The Department of Agriculture High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) in Bicol recognized 10 outstanding Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) during the 2nd Regional HVCDP Achievers’ Awards Awarding Ceremony held in Pili, Camarines Sur on December 19, 2023.

According to DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla, the activity serves as the agency’s way of saying “Thank you” to its partner local government units (LGUs) for their support in implementing the HVCDP in their respective municipalities and provinces.

“This is also a recognition of the agricultural extension workers’ dedication and exemplary performance in the delivery of agricultural services to our clienteles,” he said.

He also acknowledged the HVCDP coordinators’ contributions as one of the pillars of DA’s programs.

“The implementation of the High Value Crops and the NUPAP in the urban and rural communities helped in ensuring the continuous supply of readily available, safe, and nutritious food in every Bicolano table kahit pa noong pandemic,” he added.

Tornilla added that the DA HVCDP of Bicol was the pioneer in giving this kind of award which are already being enjoyed by AEWs supporting other banner programs such as Rice and Corn Programs.

Talino at Galing ng Pinoy (TGP) Partylist Representative Jose “Bong” J. Teves Jr. was the keynote speaker during the occasion. His message was delivered by Senior Political Affairs Officer Romeo Asuncion. In his message, Tevez encouraged the awardees, the local government units, and the DA officials to continue their collaboration to attain food security in the region.

“Let us continue to work together more closely towards our common goal. That is, food security. Lagi ko pong sinasabi na sisiguraduhin natin na may pagkain sa hapag-kainan ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino. I am confident that through your efforts and commitment, we will be able to achieve that goal na walang pamilyang Pilipinong magugutom,” he said.

The 2023 Regional High Value Crops Achievers are:

• Cesar C. Cordenete Jr., Provincial HVCDP Coordinator of the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Albay;

• Julie Ann Q. Lopez, Provincial HVCDP Coordinator of PLGU-Catanduanes;

• Maricris S. Bernardino, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Polangui, Albay;

• Nerissa P. Villaluz, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Daet, Camarines Norte;

• Mario D. Asuncion, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Virac, Catanduanes;

• John Paul A. Bongalon, City HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Tabaco City, Albay;

• Kathrene Joyce I. Sabilala, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Buhi, Camarines Sur;

• Sienna C. Sombrero, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Tigaon, Camarines Sur;

• Rommel M. Nacario, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Pili, Camarines Sur; and

• Irma D. Intia, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

They received a plaque of recognition and P20,000 cash prize from DA HVCDP Bicol.

DA HVCDP Bicol also recognized the following P/M/CLGUs for their commitment, partnership and support to the HVC industry:

Provincial Level:

• Albay Provincial Agriculture Office;

• Catanduanes Provincial Agriculture Services Office;

• Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Camarines Norte; and

• Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Camarines Sur.

For the Municipal Level:

• MLGU-Polangui, Albay;

• MLGU-Daet, Camarines Norte;

• MLGU-Virac, Catanduanes;

• CLGU-Tabaco City, Albay;

• MLGU-Buhi, Camarines Sur;

• MLGU-Tigaon, Camarines Sur;

• MLGU-Pili, Camarines Sur; and

• MLGU-Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

On behalf of the awardees, Julie Ann Q. Lopez, Provincial HVCDP Coordinator of PLGU-Catanduanes and Sienna C. Sombrero, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator of LGU-Tigaon, Camarines Sur, expressed their gratitude to the DA Bicol HVCDP for the recognition conferred to them as well as the agency’s continuous support to the HVC industry in their respective communities. They also acknowledged the efforts of their colleagues at the LGU level. They added that these motivate them to continue working for the development of the HVCDP for the benefit of more high value crops farmers in the region.

Bureau of Plant Industry and Concurrent National Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Program (NUPAP) and HVCDP Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban delivered a video message. Also present during the event were DA Bicol Regional Technical Director for Operations Luz Marcelino, DA Bicol Field Operations Division Chief and Regional HVCDP Coordinator Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, other DA officials, and representatives from the Provincial and Municipal/City Agriculture Offices regionwide.

DA Bicol HVCDP piloted the HVC Achievers’ Award in 2022 for the municipal and city LGUs in partnership with DA Agricultural Training Institute. This year, the award was expanded to include AEWs in both the provincial and municipal levels. They were evaluated and identified based on their performance from January to December of the previous year in terms of provision of technical assistance initiated by the LGU, provision of post-harvest, processing, logistics, and marketing support initiated by the LGU; submission of accomplishment/status reports/data, contribution to social development, and employee’s self-growth and development. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)