Philippines Agricultural Journalists presentation of annual awards

MANILA – 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. 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 on March 28, 2019 at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City.

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 Mr. 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 for excellence 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, who was the event’s guest of honor and speaker, led the presentation of some 30 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 stressed.

In his keynote speech, Secretary Pinol unveiled the Department of Agriculture’s roadmap to raise agricultural productivity while addressing concerns on El Nino, water shortage and irrigation supply.

Dr. Owen Roberts, IFAJ president, also sent his felicitations to the PAJ during its event on behalf of the 5,000 agricultural journalists in IFAJ’s 50 member countries.

“Strong guilds need active members and visionary, committed leaders. In our busy and complicated world, it can be challenging to find time to look beyond our immediate obligations and needs as professionals. That’s why I extend special thanks to officers and directors, for rising to this challenge for the good of our entire sector,” Dr. Roberts stated in his message.

“Agricultural journalists have an increasingly vital role in knowledge mobilization, in conveying pertinent news and information to farmers so they may be as productive, sustainable and profitable as possible,” Dr. Roberts said. “Take pride in every word you produce, every photo you take, every broadcast you record, every binhi you help grow. You are supporting what is arguably the world’s most important sector. “

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.

During the event, the PAJ announced its rejoining the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and 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 educator-journalist Dr. Anselmo Roque, journalist Zac Sarian, editor of Manila Bulletin agriculture section 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 hybrid rice pioneer 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.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol (2nd from left), presents the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. (PAJ) Lifetime Achievement Award to former Press Undersecretary Marcelo S. Lagmay, five-term president of the National Press Club of the Philippines and editor-in-chief of Balita (Manila Bulletin Group of Publications), held at the Makati Diamond Residences on March 28, 2019. Also in photo are PAJ newly-installed president Alfredo G. Gabot (left), former agriculture secretary Senen Bacani (right), former PNA Managing Editor Joaquin "Jake' Espino (3rd left), and Dr. Anselmo Roque (2nd right), of Philippine Daily Inquirer-Central Luzon. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol (2nd from left) presents the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. (PAJ) lifetime achievement award to Philippine News Agency former Managing Editor and PAJ founding member and three-term director Joaquin 'Jake' Espino during the PAJ-SMC (San Miguel Corporation) Binhi Awards, at the Makati Diamond Residences on Thursday (March 28, 2019). Also in photo are PAJ newly-installed president Alfredo G. Gabot (left) and Tess Espino, Jake's daughter (right). (PNA photo by Ben Briones)
AGRI JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR. The Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. (PAJ) in partnership with San Miguel Corporation honor agriculture beat journalists during the 2018 PAJ-SMC Binhi awards night at the Makati Diamond Residences, Makati City on Thursday (March 28, 2019). Photo shows Jasper Arcalas of Business Mirror who won the 2018 Agricultural Journalist of the Year award. Joining him from left are PAJ President Alfredo Gabot; Jayzon Brizuela of SMC; Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol; Chairman, Board of Judges, former DA Secretary Senen Bacani; Henry Lim Bon Liong of SL Agritech Corporation; PAJ Past President Ramon Floresca; and PAJ VP for External Affairs Noel Reyes. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)
BINHI AWARDEE. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol (3rd from left) presents to Jonathan Mayuga, reporter of Business Mirror, the 2018 Philippine Agricultural Journalist, Inc. - San Miguel Corp. (PAJ-SMC) Binhi Award, at the Makati Diamond Residences, Makati City on Thursday (March 28, 2019). Mayuga won the award for Best Agri Feature Story of the Year for his report, "Fishing moratorium: Is PHL doing it right?". With them are (from left) PAJ President Alfredo Gabot; Jayson Brizuela of SMC; former agriculture secretary Senen Bacani; SL Agritech Corp. CEO Henry Lim Bon Liong; and former PAJ president, Roman Floresca. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)
PIÑOL GRACES BINHI AWARDS. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol (standing) delivers his keynote address during the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. Binhi Awards at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City on Thursday (March 28, 2019). Piñol bats for the importance of water in attaining food sustainability. Others in photo (seated from left) are Jayzon Brizuela of San Miguel Corporation; PAJ President Alfredo Gabot, and former DA Secretary Senen Bacani, chair of the Board of Judges. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)
BINHI AWARDS. The Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. (PAJ) and San Miguel Corporation hold the Binhi Awards and Induction of new set of officers at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City on Thursday (March 28, 2019). Photo shows PAJ President Alfredo Gabot deliver his message during the 2018 Binhi Awards which recognizes the continuing effort of print and broadcast journalists who churn out comprehensive and quality reportage of major developments, issues and concerns in the country's agriculture, fisheries, environment, agrarian reform, food and agribusiness sectors. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)