THE NATIONAL NARRATIVE
Eleven days after the proclamation of the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, President Emilio Aguinaldo formed his government with the Department of Agriculture and Manufacturing as one of the first agencies. The Department was headed by three directors, Jose Alejandrino (1898-1899), Graciano Gonzaga and Leon Ma. Guerero, both during the latter part of 1899.
In 1901 during the American regime, the Department was renamed Insular Bureau of Agriculture under the Department of Interior and was headed by Americans, Frank Lamson-Scribber (1902), WC Welborn (1904), and Dr. George Nesom (1907).
In 1910, the Bureau, under the supervision of the Department of Public Instruction, was headed by Frederick Taylor (1911-1914) and Harry Edwards (1914-1916). After Edwards, the helm of the Bureau was again given to a Filipino, Adriano Hernandez, a practicing farmer.
In 1917, the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) took over the functions of the bureau and was led by Secretaries Galicano Apacible (1917), Rafael Corpuz (1921-1923), and Silvestre Apostol (1923-1928)
During the administration of Secretary Rafael Alunan, Sr. (1928-1932), the DANR became the Department of Agriculture and Commerce. The Bureau of Agriculture was split into two bureaus, the Plant Industry and the Animal Industry. The following year, the Fish and Game Administration and the Fiber Inspection Service were established under the leadership of Secretary Vicente Singson Encarnacion (1933-1934).
From 1934-1938, Eulogio Rodriguez, Sr. was appointed Secretary and was replaced by Secretary Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. until 1941. During Aquino’s term, the Fish and Game Administration was restructured and the Division of Soil Survey was created. Upon the outbreak of the Pacific War, Pres. Quezon re-appointed Secretary Rafael Alunan, Sr. (1941-1942) as Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce.
THE REGIONAL CHRONICLE
The Department of Agriculture Western Visayas (DA-WV) history can be tracked down when former President Ferdinand E. Marcos divided the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) into two agencies, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 1974.
Years after the Department of Agriculture (DA) was called the Ministry of Agriculture (MA) when the present regime transformed all government departments into ministries. Following that decree, the Ministry of Agriculture established 12 regional offices nationwide in June 1978 under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Arturo R. Tanco, Jr.
The Ministry of Agriculture Region 6 then was composed of different bureaus, namely: the Bureau of Agricultural Extension (BAEX), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Soils, Bureau of Cooperative, and the Bureau of Fisheries.
These bureaus were individually led by a regional and assistant Directors directing the department. When the integration of these departments was enforced, BAEX Director Romeo V. Aquino was established as the Regional Director to operate the agriculture department in the region. Other bureau chiefs performed as the Assistant Directors of the present system.
The Regional Integrated DA subsequently named the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, was created in the same year. It constitutes the BAEX, BAI, and BPI, including the Soils, Cooperative, and Fisheries departments. Over the years after the integration, the Fisheries and Cooperative bureaus branch off into separate organizations.
Throughout the active MAF operational period, the department was directed by RD Aquino, who had served the department for quite some time. After RD Aquino retired from service, RD Romeo T. Lim succeeded him, followed by RD Egmedio Fabella.