Bicol bags highest number of Rice Achievers awardees
By Connie Destura LEGAZPI CITY -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office for Bicol had the highest number of awardees in the recent Rice Achievers Awards from three regions in South Luzon held in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, DA spokesperson Emily Bordado said. Bordado, in an interview Friday, said the annual Rice Achievers Awards started in 2011 and aims to recognize the significant contributions of the Local Government Units (LGUs), agricultural extension workers and other stakeholders in the rice industry in achieving food sufficiency in the country. Among the 61 outstanding Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) and 10 outstanding Local Farmer Technicians (LFTs), the Bicol region got the biggest number of awardees with 27 AEWs and 5 LFTs. Each awardee received P20,000 cash prize and plaque, Bordado said. The outstanding AEWs from Bicol from the province of Camarines Sur are: Tita Bendaña (Minalabac); Jocelyn Comprado (Pamplona); Nercy Alvaro (Libmanan); Allan Salvador (San Fernando); Anicia Mancita (Magarao); Julieta Deris (Nabua); Sylvia Oaferina (Buhi); Elsa Cabrera (Buhi); Janice Orciga (Iriga City); Celedonio Elevado Jr. (Nabua); Hector Llagas (Bato); Rowena Otamias (Sipocot); Gregorio Beldad (Ocampo); Jessie Bare (Ocampo); Dolores Bongalos (Pili); Raul Conmigo (Sagñay); Grace Santelices (San Jose); Marinette Briñas (Baao); Aline Bravo (Baao) and Rosa Belgica (Canaman). From Catanduanes: Eva Laurente (San Andres). From Albay: Prescilla Ferrer (Manito), Mat Peñafiel (Ligao City), and Meden Castor (Ligao City); Cheryll Rebeta, the Provincial Agriculturist of Albay; and Ligao City’s Dexter Mendoza, also awarded as Outstanding City Agriculturist. Ligao was adjudged as Outstanding City. From Masbate City: Ulysses Cabrera Jr. The five LFT awardees who all came from Camarines Sur are Genaro Tamon Jr. (Magarao); Erwin Barnuevo (Minalabac); Ramon Gaudiel (Pili); William Bisenio (Baao) and Chimmie Aguilar (Sipocot). In his speech, DA-Bicol OIC Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Rodel P. Tornilla quoted Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano as saying, “They (AEWs and LFTs) are the heroes of the DA. Without them, our projects will never be implemented with greatness.” Tornilla added that he wants to see new faces in the next Rice Achievers Awards as most of Bicol’s AEWs are already Hall of Famers or have been awardees for three consecutive years. Tornilla also attended the awarding ceremony of the ASEAN Outstanding Rice Farmer and Scientist in Manila recently.