Dr. Carlos C Abon, Jr.: Committed to the Advancement of Chinese Hybrids
Showing off two tillers on his hands, one Chinese hybrid and the other local hybrid rice variety, Dr. Carlos C. Abon, Jr: asks, “Which of these tillers do you think is heavier or has more number of grains?”
The members of the techno-demo team would look at each other then smile. It was a question that has been asked in all the demo sites and yet it was relevant and never failed to invite interaction among field day participants.
It is actually his signature prologue before he starts his lecture during field days and it was always successful in winning the attention of farmers. Everybody listens to him. His lecture on hybrid rice production is perhaps the most-awaited part of the program because of the credibility he has gained in his field of expertise. He talks with confidence and convincing prowess.
Living Up to A Challenge
When Philippine Sino-Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) was conceptualized, Dr. Abon was tapped to handle its hybrid rice program and was named Hybrid Rice Technology Division (HRTD) chief, “We (the HRT team) are not only concerned with the food of the few but of the whole country in general. Our research studies are geared toward developing technologies that will increase our rice production,” Dr. Abon said.
“Our team has the responsibility to alleviate the standard of living of our farmers by increasing their yield through hybrid rice. With the support of local scientists and the government,
this agenda is truly attainable. I believe we can do this,” he added.
All the members of the PhilSCAT family are very supportive of the mandate of the HRT group. With good coordination and partnership with other divisions and cooperating agencies, the HRT group has accomplished notable research results such as the four adaptable PhilSCAT bred lines using Philippine local rice genetic resources.
“HRT is the lifeblood of PhilSCAT. Bulk of the PhilSCAT program explores the technology on Chinese hybrid rice production,” he said.
As the project manager of the technology demonstration of Chinese Hybrid Rice Varieties (CHRVs) to 13 major rice-producing provinces in the country, Dr. Abon has been consistently travelling to coordinate with project
collaborators and partners on the protocol of CHRV production.
“I enjoy travelling and working in the field with rice industry stakeholders and farmers. I will not forget all the sorts of people whom I have met during those field visitations and sharing with them everything I know about hybrid rice is most fulfilling,” Dr. Abon shares.
FULFILMENTS IN LIFE
On top of everything that he has accomplished, he said that his true fulfilment is having two beautiful children, Rhys Carlo and Karryl Angelie, and being husband to Nueva Viscaya State University President Dr. Marilou GiloAbon.
Dr. Abon could be regarded as a person who has stood up to challenges before he ascended to a successful career that
he has now.
After graduating with a degree on Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), he started working as research assistant under then university president Dr. Filomena Campos. “I struggled in terms of getting a plantilla position in the university,” Dr. Abon recalled.
While he was aiming for a more stable position, opportunity came like it’s been earnestly called upon. He was then doing outside research through a collaborative project between CLSU and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) when he learned that the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was looking for a research fellow; he resigned from CLSU.
He worked for IRRI for just a year, graduated Master of Science in Crop Science in 1986, then applied and was accepted again to CLSU. This time, he was given the item Assistant Professor
and got his permanency in the same year under the term of Dr. Eliseo Ruiz as university president.
He got involved in different projects in the areas of rice production, on-farm trials for legumes, and hybrid rice seed production. He pioneered the latter project in CLSU where he met research scientists in hybrid rice and was invited in several fora and meetings.
With a doctorate in Crop Science major in Agronomy, he is also presently chief of the Crops and Cropping Systems Division of the CLSU Research Office and does consultancy work in a chemical company.
Dr. Abon continuously broadens his knowledge as a teacher since he gives lectures on the basics of field crop production and accepts speaking engagements as resource person and evaluator in several R & D fora.
AN UNDERSTANDING BOSS
Dr. Abon is a very understanding boss who is open to suggestions and allows his staff pursue higher education as long as they accomplish work assignments and present outputs. He even scouts scholarships for them and encourages them to apply.
“He is really a kind of boss who supports his staff. I was grateful that he allowed me to take my master’s degree. In return, I would make it a point that I do my job well and submit outputs on time,” says Maribel Mananguit, PhilSCAT analytical laboratory in-charge who is taking up Master in Soil Science at CLSU.
To science research specialist Trojane Velasquez, “Dr. Abon is a father figure. He supports us in pursuing our master’s degree, saying that it’s for our own good and that we will be more competitive in our respective fields.”
Dr. Abon’s generosity is much appreciated by the people he works with. They know just how much this kind boss exudes sincerity in everything he does and respects all sorts of people around him no matter what their status may be.