05 June 1951. This is when it all started. With the people who have established and paved the way to what is now the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM), the agency that has been fully committed to its service to the nation in the field of soil and water resources for agriculture and has now celebrated its 73rd year. For this year’s founding anniversary, the BSWM declares its theme “Secure our Future Basic Essentials: Soil Health and Water Manage it Well.”

As the BSWM enters the 73rd year, it enjoined its partners and stakeholders to give due recognition for their significant contributions to the agency. On 05 June 2024, during its Culminating Program, the BSWM convened at the Lopez Convention Hall, along with the BSWM employees, the Representatives from the DA Regional Field Offices, Regional Soils Laboratories, State Universities and Colleges, Small Water Impounding Systems Associations, the Philippine Air Force, and the National Soil Health Program Awardees. The Activity was also graced with the presence of the Department of Agriculture Secretary Honorable Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr., along with the other DA Officials, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations represented by Ms. Ruth Honculada-Georget, OIC FAO PH Programme Unit. The Program was also graced with a video message from no less than the Chair of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, and the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Honorable Cynthia A. Villar. 

The Culminating Activity officially commenced with the Welcome Message of the BSWM Director Gina P. Nilo. In her Message, Director Nilo was filled with gratitude for all the BSWM partners and stakeholders. According to her, “We continue to provide excellent service as we face the challenges of this year to provide food and food systems that are climate-resilient.” After her Message, an audio visual material showing the BSWM’s accomplishments, present commitments and undertakings, as well as ways forward, was presented. 

This was then followed by the Message from Partner, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) Philippines, represented by Ms. Ruth Honculada-Georget – OIC FAO PH Programme Unit. ““As we look back at BSWM’s work, FAO reiterates its full support to the Philippine government’s efforts in soil and water management. Through our continued strong partnership, I firmly believe that we will find sustainable solutions to the present challenges facing our country’s resources for the benefit of future generations,” says Ms. Honculada-Georget. 

Moreover, Department of Agriculture Secretary Honorable Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. who joined the BSWM employees in celebrating its 73rd Founding year, delivered his Anniversary Message wherein he said that, “In your more than seven decades of service to the nation, you made a mark on the lives of farmers and fisherfolk. This was done through, among other programs, small-scale irrigation projects, adaptive balanced fertilization strategy under the National Soil Health Program, and establishment of a composting facility for biodegradable wastes.” He further commended and thanked the BSWM for its accomplishments and significant contributions in attaining the Department’s goals and objectives, putting emphasis on encouraging the BSWM to continue its excellent performance.

Even without her physical presence, no less than the Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, and the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Honorable Cynthia A. Villar delivered her Keynote Message. According to her, “Since your establishment 73 years ago, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management has been the sole national soil resource agency in the Philippines and has been delivering a wide range of services to our farmers.” 

These Messages show how the BSWM  has played a significant role in the field of soil and water for agriculture for 73 years. And the agency has since been indomitably rigorous in the pursuit of its mandate. As such, as part of the highlights of this year’s Culminating Program, the DA-BSWM launched three products and tools for the farmers, towards a climate-resilient agriculture – these are the Fertilizer Recommendation Application or the FertRight App, the Water Test Kit, and the Site-specific Cropping Pattern and Calendar Tool. All these tools were presented to Secretary Tiu Laurel during the launch. 

Indeed, the BSWM has been instrumental in providing assistance to our farmers and fishers, and will continue to be more instrumental as it fulfills its mandate Para sa Masaganang Bagong Pilipinas

This will not be possible without the BSWM employees who have been toiling to provide the best assistance to the stakeholders anchored with the agency’s core values of patriotism, integrity, excellence, and spirituality. Thus, the BSWM recognizes the efforts of its employees through the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE), which was also one of the highlights of the Founding Anniversary Culmination. This is an indication of how the BSWM Management gives due importance to the excellence and efforts of the human resources. 

In closing, BSWM Assistant Director delivered her Message by stating that “Gusto po naming ipahiwatig sa inyong lahat, na ang BSWM po, kami po ang nagpapasalamat sa inyo [partners and stakeholders], because all our efforts ay hindi namin kaya isakatuparan nang wala kayo. Para sa mga farmers po natin, para sa susunod na henerasyon, sama-sama po natin i-secure ang future. Basic Essentials Soil Health and Water, sama-sama, let us Manage it Well.”

(Ara Krizele L. Alcoriza, Information Unit)

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