The 15 aspiring young agri-entrepreneurs in Bicol who qualified and took part as interns in the Department of Agriculture’s Mentoring and Attracting Youths in Agribusiness (MAYA) Program were in high spirits during the completion ceremonies held for them at the DA regional Office on June 28.

Enriched with new knowledge, skills and experiences and buoyed with a new confidence the interns happily shared their journey via the audio visual presentations they themselves prepared and through personal narrative and story telling.

Ailyn Bertumen an Animal Science major who graduated from the Sorsogon State College was among those adjudged Best Interns out of 791 nationwide for their exemplary performance during the duration of their internship. She will receive a cash prize of PhP7,500. She was also among the winners for the “best photo journey” given to those who have garnered the most likes, reactions and shares in the Facebook MAYA photo diary posts. She will receive an additional cash price of PhP 4,000.

Another Bicolana intern, Ivy de la Pacion, a graduate from the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture was finalist to the “Best Business Plan” where a 40 thousand start-up capital was at stake.

Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, Dr. Edgar Madrid congratulated the 15 interns for completing the program. He said only one of the original 16 interns who qualified dropped out for some personal circumstance. He explained that the MAYA program was conceptualized to address the problem of having more graduates but less job or employment opportunities are available. He added that while the MAYA interns have two options either to seek employment or go into agri-preneurship he urged them to continue their journey in pursuing agri entrepreneurship and improve their business proposals and apply what they have learned.

He also conveyed the instruction of DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P.Tornilla to all program coordinators to look for funds for the proposals crafted by the MAYA interns.

During the closing ceremony the partner institutions which hosted the interns were also recognized and given plaques of recognition. These were the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. represented by Jomar Basco and James Charlou Otida and the Sonrisa Farm represented by its farm administrator, Lani Botor.

A virtual “Recognition Day ” to honor the MAYA graduates was also held on June 29 and graced by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar. The DA chief says “MAYA serves as one of our strategies to engage more youth and help revitalize the country’s agriculture fishery and agribusiness sector. It is our response in investing in people.” The virtual recognition ceremonies was hosted by the Bureau of Agricultural Research which also coordinates the implementation of the MAYA program.

The interns received a monthly allowance of P20,000 during their immersion. Aside from Bertumen the other interns who completed their internship were: Princess E. Arcilla, Darwin I. Barrameda, May B. Basilan, Almira R. Billones, Ivy de la Pacion, Jomar S. Pagador, Domingo B. Sabularse, Jr., Roberto O. San Agustin, Jr., Juliana Louise N. Santos, and Paolo Pardiñas (all from CBSUA); Cherry Mae B. Mallo and Melvin Paclibar (from SSC), John Paul J. Baytan (from CNSC) and Joefe C. Salvador (from DEBESMSCAT).

The focal person for the MAYA Program in Bicol is Corazon A. Orbon, chief of the Research Division ably assisted by Pedro A Oliver. (EMILY B. BORDADO/Photo credits: Hermito Antonio Privaldos)