Farmers, Fishers Recognized for Outstanding Contributions in Malacañan

Marieta Rodolfo from Region II receives the award for Outstanding Rural Improvement Club (RIC) on behalf of Sto. Domingo RIC. (photo by Clemente Gabion)

MANILA, Metro Manila—Another batch of champions was yet again recognized for their exceptional contributions in the agriculture and fisheries sector during the “Awarding of the Outstanding Farmers, Fisherfolk, and Coastal Communities: The Gawad Saka 2017 and Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) 2017.”

President Rodrigo Duterte and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol led the awarding of 28 outstanding farmers and fisherfolk around the country. Also present in the ceremony are Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar, Department of Agriculture Undersecretaries for Operations Ariel Cayanan, for Fisheries Eduardo Gongona, and for Agribusiness and Marketing, and Regional Engagement Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

During the opening of the Gawad Saka 2017, Cayanan stressed the essence of our farmers and fisherfolk as food producers for the nation. “Kailangang maintindihan ng sangkatauhan na wala tayong kinabukasan kung wala ang agrikultura—na ang kinabukasan ng susunod na henerasyon ay nakasalalay sa kamay ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” he said. (The nation needs to understand how our future depends on agriculture—that the future of the next generation is in the hands of our farmers and fishers.)

Likewise, Gongona noted that the strength of the fisheries sector lies in the strength of its partnership with the local government units. He underscored in his introduction of MMK, “The efforts of the national government will only be effective if they are faithfully implemented in the cities and municipalities; because by taking care of the municipal waters, we take care of the whole fishing industry.”

Aside from plaques and a Presidential citation, cash prizes were given to 23 Gawad Saka awardees, while fishery project grants were received by the MMK national winners.

The President expressed his hope that the recognition given to them will serve as an inspiration for their fellow farmers, fishers and other stakeholders to continue exploring ways to further improve the evolving agri-fishery sector.

Gawad Saka and MMK are both annual nationwide searches conducted by the Department of Agriculture, through its bureaus Agricultural Training Institute and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to give tribute to outstanding Filipino farmers and fishers.

The awarding ceremony was held on April 5, 2018 at the Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace in the said city.