Camarines Sur Farmer Bags 2011 Rural Women Award
Five exceptional women were awarded as Most Outstanding Rural Women by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and other members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Rural Women on October 14 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management in Quezon City.
Myrna Conmigo-Acayen, 54, an integrated organic farmer from Goa, Camarines Sur emerged as the national winner. She is a farmer-trainor of MASIPAG NGO on Diversified and Integrated Farming System. She has also been growing rice and vegetables following the natural farming principles. Though she wasn’t able to finish high school and got widowed twice, Acayen was able to provide for her children’s needs through hard work and dedication. She received 50,000 cash prize and citation from the DA Gender and Development Focal System and the Inter-Agency Committee on Rural Women.
“Bilang isang babaeng lider sa aming nayon, ikinagagalak kong sabihin na tuloy-tuloy ang aming gawain gaya ng uri ng pagsasaka na hindi nakakasira sa kapaligiran… upang tugunan ang food security,” Acayen said.
Moreover, Acayen urged her fellow farmers to recognize the equal rights of women and men farmers, and to embrace sustainable agriculture. “Magtulong-tulong tayo sa gawaing pagsasaka. Tayo ang nakakatulong na mag-produce ng pagkain ng ating bayan,” she said.
The other winners are (1st to 4th runners up): Remia Navarro-Apostol (Koronadal, South Cotabato); Rebecca Castro-Tubongbanua (Buenavista, Guimaras); Marina Tumala-Inapan (San Juan, Siquijor); and Virginia Dentero-Dureza (Brookespoint, Palawan). They also received corresponding cash prizes and citations.
PCW Chairperson Remedios Rikken in her message said, “Ang 2011 Rural Women’s Day ay isang pagdiriwang, paggunita, pagtatangi at pagbibigay pugay sa mga itinatangi naming kababaihan sa kanayunan. Ang inyong gawain ay tumutulong upang dagdagan ang produksyon ng pagkain. Higit pa sa parangal ngayon ang katumbas ng inyong kontribusyon sa ating lipunan.’’
DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala recognized that rural women are not just ‘helpers’ of their farmer- or fisher husbands. Instead, rural women are also the decision makers in looking for capital, selecting the crops, record keeping of finances, and paying of debts.
“Kayo ang magiging matibay na kasama sa paglaban sa kahirapan. Malaki po ang magagawa niyo sa ating hangarin na makapag-ani ng sapat na bigas. Umaasa ako na hindi kayo magsasawa sa pagbabahagi ng inyong kaalaman,” Alcala said. The search is part of the annual observance of the ‘International Day of Rural Women,’ held every October 15th, to highlight their critical role in food production and food security. This year’s theme is “Celebrating the role of rural women in sustainable food production.”
The search aims to recognize rural women who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and made outstanding accomplishments in developing the agriculture and fishery sector, and making significant impact on the lives of rural folk in their respective communities.
“Sa patnubay po ng RA 9710 o Magna Carta of Women, amin pong pagiibayuhin ang gender mainstreaming. Ipagpapatuloy namin ang pagkilatis ng aming programs, projects, at activities upang mabigyan ng access ang mga kababaihan,” Alcala said.