EDGE Davao was the lone paper from Mindanao that was included in the list of winners of the 44th Binhi Awards held at the Bureau of Soil and Water Management Convention Hall in Diliman, Quezon City last September 24.

The Davao daily was cited for publishing the article, “Agriculture as new innovation in tourism,” written by Henrylito D. Tacio.  The said article was cited as Best in Agri Tourism Reporting by the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. (PAJ).

Due to the current pandemic, Tacio wasn’t able to attend the awarding ceremony.  On his behalf, her friend, veteran broadcast journalist Melly Tenorio, received the trophy and the cash prize.

There were more than 700 entries this year vying for various categories.  The winners were selected by a board of judges headed by Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, a member of the Monetary Board of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The awards were given in three categories.  Tacio’s win was for special categories.  Other winners were: Bianca Cuaresma and Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas for their joint article, “Real transformation seen to boost efforts to finance Ph ag sector,” which was published in Business Mirror for Best in Agri Finance Reporting; and a pooled story entitled “Pre- and post-rice trade liberalization law, big traders gaming farmer groups,” also published in Business Mirror for SL Agri Tech Best in Rice Reporting.

Winners of the minor categories were: Ian Ocampo Flora for Best Climate Change Story (“DA bets on adaptive practices to help farmers cope with climate change,” Sun Star Pampanga), Jonathan Mayuga for Best Water Sustainability Story (“Ifugao’s ‘muyong,’ stakeholders’ support key to a clean, healthy river,” Business Mirror), Business Mirror for Best Agri Section of a Newspaper; Philrice Magazine for Best Agricultural Magazine; Pinoy Scientist hosted by Custer Deocaris of Radyo Agila for Best Agri Radio Program; and the golden rice campaign by Philippine Rice Research Institute for Agri Info and Media Campaign.

The major category has three bets: Agri-Beat Reporter, Environmental Journalist and Agricultural Journalist. Below were the winners:

Agri-Beat Reporter of the Year: Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas (Business Mirror), first place; Ian Ocampo Flora (Sun Star Pampanga), second place; and Louise Maureen Simeon (Philippine Star), third place.

Environment Journalist of the Year: Ian Ocampo Flora (Sun Star Pampanga), first place; Jonathan Mayuga (Business Mirror), second place; and Louise Maureen Simeon (Philippine Star), third place.

Agricultural Journalist of the Year: Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas (Business Mirror), first place; Louise Maureen Simeon (Philippine Star), second place; and Madelaine Miraflor (Manila Bulletin), third place.

There were three slots that were not given awards since there was only one contestant each: Best Agri Vlogger (a plaque was given to Mark Anthony Gallibu for his participation), Best Agri Photo (sole entry was from Wilfredo D. Lomibao), and Best Agri TV Program (only DA Soccsksargen submitted an entry).

A keynote message was delivered by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar.  Hosting the awarding ceremony were Rolando Gonzalo and Melly Tenorio.

This year’s Binhi win of Tacio is his seventh.  In 1994, he was named as Countryside-Based Agricultural Journalist of the Year.  Two years later, he won the countryside agricultural and environmental journalist of the year.

In 2015, his story on soil erosion was named as Best Environmental Feature of the Year.  In 2016, he won two Binhi awards: third place for Agricultural Reporter of the Year and third place for Environmental Journalist of the Year.  All these award-winning stories came out in EDGE Davao.

In 2017, his feature on climate change which appeared in Philippines Graphic was named Best Climate Change Story of the Year.

Next to the National Press Club, PAJ is the longest surviving national association of media practitioners and development communicators in the country today.  As Cora Abio wrote in last year’s program souvenir: “(PAJ) has evolved into a dynamic organization and presently has more than 177 active members and backed up by four regional chapters, sharing common passion for excellence in agricultural journalism as a big leap towards elimination of biases against the agriculture sector.”

It was the multi-awarded journalist Dr. Zosimo Ma. Poblico who suggested the name.  Patterned after the now defunct Asian Agricultural Journalism and Writers Association, it’s a precursor of the Philippine Association of Agricultural Writers which was organized earlier in 1976.

In 1987, PAJ recognized excellent works in agricultural journalism through the annual Binhi Awards.  Environmental reports, mostly related to agriculture, have been included in the search years later. 

The winners


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