellence

The DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research is now under the leadership of Joell H. Lales as OIC-director and Dr. Anthony B. Obligado as OIC-ssistant director, two officials who have been serving the bureau for almost two decades now. 

Newly-designated OIC-director Lales is a macromanager whose leadership style was molded by his 18 years of outstanding service to the bureau. 

He was awarded Outstanding BAR Employee four times under different categories since he joined the bureau in January of 2004 as Agriculturist II. He later assumed various designations such as senior executive assistant and planning officer, until he became chief agriculturist in 2011 and headed the Program Development Division of DA-BAR until 2020 when he was designated OIC-assistant director. March of this year, he was appointed full-pledged assistant director. 

Serving various designations further honed his managerial skills in leading people and managing the planning and project development operational cycle of the bureau. His knowledge and in-depth experience on organizational management and supervision made him effectively and efficiently perform his designated tasks as a macromanager. He believes in every employee's skills and talent and trusts them that they can do their jobs well. 

"I will give you the general directions but I will allow you to manage the details and execute things in your own style. This way, your creativity will come out. I believe that  everyone is a potential leader," OIC-director Lales said in one of his welcoming remarks. 

His expertise in the field, as a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture graduate from the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños, Master of Technology Management from UP Diliman and his years of service to the bureau enabled him to contribute valuable inputs in elevating the level of services of the bureau, and benefited our partners and stakeholders in the agriculture and fisheries sector. 

With him at the helm, he is set to implement a pro-farmer, pro-poor agenda such as industry and market driven technology innovations, scaling up of best-bet technology-based interventions and prioritizing the poorest provinces in the country. 

"DA-BAR’s role is to develop the capacities of smaller universities, those in areas which are sometimes neglected and maximize the collaborations among institutions," he said during a brief meeting with R4DE experts. 

He will also prioritize Institutional Capacity Building programs to level up the technical and managerial competencies of DA R4DE institutions through Degree Scholarship Program and Research Fellowship Program so it can serve the public better. 

Aside from further elevating the level of DA-BAR's performance, OIC Lales also encourages the employees to practice a grassrooted, farmer’s first style of planning to further understand what is needed in the grounds and make it complement with how DA-BAR formulate plans. 

Part of his agenda is expanding DA-BAR’s partnership not only in research but in marketing and operations as well, with regional field offices, state universities and colleges, local government units, farmer cooperative associations, and private groups. 

Working hand-in-hand with him in pursuing this agenda is newly designated OIC-assistant director Obligado. 

Sir Tony, as most of his colleagues would call him, is another outstanding performer holding a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Research in Environmental Science from UP Los Baños. He finished his Masters in Environment and Natural Resources Management in the same school. 

Having worked in private firms before joining the government service as university research associate of UP Los Baños in 1997, Dr. Obligado acquired a blended style of leadership, making fast pacing decisions demanded by working in a growing private company combined with the strictness of following government rules and regulations to a tee. 

He joined DA-BAR in May 1998 as program development staff, shortly though, as two months after, he transferred to the DA Office of the Secretary as technical specialist, then joined the Livestock Development Council, DA-Bureau of Animal Industry until he came back to DA-BAR as technology specialist and coordinator in 2005. He was designated assistant director for Research Support Services in May of this year after serving as head of the Research Coordination Division for more than a year. 

His various designations and positions, in several public and private organizations honed his blended style of leadership, applying rules where it should really fit and how. 

As the head of Administration and Finance, Dr. Obligado strictly implements rules and regulations and applies it to all fairly, but able to maintain a harmonious relationship among his co-employees. He always acknowledges and appreciates their contributions to the accomplishments of the Bureau. 

"Let me acknowledge everyone for your active participation in all DA-BAR activities. Your sincere and dedicated support to the bureau’s mandate in cascading our services for research for development is commendable," assistant director Obligado said in one of his welcoming messages. 

The two key officials of DA-BAR are one in pursuing a higher level of excellence in the services of its employees and the bureau in general, which they will achieve by working together with the bureau's best asset—its people. 

In his latest message, director Lales said, "Let us together build the agenda of BAR— we need everyone’s contribution in raising the BAR of excellence" (### Maria Ruby G. Lumongsod)