ZONE 6 was hailed as the champion during the recent cleanliness, gardening and beautification competition in Barangay Purisima, Manapla supported by Victorias Milling Company (VMC).

Besting nine other participating puroks, it brought home P30,000 in cash prize.

Dubbed "Barangay ko, Love ko," the competition was a resounding success that instead of just three major winners, the organizers decided to award a fourth winner after the municipal government officials extended additional personal funds to award another winner and add to the consolation prizes.

Zone 6 leaders, Roy Leonida and Teddy Bustamante said their residents were happy to bag the top place and vowed to continue what they have started and make it sustainable.

"Our residents see these efforts beyond the cleanliness drive. They feel that even through this, we are contributing in a significant way to have a more meaningful and progressive community," he added.

Coming in second place was Hacienda Candelaria Zone, taking home P20,000 while Zones 5 and 3 bagged the third and fourth place, respectively, and getting P10,000 and P8,000 respectively.

Model House winner was awarded to Ma. Theresa Tumambo of Hacienda Candelaria with a cash prize of P5,000.

Thamar Theresa Genobis, of the Purisima Community Service Volunteers (PCSV) that spearheaded the competition, said they were "very happy that the community seemed revitalized seeing the change happening in their area."

"We are very thankful that Manapla Mayor Manolet Escalante was supportive of this effort and we assure him and the people that we will ensure continuity and sustainability of this program," Genobis said, adding that "each resident has a role to play in keeping our community clean and beautiful."

"[During] the past weeks, we saw everyone sharing their creativity, and more than that, enjoying themselves during the whole process of beautifying their surroundings," she also said.

Escalante who was present during the awarding said that, "it is my hope and prayer that someday, all our residents in Manapla will unite and that the people's trust towards the government and for those who work for or help our community will remain."

"We need to strengthen partnership to sustain what we have started and embark on an even bigger development for our town," the mayor added.

VMC Administrative Officer Eva Rodriguez also commended the residents for their effort.

"My heart is really full because our surroundings speak volumes about the love, passion and dedication that each participant poured into this challenge," she said.

The criteria for judging ensured the participation of the residents as the zones must show that each household must have a garden with ornamental plants and vegetables in pots or plots, a common garden or park in their area and a model home.

All non-winning participating zones were given P6,000 as consolation prize.

Judging the competition were town's tourism officer and former Lin-ay sang Manapla Eunica Janine Cabayao, Municipal Agriculturist and Fishery Officer Alejandro Malijoc, and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Victor Lapidez. (PR)