DAGUPAN CITY, Dec. 19 (PIA) – It’s victory the second time around for a Pangasinan journalist hailed as one of the big winners in the 2014 Bright Leaf Journalism Awards held at the Sofitel Plaza in Manila recently.
Gabriel Cardinoza, Pangasinan-based reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer bagged two awards this year- the Tobacco Story of the Year and the Agriculture Story of the Year.
His feature story, “Pangasinan farmers pin hopes on tobacco” won the Tobacco Story of the Year which narrates the devotion and labor of the Pangasinan farmers put in each tobacco farming season to have a good harvest.
For decades, the farmers planted tobacco after every rice cropping season. Everytime they have to borrow money from tobacco traders, the latter demanded to be paid with tobacco at a price the traders dictated. But with the government’s recent pronouncement that tobacco farmers should directly benefit from excise tax collection from cigarette manufacturers, the farmers became hopeful.
Cardinoza also bagged the Best Agriculture News Story - National for his article, “Carabao vanishing in Pangasinan” also published in PDI. It tackled the dwindling population of the national animal as they are being butchered for meat. The provincial board passed an ordinance regulating the sale and slaughter of female carabaos while the Philippine Carabao Cnter distributed foreign-bred carabaos to cooperatives.
“I was just doing the usual routine of my job and one day we covered the news on the dwindling number of carabaos and the renewed hopes of the tobacco farmers. These stories inspired me to join the Bright Leaf again,“ Cardinoza told the Philippine Information Agency.
Cardinoza first won the Bright Leaf Award in 2012 for the Best Agriculture Feature Story with his article titled ‘Weather-proof Fish Cage seen as Savior of Aquaculture Industry.”
Other big winners in the award were Cherry Ann Lim and Liberty Pinili bagging the Agriculture Story of the Year for the story “Fish in Troubled Waters” published in Sun Star Cebu. Lim also bagged the Agriculture Story of the Year-Regional for the story on “Bug slay, nature’s way.”
Mauricio Victa brought home the award for Tobacco Photo of the year captioned “Leaves of Gold” published in the Business Mirror while Baguio Midland Courier lensman Harley F. Palangchao won this year’s Agriculture Photo of the Year award with “Frostlandia.”
All four major winners received a cash prize of P50,000 , an IPad mini and a trophy plus an Asian Cruise.
The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards was launched in 2007 by Philipp Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI). Its website said “Bright Leaf is the name given to Virginia Tobacco because it turns into a vivid yellow when it is cured with intense heat.”
The Bright Leaf Awards is committed to promoting and creating awareness on the most current agriculture issues and the best farming practices from environment care, safety, to crop sustainability. In so doing, the general public’s attention is focused on the plight of the agriculture sector as well as the opportunities available.
The agriculture sector comprises 30% of the country’s labor force.
The company’s external affairs director, Bayen Elero-Tinga, said this year the contest organizers obtained the most number of entries in its eight-year history after holding road shows in major agricultural regions nationwide.