Bato-born DA exec elected chairperson of Asia Pacific women engineers network

BATO-BORN ENGR. JUANA TAPEL (3rd from left) beams as she is elected chairperson of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists – Asia Pacific Nation Network (INWES-APNN) in Malaysia last Oct. 14, 2022

The Philippines received another unprecedented recognition in the international arena with the election of a Filipina engineer, a native of Bato town, in one of the respected global organization of women engineers and scientists.

Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural & Fisheries Engineering (DA-BAFE) Assistant Director Engr. Juana Torrano-Tapel, PhD, was declared the newly elected chairperson of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists – Asia Pacific Nation Network (INWES-APNN) during the INWES-APNN Annual General Assembly held at the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) in WISMA, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia on October 14, 2022.

Receiving the highest number of votes in an online voting participated by Asia Pacific nations representatives, she is the first ever Filipina to hold the said position.

As the chair of PTC WEN (Philippine Technological Council – Women Engineers Network) for seven (7) years, Dr. Tapel is the Philippines’ official representative to INWES-APNN, a platform for Asian women scientists and engineers to exchange information such as Asian women scientists’ organizations and policies and the current technology situation in every member country.

As the fifth chairperson of INWES-APNN, Dr. Tapel will succeed Dr. Ariunbolor Purvee of Mongolia when she starts her three-year term of office next year.

Previous chairpersons of the organization were Dr. Hyang Sook Yoo of Korea, Mrs. Kayoko Sugahara of Japan, and Dr. Chia-li Wu of Taiwan.

Dr. Tapel’s election is expected to boost the Philippines’ bid to host the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES) in 2026.

Established in 1964, ICWES is an international conference for engineers and scientists that takes place every three years in different countries around the world.

Aside from the APNN, INWES also has three other regional networks – the INWES – ARN (Africa Regional Network), INWES – Europe, and INWES-MENA (Middle East and North Africa).

It may be recalled that last July 29, 2022 at the Manila Hotal, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Engr. Torrano-Tapel the award as Outstanding Agricultural and Biosystem Engineer for 2022.

“Her distinguished contributions in the field of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), her exemplar service as Director III of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering and Member of Professional Regulation Commission – Professional Regulatory Board of ABE for almost twelve (12) years show her commitment and professionalism in her field,” the award stated.

A daughter of Ceferino Torrano and Angela Pereyra Tañalas, she studied at Batalay Elementary School and Bato Rural Development High School before finishing her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering at the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation in 1985 and her Bachelor of Science in Education at the Central Lyceum of Catanduanes in 1988.

Four years later, she earned her Master in Management at GAUF, where she would receive her Doctor of Philosophy in 2014.

She passed her Career Service Professional exam and Agricultural Engineering licensure exam in 1985 and her Professional Board Examination for Teachers in 1989.

In 2005, she went to work with the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) in 2005, where she stayed until 2018.

In December 2019, she was appointed as Director III of DA-BAFE where she undertook big-ticket engineering projects such as the implementation of the National Abattoir Development Program and the Meat Establishment Improvement Program.

Dr. Tapel was instrumental in the passing of Republic Act 8559 (the Philippine Agricultural Engineering Act of 1998), RA 10915 (Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act of 2016), and RA 10601 (The Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Law) including the promulgation of its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

She likewise participated in various capacities in national and international researches and publications, including the development of guidelines and technical standards for agricultural buildings, slaughterhouse equipment for cattle and hogs.

The 59-year-old career woman is married to Isidro T. Tapel Jr., with whom she has three children – John Isidro III, Jaymel and Janedelia. (With a report from DA-BAFE/Marshall Louie Asis)

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