MB Scribe's Rice Story Wins 'Bright Leaf' Journalism Tilt
December 4, 2015

BEST AGRICULTURE NEWS STORY – Manila Bulletin Correspondent Rizaldy Comanda (middle) receives from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro Mayor Romulo Festin the trophy after his story, ‘Kalinga Rice Farmers See Better Days,’ was adjudged Best Agricultural News Story at the Ninth Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards at the Sofitel Manila Thursday night. On hand to witness the awarding rites were (from left) Illicit Trade Strategy and Prevention In-Market Investigation Supervisor Atty. Joseph Fabul, Manila Bulletin Provincial Editor Nate C. Barretto and Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Company Corporate Affairs Director Richard James. (Kevin de la Cruz)

A Manila Bulletin (MB) correspondent received the award for best news story of the year at the 9th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards Night at the Sofitel Manila in Pasay City, the other night.

Rizaldy Comanda won the “Best Agriculture News Story (National category)” for his story titled, “Kalinga Rice Farmers See Better Days with Hybrid Rice Variety,” published on the Manila Bulletin’s Luzon News page on July 29, 2015.

The story tackles the various hybrid rice researches and developments initiated by the City Agriculture Office of Tabuk City in Kalinga to improve the rice production of the city’s farmers.

Comanda received a trophy, P20,000, and an Asian trip package. The trophy’s design is based on top-quality, flue-cured Virginia tobacco (or the “Bright Leaf” tobacco), which is planted and harvested in the Philippines.

“First of all, I dedicate this award to our management at MB, as they gave me the chance to be part of MB, and to our editors who trusted in my abilities as a correspondent,” Comanda said.

Recognizing other finalists in the various categories in this year’s Bright Leaf awards, which received around 600 entries, Comanda said: “We must not lose hope, and continue our work.”

MB photo-correspondent in Pangasinan, Jojo Riñoza, also had three photo entries selected as among the finalists for this year’s Agriculture Photo of the Year award.

The photographs titled “Cooked Salt,” “Saltlands,” and “Asin,” which were published in the Manila Bulletin and Balita newspapers, were exhibited at the awards night. Cooked Salt made it to the Bright Leaf calendar for 2016.

“With the Bright Leaf Awards, we share this passion and commitment to the people who have shaped the discourse and brought into light critical agriculture issues through their published and broadcasted stories and captured images – stories and narratives that help transform the industry to create positive impact to the country,” PMFTC, Inc. President Roman Militsyn said in his speech.

Other winners were “Beyond the Fields” by Cherry Ann T. Lim of Sun Star Cebu for Agriculture Story of the Year; “Potential of Tobacco Industry In Central Luzon” by Ian Ocampo Flora of Sun Star Pampanga for Tobacco Story of the Year; “Bumper Crop” by David Chan Leprozo of Manila Standard Today for Agriculture Photo of the Year; “In a Field of Green” by Frank Cimatu for Tobacco Photo of the Year; “Square Foot Urban Gardening: Saving Space, Saving Water, Saving Effort, Saving Earth” by Ronde Alicaya of DXCC RMN – Cagayan de Oro’s show “Straight to the Point” for Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment; “Cateel, Davao Oriental Episode” by producer Karren Verona of ABS-CBN Davao’s show “Agri Tayo Dito” for Best Agriculture TV Program or Segment; “Baguio Encouraged to Look at Bamboo’s Several Potentials” by Hanna Lacsamana of Baguio Midland Courier for Best Agriculture News Story (Regional); “Saving Rice Varieties: One grain at a time” by Anselmo Roque of Philippine Daily Inquirer for Best Agriculture Feature Story (National); and “Ending Hunger” by Henrylito Tacio of Edge Davao for Best Agriculture Feature Story (Regional).

For this year, Mauricio Victa of Business Mirror received the Oriental Leaf Award, for winning five Bright Leaf awards: Agriculture Photo of the Year (2008) for “Soup in Salad”; Tobacco Story of the Year (2012) for “Tobacco Industry Under Siege”; and Tobacco Photo of the Year (2011, 2013, and 2014) for “My Life My Leaf,” “Sun Life Farm,” and “Leaves of Gold,” respectively.

For news and feature categories, the criteria for judging were relevance (25 percent); impact (25 percent); objectivity (25 percent); research (15 percent); and style (10 percent).

For photo categories, the criteria for judging were composition and relevance (40 percent); creativity (30 percent); and impact (30 percent).

For television and radio categories, the criteria for judging were relevance (30 percent); impact (30 percent); research (20 percent); and objectivity (20 percent).

Headed by veteran journalist Ninez Cacho-Olivares, this year’s Board of Judges was composed also of Regina Abuyuan, Jose Enrique Soriano, Francis Abraham, Joel Pablo Salud, Isabelita Reyes, J. Albert Gamboa, Conrado Banal, Jay Directo, Ces Drilon, and Alfred Yuson.

Launched in 2007 by the Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc. (PMPMI), the annual Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards is continued by PMFTC, Inc., a business combination between PMPMI and Fortune Tobacco Corporation.

From 82 entries it received eight years ago, the Bright Leaf awards body accepted more than 600 entries this year.

“As an agri-business enterprise, PMFTC believes that the Filipino people must be made aware of developments in farming and agricultural practices, rural development, food and food science, and various socio-economic and political stories that affect the sector. Therefore, it is just right that we bring focus to these stories, and help others find unlimited business opportunities to help the industry flourish,” Militsyn said.

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