The Department of Agriculture (DA) has issued an order that institutionalizes a career progression and specialization program for agricultural and biosystems engineers (ABEs) in DA and its attached agencies and corporations. This is part of the implementation of Section 24 of RA 10601 (AFMech Law) mandating the strengthening of ABE groups in DA.

 

Administrative Order (AO) 19 signed by former Agriculture Secretary William Dar on June 30, 2022 will strengthen the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Groups in DA and its attached agencies and corporations where ABEs play vital roles in the formulation, development, planning and implementation of the agri-fisheries mechanization, infrastructure, irrigation and other agri-fisheries engineering programs and projects as well as in food security programs.

 

The said AO states that the establishment of the ABEsโ€™ career progression and development of their specialization consistent with the policy framework of various laws (RA 10915, RA 10912, and RA 10968) will greatly help in the pursuit of DAโ€™s food security program. It will also strengthen the delivery of ABE services to farmers and fisher folk through the development of high-level competencies leading to staffโ€™s high morale and professionalism.

 

Guidelines on the institutionalization of the Career Progression and Specialization Program of ABEs of DA and its attached agencies and corporations are set forth in AO 19. The guidelines provide the coverage of career progression; scope of specializations which an ABE can pursue; competency standards of various levels of Engineering Positions; training and capacity development program; composition of the Technical Working Group (TWG); functions of the TWG; assistance to LGU ABE groups; coordination with other agencies and institutions; registry of ABEs; and funding among others.

 

According to AO 19, the TWG on ABE Career Progression and Specialization shall be composed of the Director of Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) as its chairperson; the Director of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) as its vice chairperson; and Director of Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Chief of DA Human Resource Management Office, head of the ABE group of DA bureaus, attached agencies, and corporations, representatives from RAEDs, CHED Technical Committee on ABE, and PRC Board of ABE as members. BAFE shall serve as the Secretariat of the TWG.

 

The functions of the TWG on ABE Career Progression and Specialization are to review the job description and competency standards of various levels of ABE Engineer positions; to identify other positions whose functions involved the practice of ABE for career progression and specialization; and to assist in the formulation of appropriate training and capacity development program for the ABEs.

 

In line with the implementation of the Mandanas Ruling and Joint DA-DBM-CSC-DA Memorandum Circular No. 2, series of 2020, the BAFE, ATI and RFO-Regional Agricultural Engineering Divisions (RAEDs) shall coordinate and assist local government units (LGUs) in implementing the ABE Career Progression and Specialization of the ABEs assigned under their respective jurisdictions. At the national level, the BAFE shall coordinate with DILG for the needed support and advocacy.

 

BAFE is also tasked to coordinate with the Civil Service Commission (for the review and updating of Qualification Standards of ABE positions); PRC, CHED and PQF National Steering Committee; DBM (for the review and updating of the duties and functions of ABE positions of DA, as well as creation of ABE plantilla positions; and farmers cooperatives/associations and other institutions employing ABEs.

 

A registry of ABEs of DA Regional Field Offices, bureaus, attached agencies and corporations and other DA implementing units shall be established and maintained by BAFE. As such, names and information of their ABEs (i.e.: position, job description, education, specialization, trainings attended and work experience) will be encoded to the ABEMIS. ###Marshall Louie Asis