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Among the 22 agricultural individuals and groups all over the country, three outstanding farmers and fisherfolk from CALABARZON were recognized during the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) 49th Gawad Saka “Parangal sa Natatanging Magsasaka at Mangingisda” streamed awarding ceremony on December 14, 2020.

Mr. Teodoro V. Pangilinan of Brgy. Concepcion Palasan, Sariaya, Quezon was given a trophy, a certificate of recognition, and P250,000 cash prize for being the Outstanding Large Animal Raiser. Meanwhile, Mr. Benjamin D. Bajo of Brgy. Libo, Panukulan, Quezon was also given a trophy, a certificate of recognition, and P250,000 cash prize after being named as the Outstanding Fisherfolk for Aquaculture Fisheries. Moreover, the Quezon Agricultural and Fishery Council was awarded a trophy, a certificate of recognition, a P50,000 cash prize, and P350,000 worth of fund for their project after bagging the award for the Outstanding Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC).

In his speech, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar expressed his appreciation to all the farmers and fishers who continue to remain steadfast at the forefront of the sector to bring affordable, safe, and nutritious food to every Filipino table amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Secretary said that they are confident that with the people in the agriculture sector, we will achieve and sustain a food-secure and resilient nation while increasing the productivity and income of farmers and fishers.

“In the face of interminable challenges brought by natural calamities and erratic climate conditions, your work is beyond commendable and something you should take pride in. Patuloy na tutugunan ng Kagawaran ang mga pangangailan ng sektor ng sakahan at pangisdaan,” Sec. Dar said.

DA Undersecretary (USec.) for Operations Mr. Ariel T. Cayanan said that this ceremony gives credit to farmers and fishers who have meaningful involvement in the agriculture industry. Mr. Cayanan noted that he is proud to be a part of the farming and fisheries sector.

“Sa kabila ng panganib na dulot ng kasalukuyang pandemya, inyong (mga magsasaka at mangingisda) ipinamalas ang inyong husay at dedikasyon sa inyong mga napiling larangan… Habang may mga dedikado at makabagong magsasaka at mangingisda, ang parangal ng Gawad Saka ay mananatili,” USec. Cayanan said.

Gawad Saka is an annual activity of DA which recognizes farmers, fisherfolk, and other agricultural stakeholders who have excelled and made significant contributions in the development of the agriculture and fishery sector in their regions and the country. Due to the current pandemic, this yearly celebration was conducted virtually by uploading a simple yet momentous video tribute for all the winners on DA official Facebook page. • (MAP, DA-RAFIS)