PRRD rallies agri journos to brighter, greener future for Filipinos
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte has called on the country’s agricultural journalists to work together with the government in maintaining the momentum towards a brighter and greener future” for every Filipino.”
The President made the call in a message to the Philippine Agricultural Journalists Inc. led by its new president Prof. Alfredo G. Gabot on the occasion of its presentation of winners of the 2018 PAJ-San Miguel Corporation Binhi Awards for excellence in agricultural and environmental journalism and induction of its officers and directors at the Makati Diamond Residences.
Duterte recognized how PAJ, founded in 1976, has “over the years been advocating for sustainable agriculture and countryside development through balanced reporting on agro-based industries.”
The PAJ members, according to Duterte, have raised public awareness, “ensuring that our farmers, fisherfolk and other stakeholders in this sector are given a voice and are empowered to participate in the national discourse.”
“Excellent journalism promotes nation-building through your stories,” Duterte told the PAJ officers and members.
Duterte congratulated the PAJ and the SMC for jointly holding the annual Binhi Awards contest in agricultural and environmental journalism.
“Let this milestone inspire you to remain steadfast in upholding the integrity of our natural and agricultural resources through informative news and insightful commentary,” the President said.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol led the presentation of awards together with PAJ president Alfredo G. Gabot, PAJ Vice President and Binhi Awards committee chairman Noel O. Reyes and PAJ past president Roman Floresca.
Former Agriculture Secretary Senen Bacani, chairman of the Binhi Awards Board of Judges, also assisted in presenting the awards. The judges included Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board Member Bruce Tolentino, San Miguel Corp. Assistant Vice President Mary Jane Llanes Oconer, broadcaster and former party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones and Dr. Crispin Maslog.
In a separate message, Secretary Pinol stressed “the importance of agricultural journalists not only as disseminators of new agricultural technologies to our farmers and fisherfolk, but also as watchdogs on governance, initiators of policy debates and catalysts of change in the countryside.”
“I am confident that through the Binhi Awards, the PAJ would continue to strengthen its partnership and cooperation with the Department of Agriculture in equipping our farmers and fisherfolk not only with enough knowledge and tools to do safe, sustainable and profitable agriculture but also with enough wisdom and inspiration to achieve holistic and inclusive rural and national progress,” Pinol said.
Others who congratulated the PAJ were Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, Agrarian Reform Secretary John F. Casticiones, Ramon S. Ang, President and COO of San Miguel Corporation, and Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of SL Agritech Co.
The PAJ is also launched its Binhi Magazine, a new membership ID and its reactivation as member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).
During the event, the PAJ also presented Excellence in Agricultural Journalism Award (posthumous) to the late journalist and professor Rodolfo “Rudy” Fernandez.
Lifetime Achievement Awards were also be presented to Dr. Anselmo Roque, Zac Sarian of Manila Bulletin and Agriculture Magazine, former Press Undersecretary and now Balita columnist Marcelo Lagmay and PAJ co-founder Joaquin Jake Espino.
Special awards were also conferred on Henry Lim Bon Liong of SL Agritech Corp. and PAJ past president Roman Floresca.
Aside from Alfredo Gabot, officers inducted by Secretary Pinol were Fermin Diaz, VP for internal affairs; Noel Reyes, VP for external affairs; Ruby Lumongsod, secretary; Aileen Garcia, asst. secretary; Inez Magbual, treasurer; Thelma Tolentino, auditor; Michael Alunan, PRO for print; Rolando Gonzalo, PRO for Broadcast; Rex Navarro, Johnny Goloyugo, Charisma Love Gado Gonzales, Melly Tenorio and Rogelio Matalang, and past president Roman Floresca, directors. (PR)