3 Manila Bulletin Correspondents Win Top Bright Leaf Awards
November 26, 2017

3 Manila Bulletin correspondents win top Bright Leaf Awards




Three Manila Bulletin correspondents received top awards in three categories of the 10th Bright Leaf Agriculture Awards in a formal ceremony held at Sofitel-Manila in Pasay City, Thursday night.

Photojournalist Erwin Beleo won the “Tobacco Photo of the Year” for his photo entry titled “The Farmer” published in the Feb. 29, 2016 issue of Tempo, Manila Bulletin’s English tabloid.

His winning photo shows a farmer preparing to water his tobacco farm as harvest season approaches in Balaoan, La Union.


BRIGHT LEAF AWARDEES – Manila Bulletin’s Erwin Beleo (fourth from left), Rizaldy Comanda (seventh from left), and Freddie Lazaro (eighth from left) garnered major awards in the 10th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Thursday night. Beleo was honored for the Tobacco Photo of the Year, Comanda for Best Agriculture Feature Story, and Lazaro for Best Agriculture News Story. The other awardees were (from left): Ariel Tejada (DWCI-FM), Erwin Mascarinas (Sun Star Cagayan de Oro), Ruben Gonzaga (ABS-CBN Davao), Jujemay Awit (Sun Star Cebu), Mary Grace Nidoy (PhilRice Magazine), Karlston Lapniten (Baguio Chronicle), and Ian Flora (Sun Star Pampanga). (Manny Llanes  Manila Bulletin)

Baguio City-based journalist Rizaldy Comanda brought home his second Bright Leaf award –the “Best Agriculture Feature Story (National Category) –for his article titled “Open air museum in Ifugao presents culture, sustains native rice planting,” published in the front page of Manila Bulletin, June 28, 2016 issue.

Comanda’s story featured the Open Air Museum at the Nagacadan Rice Terraces in Kiangan, Ifugao, which is a “living cultural landscape” where the locals continue planting the Tinawon rice variety in the traditional way.

Another MB story titled “Ilocos dragon fruit brings cure and income to many” by Freddie Lazaro was cited “Best Agriculture News Story (National Category). It was published in the Sept. 13, 2015 issue of MB.

Lazaro’s story told of how the conversion of idle lots into dragon fruit plantations made Ilocos Norte the dragon fruit capital of the Philippines.

The awards also came with trophies, a trip to an Asian country, and cash.

Last year, Comanda also won “Best Agriculture News Story (National) for his story titled, “Kalinga Rice Farmers See Better Days with Hybrid Rice Variety,” published in MB on July 29, 2015.

The Bright Leaf Awards was launched in 2007 by the Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc. (PMPMI) and continued by PMFTC (a business cooperation of PMPMI and Fortune Tobacco Corporation). It honors the best agriculture journalists and photojournalists in the country.

On its 10th year, Bright Leaf’s board of judges headed by veteran journalist Ninez Cacho-Olivares, selected the winners out of 678 entries received from across the country.

Members of the board of judges are Isabelita Orlina Reyes, J. Albert Gamboa, Francis Abraham, Joel Pablo Salud, Jake Maderazo,  Marby Villaceran,  Rem Zamora, Danton Remoto, Ces Drilon, Alfred “Krip” Yuson, and Pennie Azarcon-Dela Cruz.

Other winners are: “Aging farmers” by Jujemay Awit of Sun Star Cebu, Agriculture Story of The Year; “So what is holding up the commercialization of tobacco by-products?” by Ian Ocampo Flora of Sun Star Pampanga, Tobacco Story of The Year; photo entry titled “Between herons and farming” by Erwin Macarinas of Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, Agriculture Photo of The Year;  “Lives and terraces intertwined” by Mary Grace Nidoy of Philrice, Best Agriculture Feature Story” (Regional); “Saving Benguet’s vegetable industry” by Karlston Lapniten of by Baguio Chronicle, Best Agriculture News Story (Regional); “Cheap, Easy And Practical Ways To Test Soil ph Level Using Materials That Are Readily Available At Home” by Ariel Tejada of Agri-Tayo PIDDIG, Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment; and “Governor Generoso Special” by Karren Montejo, producer of Agri Tayo Dito, ABS-CBN Davao, Best Agriculture TV Program or Segmet.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, was the guest speaker. In his speech he emphasized the importance of agriculture in the country and that it should be given support and prioritization to ensure food security and economic growth.

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