A total of 2, 122 farmer-enrollees received from the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC) their certificate of completion as graduate of the season-long School on-the-Air on Smart Rice Agriculture (SOA-SRA) in a Mass Graduation ceremonies held at the Urdaneta City Cultural and Sports Center on October 25, 2022.

An activity started in August, 2022 which aims to empower farmers to become more competitive in modern rice farming techniques using radio and social media platforms, the program was carried out by the ATI, in tandem with the Department of Agriculture through the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section and the participating local government units (LGUS) in the region.

Topping this year’s SOA-SRA graduation is Maria May S. Morales from Binalonan, Pangasinan who successfully completed the 25 episodes of the SOA. Ms. Aileen Calizo and Mr. Carlos Cera were named as the top 2 and 3 graduates from San Jacinto and Mangaldan, Pangasinan respectively.

The other 18 top performers include:

  1. Prescilla Abardo – Sison, Pangasinan
  2. Oliver Cabinain – Currimao, Ilocos Norte
  3. Lee Rose Ruiz – Natividad, Pangasinan
  4. Bonifacio Visperas – Mapandan
  5. Jacqueline Terrado – Tayug, Pangasinan
  6. Melanie Rodriguera – Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan
  7. Elmer Cezar – Bani, Pangasinan
  8. Mildred Bulong – Batac City, Ilocos Norte
  9. Merlie Ebanculla – San Quintin, Pangasinan
  10. Amerlyn Pardico – Asingan, Pangasinan
  11. Betty Pacusan – Pozorrubio, Pangasinan
  12. Maribel Ramos – Bayambang, Pangasinan
  13. Gener de Guzman – Alcala, Pangasinan
  14. Orlando Luingay – Labrador, Pangasinan
  15. Jeremias Esteves – Manaoag, Pangasinan
  16. Rosie Cudiamat – Urdaneta City, Pangasinan
  17. Vima Macabiog – Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
  18. Marilyn Rosario – San Fabian, Pangasinan

As top honor, Ms. Morales received from ATI a medal, certificate and cash award amounting to Php5,000. The remaining top performers also received from ATI a medal and a certificate of recognition.

Of the 24 participating LGUs in the SOA, the municipality of Manaoag garnered the most number of graduate-enrollees with a total of 297 finishers in the course followed by the city of Laoag with 258 graduates.

In her pre-recorded message during the graduation rites as the Guest of Honor and Speaker, ATI Director, Ms. Remelyn Recoter lauded the graduates for actively and patiently taking part in the SOA-SRA to learn and upgrade their knowledge in innovative rice farming.

She likewise thanked the DA and ATI for bringing closer to the farmers vital information which did not only focused on production but covered the value chain process providing lectures on entrepreneurship, marketing, value-adding, mechanization, among others.

Dr. Annie Bares, OIC-Regional Executive Director of DA-RFO I in her pre-recorded message encouraged the farmer-graduates to maximize the benefits of the learnings that they have acquired in the SOA for them to become better producers and progressive agri-preneurs and encouraged them to share the information that they have acquired to other farmers for their cohesive and collective growth and development.

The SOA-SRA is DA’s response for the need to improve rice productivity in municipalities where rice yield are at 4t/ha which comprises of where most of the farmer-enrollees were draw out as part of the guidelines of the program.

With the first batch of 3,164 SOA-SRA graduates from the pilot season, and the second batch of 2,122 who just graduated, the program was now able to empower a total of 5,286 rice farmers in Ilocos Region.###