Think On These - The Winners Take It All
November 30, 2015

What do Cherry Ann T. Lim, the team of Karren Verona and Ruben Gonzaga, Mauricio Victa, and myself have one thing in common?

They have won the coveted journalism trophies during the 2015 Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards ceremony held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel last November 25.

Out of the 10 awardees last year, these four made it in this year’s list of winners.  Sun Star Cebu’s Lim was back again for her feature, “Beyond the fields.” Declared as the Agriculture Story of the Year, it shows how education, livelihood support and social protection for their families, provided under a non-government organization and local government partnership, can help remove children working in sugarcane farms in Cebu.

Last year, she won the same recognition for “Fish in troubled waters,” which she co-authored with Liberty Pinili.
Producer Montejo and television host Gonzaga were honored for the same category, Best Agriculture TV Program or Segment, for the ABS-CBN Davao’s “Cateel, Davao Oriental Episode.”

The Super Typhoon Pablo took away the town’s most important source of livelihood in 2012. Instead of being defeated, the people of Cateel there can rise again. “It is a story of recovery, hope and new life,” the citation said.
Baguio-based Victa (of Business Mirror) was given the most coveted prize which is not given annually.  He was awarded the Oriental Leaf trophy as a Hall of Fame awardee having won the award five times: three times as winner of Tobacco Photo of the Year (2011, 2012 and 2013), once as recipient of Agriculture Photo of the Year (2008), and once for Tobacco Story of the Year (2012).

This columnist also received his second trophy as Best Agriculture Feature Story Regional for his three-part series on ending hunger, which was serialized last December in EDGE Davao.

The citation reads: “This three-part series discusses the food shortage problems that the country faces in light of the growing population and the solutions that can be implemented.  To address the issues of soil erosion, The Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in Southern Mindanao has discovered Sloping Agricultural Land Technology. To answer the fish supply shortage, especially in the Davao Gulf, properly managed aquaculture.  And finally, it also shows how biotechnology can address climate change, pesticide use and malnutrition.  If used properly and responsibility, it may be the answer to the dwindling global food production.”

Last year, this columnist was cited as Best Agriculture Feature Story National.  The article, “The Prospects of Swine Raising in the Philippines,” was published in Marid Agribusiness magazine.

The other winner from Mindanao this year was Ronde Alicaya for his feature “Square Foot Urban Gardening: Saving Space, Saving Water, Saving Effort, Saving Earth.” Named Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment, it was aired in his “Straight to the Point” radio program of DXCC RMN in Cagayan de Oro City.

Most of this year’s winners were from Northern Luzon.  Winners of Best Agriculture Photo of the Year and Best Tobacco Photo of the Year were Manila Standard Today’s David Chan Leprozo andBaguio Chronicle’s Frank Cimatu, respectively.

Chosen Tobacco Story of the Year was “Potential of Tobacco Industry in Central Luzon.” It was written by Ian Ocampo Flora, a previous winner, and was published in Sun Star Pampanga. The article chronicles the historical beginnings of the cultivation of tobacco in Central Luzon and its eventual establishment as one of the vital industries that shaped the country and the region’s economy.

The other winners were Manila Bulletin’s Rizaldy Comanda, Best Agriculture News Story National for his article, “Kalinga Rice Farmers See Better Days with Hybrid Rice Variety”; Baguio Midland Courier’s Hanna Lacsamana, Best Agriculture News Story Regional for her article, “Baguio Encouraged to Look at Bamboo’s Several Potentials”; and Philippine Daily Inquirer‘s Anselmo Roque, Best Agriculture Feature Story National for his article, “Saving Rice Varieties: One grain at a time.”

All the four major winners (Best Agriculture Story of the Year, Best Agriculture Photo of the Year, Best Tobacco Story of the Year, and Best Tobacco Photo of the Year) were given a trophy, an iPad, and a cash prize of P50,000.
In the broadcast category, the winners were also given a trophy and a cash prize of P50,000. The four remaining awardees received a cash prize of P20,000 and a trophy.

But all winners are entitled for a foreign trip to an Asian destination which will happen in the second week of February next year.  Beijing, China was the last place visited; it may be Hanoi, Vietnam in 2016.

“Over 600 entries were received from all over the country, with key cities providing most of these entries, including Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Baguio, Manila, and Davao,” wrote Alfred A. Yuson, a member of the board of judges, in his Philippine Star column. “Agri writers and publications based in Ilocos, Pangasinan and Pampanga were also very competitive this year.”

The other judges for this year’s competition were Regina Abuyuan, Jose Enrique Soriano, Joel Pablo Salud, Isabelita Reyes, Francis Abraham, Ces Drilon, J. Albert Gamboa, Jay Directo, and Conrado Banal.  Niñez Cacho-Olivares served as chairperson.

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