MATAAS NA KAHOY, BATANGAS – The Department of Agriculture recognized the outstanding contributions of the Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) and Local Farmer Technicians (LFTs) of CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Bicol region in a cluster awarding  ceremony of the 2017 Rice Achievers Awards held at Shercon Resort and Ecology Park in San Sebastian in this municipality on July 29 to August 1, 2018.

A total of 64  AEWs and 7 LFTs were honored for their achievements in rice production for the contest year 2017.

From the Bicol Region,  27 Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) were hailed as Outstanding Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) and given P20,000 cash award each and trophy. The 22 awardees came from Cam Sur, 1 from Masbate and 2 from Albay, 1 from Cam. Norte and 1 from Catanduanes.

They are: Engr.  Janice B. Orciga, Jocelyn Comprado, Eva R. Laurente, Annie Lomanog, Celedonio O. Elevedo Jr., Julieta Deris, Ceasar Miraña, Hector Llagas, Ma. Nercy C. Alvaro, Sylvia Oaferina, Elsa Cabrera, Rodolfo Nuñez Jr.,  Anicia P. Mancita, Ma. Rexie P. Jesalva, Rowena C. Otamias, Maria Ailine C. Bombon, Rosa V. Belgica, Gregorio H. Beldad, Mary Christine B. Mallapre, Alexander B. Baldoza, Catherine A. Comia, Rodrigo V. Pandes Jr., Engr. Sheryl M. Almario, Mat D. Peñafiel, Ronnel A. Gacer, Aira T. Rivero, Grace Santilleces.

Moreover,  5 LFTs from the Bicol region also received P20,000 cash and trophy. They are: Librado B. Banastao, Jr.; Arnulfo D. Bernas; Genaro A. Tamon Jr.; Dominador R. Paa and Miguel R. Dotillos, all of Camarines Sur.

Meanwhile, 10 AEWs and 1 LFT from CALABARZON and 27 AEWS from MIMAROPA were also awarded.

Dr. Santiago R. Obien, Senior Technical Adviser of DA National Rice Program in his speech, congratulated the Regional Directors, AEWs and LFTs of the DA in all regions for helping produce the highest yield production of the Philippines ever in rice in 2017 which was 19.28 million metric tons. Dr. Obien emphasized that it was 3.15 million metric tons on top of the rice production in 2010, raising our rice sufficiency from 86% in 2010 to 96% in 2017.

Dr. Obien added that two key factors propelled this achievement in rice production, namely: 1) use of certified seeds; 2) use of high yielding hybrid seeds.

Dr. Obien especially commended the efforts of the AEWs. “They are very very good, because despite the fact that our production area is only 30% of the land area of Thailand, we were able to feed 105 million Filipinos. That is 37 million more than the population of Thailand which is 69 million.

“Our problem is not on rice production but on the human population growth rate which is 1.6% per year compared to Thailand with only 0.3% population growth per year. In seven years, from 2010 to 2017, the Philippines produced 15 million more population, that is 3x the population of Singapore which has 5 million, Australia 26 million, Indonesia -264,000, UK – 65 million and Germany 82 million,” Dr. Obien added.

The participants were warmly welcomed by DA CALABARZON RTD for Operations and Extension, Milo delos Reyes in behalf of RED Arnel De Mesa. Meanwhile, RED Antonio Gerundio led the delegates from DA MIMAROPA and RED Elena B. delos Santos led the delegates from the DA Bicol.

DA Bicol  OIC RTD for Operations and Extension and Rice Program focal person Rodel P. Tornilla; OIC Chief of Field Operations Division Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez; Rice Program and RAFIS staff also attended the ceremony. (Lovella P. Guarin/ photos by Eduardo D. Collantes, Jr.)