HIGH-LEVEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Deputy Director General – Research Delivery and Innovations
International Rice Research Institute
Dr. Kohli is the IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Delivery and Innovations, a position that involves overseeing the different research Departments and managing the quality and delivery of research activities at the institute. Dr. Kohli has over 32 years of experience and expertise in bridging upstream research to applied sciences, with a focus on developing technologies and innovations for agricultural impact, particularly in rice-based food systems. As Chair of the IRC Program Committee, Dr. Kohli leads the planning and development of the various events, programs, and activities across the 4-day conference. Much like his role at IRRI, he will also oversee the quality of the scientific content and presentations, ensuring that they align with the themes and objectives set by the congress.
Department of Agriculture
Currently the Senior Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Domingo F. Panganiban has been a Filipino public servant for over 35 years. He is a story of hard work, persistence, and dedication to be in the service of the Filipino people. Panganiban began his career in public service and worked his way through the ranks. In 1961, he started as a Plant Pest Control Worker of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Zamboanga City until he was appointed as BPI Regional Director for Central Luzon under the administration of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr. in 1969. He became the Philippine Ministry of Agriculture Deputy Executive Director for the National Food and Agriculture Council in 1973 and spearheaded the successful implementation of Masagana 99 that boosted rice production to record-high levels. In 1984, he was appointed Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. By 1986, Panganiban left the public service for the private sector as a consultant for Agriventures, Inc., Development Specialists, Inc., and Purefoods, Inc. He also joined the Food and Agriculture Organization as Policy Specialist in Rice Production Technology for Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. He returned to government service in 1996, when President Fidel V. Ramos appointed him Presidential Assistant for Agriculture. He became Agriculture Secretary in 2001 and in 2005. In October 2006, Panganiban was chosen as the Lead Convenor of the Philippine National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). On August 12, 2022, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. appointed Panganiban as the DA Senior Undersecretary and cited his expertise in the agriculture sector. Having served under five Philippine Presidents and being a strong advocate for the development of small farmers and fisherfolk, Panganiban’s hard work, productivity, and passion for public service earned him respect and countless recognitions over the years.
Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and Regulations
Department of Agriculture
Undersecretary Sombilla began serving as the Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, Research, and Regulations at the Department of Agriculture in July 2022. Before joining the Department, she served as the Undersecretary for the Regional Development Group at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which is the primary socioeconomic planning agency of the country. In 2012, she returned to government service after working as a dedicated researcher for several years. During her time as a researcher, she collaborated with esteemed international organizations including the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) located in the United States, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) located in the Philippines, and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), also located in the Philippines. She has dedicated her focus to policy studies concerning the development of the agriculture sector, with a particular emphasis on the rice sub-sector. Her ultimate goal is to enhance the well-being of rural households. She worked as a full-time researcher while also providing consultation services to different development partners such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and various governments including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Undersecretary Sombilla is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Master's degree in Economics. She is a holder of a Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota, USA.
Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development of the Department of Agriculture
Dr. Sebastian currently serves as the Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development of the Department of Agriculture(DA), Republic of the Philippines, with a wealth of experience from his time as DA’s Undersecretary for Research Innovation, Training, and Extension Service (RITES) and Chief of Staff; Regional Program Leader for CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Southeast Asia; IRRI Representative in Vietnam; Regional Director, Bioversity International; and Executive Director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). His impressive accolades, including prestigious awards from the Philippines and abroad, speak to his expertise in the field. In his role on the IRC, Dr. Sebastian provides high-level strategic recommendations, endorsement, and promotion of the Congress’ activities.
JOSE CAMACHO, JR.
University of the Philippines, Los Baños
Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr. is the 10th chancellor of UPLB. He was the dean of the Graduate School (GS) from February 2012 to October 31 2020, and a professor of economics at the College of Economics and Management (CEM). He has expertise in Economics of Education, Labor, and Human Resource Economics As an ambassador of the IRC 2023 Advisory Committee, Dr. Camacho will endorse and promote the event within the University of the Philippines and institutional linkages. He will also contribute by providing inputs in the strategic direction of the event. Dr. Camacho specified the need to future-proof UPLB’s human resources, lifelong learning and instruction system, research and innovation system, commitment to public good and social welfare, and global engagement.
JOHN DE LEON
Philippine Rice Research Institute
Dr. John C. de Leon is the Executive Director of PhilRice. He has more than 30 years of experience in plant breeding and commercial seed product development, in managing public and private sector R&D, as well as in working with cross functional talents in national, international, and multinational programs or organizations. As a member of the IRC2023 Advisory Committee, Dr. de Leon provides high-level promotional support and organizational management including addressing local concerns.
ARNEL DE MESA
Assistant Secretary for Operations
Philippine Department of Agriculture
CAO ĐỨC PHÁT
Chair, Board of Trustees
International Rice Research Institute
Dr. Cao Duc Phat, a member of the Board Of Trustees of IRRI. He has four decades of experience developing policies and managing agriculture, food, and rural development. He became a member of the Board of Trustee of IRRI since 2019, Vice Chair in 2021, Chair since May 2022. As a memberr of the IRC2023 Organizing Committee, Dr. Phat helps ensure the success of the congress by giving high-level recommendations, endorsement, and promotion of the activities that will be executed under the four-day event.
Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
Professor at the Institute of Crop Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and currently the Center Director of Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA). His career was developed at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) as Geneticist and Senior Plant Breeder for 29 years. He had a 3-year stint as crop breeding manager in a private Seed Company. He is a co-Founder of Binhi Inc, an agri-research start-up company on micropropagation and seed business. To date, he has published more than 120 publications. Conferred Academician by the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines. He is the Chair of the Technical Panel for Agriculture of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education. In 2021, he was declared as United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) Champion, and Filipino Faces of Biotechnology. And recently awarded as 2022 University of the Philippines Most Distinguished Alunmus.
OIC Director, Field Operations Service
Philippine Department of Agriculture
Consortium of International Agricultural Research Center System Board
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is an animal scientist and a practicing farmer, serving as a policy advisor to numerous African governments and global institutions. She serves on the Nestlé Board and as Chair of the Council at the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe and as Extra Ordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, and member of Champions 12.3, accelerating progress on UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, halving global per capita food waste. She was appointed to the CGIAR System Board in April 2021.
Managing Director and Dean
Nanyang Technology University Singapores
Professor Paul Teng is Managing Director and Dean, NIE International, and concurrently Adjunct Senior Fellow (Food Security), Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies/RSIS, Nanyang Technological University Singapore. He has held leadership positions at agricultural research organizations, universities, non-profits and the private sector and worked in over forty countries on food security and sustainable development issues. He brings to IRC2023 his current experiences in agtech, biotech and fintech to solve rice farming and decarbonization problems, and will ensure IRC2023 has a strong multi-stakeholder orientation.