news graduatesRecognizing their painstaking efforts and active participation in the conduct of the Rice and Corn         Production School on the Air Program (SOAP) of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 1, a total of 1,414 farmers from the provinces of La Union and Ilocos Sur received their certificates and awards as graduates of the School On-the Air Program of the Department.

Conducted on December 14, 2013 for the La Union graduates and December 21, 2013 for the Ilocos Sur     graduates, the graduation rites were held at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in San Fernando City, La Union and Baluarte, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur respectively. Likewise, graduation for the provinces of Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte were set on January 14 & 21 next year.

In La Union, the graduation ceremony was attended by the Federation of Rural Broadcasters Chairman, Mr. Louie N. Tabing, as guest of honor & speaker while Ilocos Sur Provincial Governor, Honorable Ryan Luis Singson   represented by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Robert Tudayan graced the ceremony in Ilocos Sur.

The SOAP graduation ceremonies is another milestone in the history of the Department of Agriculture in its continuous efforts of keeping farmers better informed on the latest programs and projects in agriculture to help         improve their productivity and incomes leading to the attainment of DA's ultimate goal on food security and rice       sufficiency.

In his message to the 764 graduates of the Province, Mr. Louie Tabing lauded the active participation of the farmers in the program and on their continuous search for knowledge necessary to carry-out their daily tasks in the farm which translates to their better production, productivity and income.

Mr. Tabing recognized the important role of mass media particularly the radio broadcast in reaching out to farmers especially in far-flung areas and influencing the perception and knowledge of farmers on rice and corn         production as they learn new technologies that they could implement in their farms. "This medium of communication is a vital support of the extension workers in extending their technical and extension services to the clienteles," Mr. Tabing said.

In Ilocos Sur, Governor Ryan Luis Singson's message delivered by Hon. Tudayan, member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan requested for the expansion of the SOA program not only on rice and corn production but also in the High Value Crops as well as Livestock Programs.

For the last 33 years, DA is using the power of broadcast media in informing, educating and communicating its programs and projects via the School on the Air Program. Proven to be an effective medium to reach out farmers even to those at the remotest areas in the region, the DA-Regional Agriculture & Fisheries Information Division (RAFID) uses this form of mass media to empower the farmers to become progressive and effective agribusiness entrepreneurs. With the lessons discussed over the radio by the farmcasters for each of the provinces, farmers were able to update themselves on the recent agricultural breakthroughs in the rice and corn sectors, giving them tips and recommendations not only on farming technologies but also in improving their values, attitudes toward farming as a business.

Meanwhile, to recognize their outstanding performance in the periodic quizzes as well as the post-test given for every topics discussed in the SOA, the top ten outstanding graduates in both rice and corn programs were awarded. Leading the 2013 Rice and Corn Production School on the Air Program in the four provinces under Rice Program were Mr. Reynaldo Casuga of San Fernando City, La Union and Mr. Edwin Yago of Sinait, Ilocos Sur. Likewise,             Ms. Magdalena F. Carmelo of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur and Ms. Rubina Corpuz topped the graduates under the Corn   Program.

As an outstanding graduate, all the first honors received from DA a plaque of recognition, P5,000 cash awards and a certificate of completion.   The second honors also received P3,000 cash awards, a plaque and a certificate of   recognition while the third honors received P2,000 each, a plaque and a certificate of recognition. The top seven   graduates received P1,000 each and a certificate of recognition. These are aside from the tokens given to all graduates such as t-shirts, caps, umbrellas, radios and record books.

Aside from the outstanding farmer-graduates, the LGUs were also awarded for having the most number of graduates. Leading the LGU awardees in La Union are the municipalities of San Juan and Bacnotan while in Ilocos Sur were the Municipalities of Cabugao and Sinait. Each of the outstanding LGUs received from DA a cash award of P5,000.###

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