QUEZON CITY – Rebecca Sanchez-Purisima, a Bicolana chieftain of Agta Tabangnon tribe in Tigaon, Camarines Sur was hailed as 2017 National Outstanding Rural Woman during the awarding ceremony of the Department of Agriculture’s Gawad Parangal sa Katangi-tanging Kababaihan sa Pagsasaka at Pangingisda sa Kanayunan held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) this city on December 7, 2017.
Purisima received a cash prize of P150,000 and plaque. The winning agricultural extension worker will also receive P25,000. She was accompanied on the stage by her husband Bayani; DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. delos Santos; Mayor Pamela Fuentebella of Tigaon, Camarines Sur; and DA Bicol GAD focal person Aloha Gigi I. Banaria.
Out of the 14 nominees from the DA regional field offices, eight finalists were selected to receive cash prizes, plaques and trophies. First runner up Vivian Taniza of Isabela (Region 2) received P100,000 cash prize. Second runner up Lilibeth Galendez of Bukidnon (region 10) received P75,000 cash awards. The other five finalists received P10,000 consolation prizes.
DA Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Usec for Agribusiness, Marketing and Regional Engagement and Chairperson of DA GAD focal system said that since 2003 when the search started, the Bicol region coveted the top award six times already. “Ano ba ang nasa Bicol at laging nananalo?” She enthused during her keynote speech.
Usec Puyat reported that the GAD funds utilization by the DA regional offices, bureaus and attached agencies in 2016 is 9.64% which is higher than the mandated 5% requirement. To empower women in the rural areas, the DA implements easy access financing programs, provides insurance to farmers in high risk areas, and promote women’s access to climate resilient information technology through the National Color Coded Agriculture Guide Map which can be accessed in the internet.
Philippine Commission on Women Executive Director Emmeline Versoza who is also one of the board of judges imparted an inspiring message during the awarding. She said that an excellent and inspiring woman has clear mind, big heart, high EQ and knows how to care for herself. An enterprising woman can be successful if she cares for the environment, she added. “Saan ka man nakatanim, let your light shine and be a blessing.”
Also present during the awarding ceremony were Usec. for Special Concerns Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen; Assistant Secretary for Administration Roldan G. Gorgonio; MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio; Agricultural Credit Policy Council director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola.
In her speech, Rebecca Purisima stressed that she is very proud to be a woman farmer. She thanked Sec. Manny F. Pinol for implementing various programs supporting the women and farmers like her. She also thanked the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for the trainings she has undertaken which she was also able to share with her tribe. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that provided her the land they are now tilling under the CARP was also mentioned. She also thanked the Local Government Unit of Tigaon for the full support to her endeavors. She advised other farmers to convert to organic farming to be successful and to be able to compete with other ASEAN countries. One hectare of her farm which is planted to rice and fruit bearing trees is certified Organic by the OCCP, while another one hectare planted with corn, vegetables and herbs and spices is Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified. (Lovella P. Guarin)