SUNSTAR Cebu’s report on the sorry state of the Butuanon River won the “Best Environment Story of the Year” award during the 2016 Philippine Agricultural Journalists (PAJ)-San Miguel Corp. Binhi Awards held last Wednesday in Makati City.
The three-part report “Saving Butuanon” was written by Cherry Ann T. Lim and Justin K. Vestil and published last Oct. 19-21, 2016.
The Binhi Awards is an annual national contest to honor the country’s best agriculture and environment journalists. Since 1978, it has had San Miguel Corp. (SMC) as major sponsor. This year’s other sponsors were SL Agritech Corp. and CDO Foodsphere Inc.
During the awarding ceremonies held at the Makati Diamond Residences, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) had the biggest haul, raking in six trophies for wins in these categories: Agricultural Journalist of the Year (Sonny Pasiona, first place; John Glen Sarol, second place), Agri Photo Journalist (Jayson Berto), Agricultural Magazine (PhilRice Magasin), Agri Regional Radio Program (“Maunlad na Agrikultura sa Nayon” by PhilRice and the Department of Agriculture 3), and Agri Information & Media Campaign (“#BROWN4good Challenge”).
Those who won two trophies each were James Konstantin Galvez of Manila Times (Agri Beat Reporter, first place, and Environment Journalist, second place); Henrylito Tacio of Edge Davao (third place in both the Agricultural Journalist and Environment Journalist categories); Jonathan L. Mayuga of BusinessMirror (Environment Journalist, first place, and Best Agri Feature Story for “Fish: Now you see them, soon you don’t”); and the Department of Agriculture Region 11 (Best Climate Change Story for “Facing the challenges of cloud seeding thru Facebook” by Noel Provido, and Agricultural Newsletter for “Uhay.”)
The other winners were Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas of BusinessMirror (Agri Beat
Reporter, second place), Madelaine Miraflor of Manila Bulletin and Louise Maureen Simeon of Philippine Star (sharing Agri Beat Reporter, third place); Anselmo Roque of Punto! Central Luzon (Best Agri News Story for “Relocated Aeta tribesmen upbeat in rice, multi-crops growing on mountain areas”); Agri-Commodities, Business Mirror (Agriculture Section of a National Newspaper); “Agri Tayo Dito” of ABS-CBN TV4 Davao (Agri Regional Television Program) and “Pinoy Scientist” of Radyo Agila dzEC (Agri National Radio Program).
During her keynote address, Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of both the Senate committees on agriculture and food, and environment and natural resources, spoke on at least seven measures whose passage into law she led in the 16th Congress, including laws to develop the sugar industry, prevent unregulated fishing, make large-scale agricultural smuggling a non-bailable offense, extend loans to farmers and cooperatives, develop farm tourism and strengthen hatcheries.
The Binhi Awards’ five-member board of judges was led by former agriculture secretary William Dar.
Other officials present at the ceremonies were PAJ president Roman Floresca, PAJ vice president for internal affairs and Binhi Awards contest chairman Noel Reyes, SMC assistant vice president for corporate and media affairs Jane Oconer Llanes and SL Agritech president Henry Lim.