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2012 Ugmad Awardee is a woman

The awardee Ditas dela Peña is flanked by Palo Mayor Matin Petilla, her sister Mayor Carmen Cari and ex-Senator Miguel Zubiri and other VIPs in a souvenir pose.

Baybay City – A woman this time, Barangay captain Ditas de la Peña of Palo, Leyte is this year’s Ugmad Awardee of the Visayas State University (VSU). The award was conferred on her on August 10, 2012, which is the traditional Farmer’s Field Day of the university’s annual anniversary celebration.
The barangay chairwoman is an advocate of pot gardening and the owner of a successful farm in the town.
She received P20,000, a plaque of recognition from VSU and a gift from UNAHCO. She personally received the award from VSU President Jose L. Bacusmo and Palo town mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla.
According to de la Peña, she always encourages her constituents to plant vegetables even in their backyard. Though she owns a large vegetable farm in Palo, she stressed that she still owes Mayor Petilla a lot for her encouraging constituents to go green, the VSU through its vegetable projects, and their municipal agriculture office.
She quipped that whenever her neighbors asks for malunggay and lemon grass from her, she gives out them a stalk so they could also plant. “People with no malunggay and tanglad are lazy,” she punned.
Other nominees for the Ugmad Award were Felicito Montano from Tanauan, Leyte; Ma. Avelina Virrey from Carigara, Leyte; and Roque Villanueva from Valencia, Ormoc City. Each of them received P2,000 and a certificate of recognition from VSU.
On the other hand, Engr. Lucio Gerona from Bontoc, Leyte was teary eyed when he was cited as the 2012 Outstanding Vegetable Farmer. He took home P10,000 plus one sack of UNAHCO feeds.
Gerona underscored that a farmer should diversify his farming. He said they should explore other possibilities in farming to improve their produce. He also challenged each farmer and fisherfolk present to make a difference in their communities belong by setting examples worthy to emulate.
The other nominees for this award also received a cash prize and a certificate of recognition. They were Margarito Haba from Bantigue, Ormoc City and Loreto Godoy from Can-ipa, Baybay City.
Likewise, Reynaldo Inong of Doña Feliza Mejia, Ormoc City bagged home the Outstanding Livestock Farmer. He is the owner of a big piggery in the city. He won P10,000 plus 10 sacks of UNAHCO swine feeds.
Inong vied with Patricio Arradaza of Lao, Ormoc City for the award. Arradaza also received a consolation prize and a certificate of recognition, too.
VSU also gave special citations to Engr. Luis Fran, a jackfruit farmer in Ormoc City; Engr. Julio Co of Calbayog City and Lt. Col. Tony Bumagat of Kananga, Leyte.
The awarding of the Outstanding Integrated Farmer (Ugmad Award), Outstanding Livestock Farmer, and Outstanding Vegetable Farmer are done yearly by VSU and partner sponsors. Eastwest Seed Company sponsors the Outstanding Vegetable Farmer, while UNAHCO sponsors the prizes for the Outstanding Livestock Farmer.
Bacusmo underscored that they do this to encourage the farmers to improve their production. They hoped that the awarded farmers will help his/her fellow farmers in their associations/organizations. By Niño Antonio Villalino

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