THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Occidental-South has bagged top awards at the just-concluded Information Officers' Year End Conference and Awards 2020 of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Western Visayas.

Its information officer and two publications were feted in a virtual awarding ceremony on Thursday, December 17.

The Southern Echo, which is the official newsletter publication of the agency, emerged as one of the Best Agency Newsletters in the region.

The ARBOld Komiks, which is a joint-project of DAR-Negros Occidental II and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) of Negros Occidental, won as one of the Best Special Publications in Western Visayas.

The komiks were distributed to farmer-beneficiaries during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

Meanwhile, its information officer, Drexel Glen Pajarilla, was recognized as one of the Best Information Officers in Western Visayas for 2020.

According to PIA-Western Visayas, the recipients for best publication award were selected from all national government agencies and local government units.

These were judged based on relevance of content, technical quality, editorial quality, mechanics and overall appearance.

PIA-Western Visayas Head Jemin Guillermo, in a statement, said the agency has recognized the need for valuing and recognizing the role of print publications as well as the staff involved in the production, documentation of the programs and activities including the milestones of agencies.

For DAR-Negros Occidental II, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I Enrique Paderes said their newsletter is made possible through the Provincial Communications Group (PCG) which aims to build a stronger public rapport and to intensify the information dissemination of the agency.

"This agency, through the PCG, never stops to introduce innovations and initiatives to bring the programs and services of the agency to the public, its stakeholders and to agrarian reform communities," he said.

The ARBOld Komiks, on the other hand, was reproduced after the agency has seen the urgency to come up with an alternative training module in order to bring the programs and services of the agency to agrarian reform communities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officer-In-Charge Provincial Agrarian Reform Program II Arnulfo Figueroa, for his part, expressed gratitude and congratulations to the personnel of DAR-Negros Occidental II, particularly to the members of the PGC.

"I would like to congratulate our PCG, for being an effective arm of DAR-Negros Occidental II when it comes to educating the public of the 'hows and whats' of the agency through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp)," he said.

Figueroa added that to further improve the delivery of frontline services of the agency, the PCG has prepared more initiatives and partnerships with other agencies including the PIA in 2021.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, who graced the activity, reminded the information officers of their vital roles to perform in pursuit of truthful and timely information dissemination.