In memory of Dr. Ramon V. Valmayor: AANR Sector R&D Icon

Dr. Ramon V. Valmayor, considered as one of the most revered leaders of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) passed away on April 14, 2017 at the age of 85.

Iconized as RVV among his co-workers, Dr. Valmayor had set his flamboyant leadership in a milieu of excellence, more than two decades back. For many, RVV will always be remembered as a stalwart of public servanthood both in the academe and in the science and technology community. He will be remembered as a role model, a mentor, and a man who has dedicated his life in serving the people through his numerous legacies in research and development for the interest of the country’s agriculture, aquatic and natural resources (AANR) sector.

Dr. Valmayor was a member of the famed class of 1955 of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) College of Agriculture, which is recognized by many as the best class ever produced by the college. From this class, 37 members attained their Ph.D. from the United States and many of them retired as senior officials. Dr. Valmayor himself completed his MS at Cornell University as a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) scholar in 1958 and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida as a Rockefeller Foundation scholar in 1964.           

Dr. Valmayor’s illustrious career defines him as a man whose contributions have impacted much in the world of research and development. He first served as Associate Professor of Horticulture from 1970-73 and at the same time Chairman of the Department of Agronomy of the UPLB. After this, he served as Director General of the then Philippine Council for Agriculture Resources and Research (PCARR) from 1981-82 and then as Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) from 1982 to 1990. His work as a public servant was replete with fruitful accomplishments, anchored not only to dedication to duties and quest for excellence in the service, but also to the professional betterment of those whom he worked with in the sector. 

Dr. William D. Dar, former Executive Director of PCARRD, describes RVV as a man who has made great impact in the world of research and development, an administrator par excellence, and a man who has set the bar of leadership.  He recognizes him as the man behind the establishment of the R&D consortia system and the man who has sustained and strengthened the National Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Network (NARRDN).

Dr. Valmayor provided his co-workers, colleagues, and friends numerous opportunities for them to grow and improve. RVV was always there to help, advise, and support, according to Dr. Dar himself. He recalls how he was given a Ph.D. scholarship at UPLB through the recommendation of RVV when the latter was the chair of the Manpower Development Committee of the then PCARR.

Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero, former Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD), through his wife, also told his story on how RVV became instrumental in the advancement of his career after having been given a Ph.D. scholarship by PCARRD through RVV’s encouragement.

As a research and development manager, RVV epitomized tactfulness and the ability to draw help from other agencies in connection with the Council’s mandate of generating local and external funds for R&D.  Ms. Luz Firmalino, a PCAARRD retiree who served the Council for 34 years, narrated, when she heard him wittingly convinced Bill McClusky of USAID on the benefits of certain projects in the pipeline in terms of enhancing R&D facilities and capacitating the National Agriculture Resources Research and Development System’s (NARRDS) human resource with new learnings.

RVV displayed the same degree of tactfulness and convincing ability with regard to projects to be funded by the Council. 

“Implementing R&D programs was quite taxing. We had to sit with representatives of recipient institutions to convince them about what they really needed in their implementation. This was where RVV’s mettle for research and his tactfulness would usually come to play,” Luz recalled.           

Behind his amiable and compassionate disposition, RVV would exude candor whenever he wanted to exact discipline, vigilance, and upright disposition. 

“We never made the mistake of attending meetings unprepared. We never cited data/figures that we were not sure of. My God! He knew not only the figures but oftentimes the page of the Philippine Recommends where the figures were,” Luz recalled.                            

Luz also narrated how RVV would discipline reneging scholars to ensure that the government would not be disadvantaged after providing the necessary support.

“They were made to pay back even if they were in another country as he would see to it that their properties were subjected to liens if necessary,” Luz said.

RVV was also particular on punctuality. Luz remembered how he would sometimes stood near the clock at the lobby to see those who would come late. Though no words were said, his presence was enough for the late comers to shrink in shame. 

As part of RVV’s stern disposition when compelled, he would also call those who were caught loitering to his office. He was also vigilant about the use of lights and air conditioners as he would surely leave a note on the desk of the concerned staff as a means of correction.

Compassionate as he was, there was a time that RVV devoted his Christmas bonuses for raffles, but this practice ended up when he learned that those who won would only squander the money for drinking. Because of this, RVV instead set aside his bonuses for the scholarship of deserving children of PCAARRD employees.

RVV’s commitment and passion for agri-aqua R&D is best epitomized in a book he has written: “The making of the Philippine Agriculture and resources research system: a case for the developing world.” He has written three other books, thirty technical articles, and fifty-six semi-technical articles.    

Shortly after RVV’s retirement at PCARRD in 1990, he established the Philippine Agriculture and Resources Research Foundation, Inc. (PARRFI), a private, non-stock, non-profit, non-political, and non-sectarian corporation, which served as his final legacy as an R&D Icon for the AANR sector.