PASAY CITY - The Department of Agriculture honored twenty two (22) outstanding individual farmers and organizations during the awarding ceremony of the agency’s most prestigious search - the 46th Gawad Saka – held on December 12, 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) here.
The Gawad Saka is an annual search which started in 1970 to recognize the Filipino farmers and fisherfolks’ remarkable accomplishments and innovations which boosted productivity and economic growth of the agriculture sector.
For this year the Bicol region bagged three national awards. Jose E. Amador, 74 year old farmer of Guinlajon in Sorsogon City is outstanding High Value Crops Farmer. He is a pioneer in pili production in Sorsogon. His three decades orchard contains 500 organically grown pili trees and is a good source of scion and grafted planting materials. As Magsasaka Siyentista of PCARRD he is often sought as resource speaker on pili grafting. His farm has been a techno-demo site for DA, on-the –job trainings and experiment on pili and by-products by SUCs. Mr. Amador received a presidential citation, trophy and P200,000 cash award. He was accompanied by his wife Jojie and Sorsogon Provincial Agriculturist Ma Teresa Destura.
Meanwhile the Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Masbate is outstanding PAFC. Masbate PAFC Chair, 88-year old Nora Aribon received the presidential citation, trophy, project grant of P300,000 and P50,000 cash award. She was accompanied by Congresswoman Elisa Olga T. Kho of 2nd district of Masbate, and Mayor Ian Sepulveda of Esperanza. The PAFC was instrumental in reducing the poverty incidence of the province from 14th poorest province in the country in 2012 to rank 34th in 2015 thereby removing Masbate in famous club 20 list of poorest provinces which had been occupied by Masbate for almost 20 years. In the Bicol region, Masbate now ranks as 3rd, surpassing the provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Norte.
The Municipal Agricultural and Fishery Council (MAFC) of Ocampo in Camarines Sur is outstanding MAFC. Ocampo MAFC chair Carlito Aquino received the presidential citation, trophy, project grant of P300,000 and P50,000 cash award. With him were mayor Corazon Olos, SB members and MAFC officers. The MAFC was cited because of its strong partnership with the LGU of Ocampo which paved the way for the implementation of the P2.5 million Municipal Agriculture an Fishery Development Plan 2015 which prioritized the construction and rehabilitation of existing irrigation facilities, thereby increasing rice productivity and income in Ocampo.
DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. delos Santos and Gawad Saka regional focal person Aloha Gigi I. Banaria also accompanied the awardees at the stage.
President Rodrigo Duterte was represented by Atty. Adelino Baguio Sitoy of the Presidential Liason and Logistics Office. While Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol who was not able to come because of an equally important occasion was represented by Atty. Benjamin Tabios, Jr. Vice Chair of National Gawad Saka Executive Committee. Also present was ATI OIC Director Luz A. Taposok.
Outstanding Young Farmer awardee Denmark Centeno of Region 2 shared his painful experience when he was forced to quit school due to financial problem. “Noong una inalipusta ako ng mga tao ng magsimula akong magsaka at huminto sa pag-aaral. Ngayong umasenso na ang aking bukirin, nakita nila na may pera sa pagsasaka, kailangan lang magtyaga sa pagbubungkal ng lupa.” Now he is enrolled in agricultural technology course to broaden his knowledge in farming. (Lovella P. Guarin)