COTABATO CITY (PNA) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) named a Maguindanao rice breeder as Outstanding Rice Scientist of the Philippines, Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Pinol on Wednesday said.
Pinol said Dr. Sailila Estilong Abdula, acting executive director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhiRice) has developed rice varieties resistant to “tungro,” a pest that destroys rice stalks and common in the Philippines.
He said Abdula, 44, was chosen from among a long list of rice scientists in the Philippines who have contributed to the development of the rice industry.
Abdula, a resident of Matalam, North Cotabato, is holder of Doctarate degree Agriculture, major in plant genetics, from Chungbuk National University in Korea in 2012.
A farmer by heart and rice breeder, Abdula helped developed RC120 and RC 226 to address the “Tungro” rice disease in southern Mindanao.
Rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV) is a plant pararetrovirus of the family Caulimoviridae. Tungro means ‘degenerated growth’ and was first observed in Philippines.
After finishing as cum laude his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato, Abdula started working as junior researcher at PhilRice in September 1996.
He earned his master’s degree in plant breeding from UP Los Banos. He also finished Master in Development Management in the Development Academy of the Philippines.
Piñol said Dr. Abdula was chief science research specialist and designated acting director of the PhilRice Midsayap branch station in North Cotabato, when he handpicked him to be the Acting Executive Director of PhilRice effective August 2016.
Piñol also said the search for the outstanding rice scientists in each of the member countries of the (ASEAN) is being conducted by a committee composed of International Rice Research Institute (Irri) and Asean officials. EOF/PNA