By Niño Manaog, Capiz State University
and Sally Villasis, Aklan State University
In the Regional Techno Gabay Program (RTGP)-Regional Applied Communications Group (RACG) 4th Quarter Meetings and Annual Report Writeshop held on December 7–8, 2011 at the Aklan State University (ASU) in Banga, Aklan, members of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) capped 2011 by way of heartfelt tributes and presentations of achievements in the various endeavors of its members.
WESVARRDEC "rebounds" up the PCAARRD list
Before some 120 consortium members composed of partner member agencies (PMA) representatives, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) and personnel of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) centers, WESVARRDEC Director Joseph Edward Idemne took pride in announcing the overall rank of the consortium for the Ugnay 2012, a biannual selection of the best consortia across the country by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).
For the period in review, WESVARRDEC posted 90.85%, ranking sixth among all the consortia nationwide. According to Idemne, since 2007, WESVARRDEC has performed consistently well in the R&D management and utilization, which is attributed to the cooperation and active participation fostered between and among the consortium member agencies. Idemne credited the accomplishment to the full support of the partner member agencies to the activities of the Techno Gabay members, particularly the MSs and the FITS Centers from across the region.
Highlights of the gathering were the tribute to the two outgoing coordinators of WESVARRDEC, namely: ASU’s Dr. Anna Mae Relingo, RTGP Coordinator and Capiz State University’s Dr. Cora F. Navarra, RACG Coordinator.
In the December 7 Fellowship Night at the ASU Review Center led by RTGP Staff Nicolas Banquero and Administrative Officer Suzette Peñaredondo, Dr. Relingo and Dr. Navarra were hosted to a night of speeches, songs and revelry.
An emotional letter from RACG Representative Vishia Mae Tolcidas of FITS OPA Negros Occidental who is now based in the United States was read by fellow representative Helen Bignayan of the Bureau of Plant Industry - National Mango Research and Development Center (BPI-NMRDC). For Tolcidas, she virtually has not left WESVARRDEC; her learnings from working with Navarra and the RACG will remain with her. Her skills gained and her performance only made her a better person, a sentiment likewise shared by Judy Bulquiren, manager of FITS OPA Guimaras.
Meanwhile, former RACG Staff Nino Manaog, who worked with Navarra for two years, also shared how Dr. Navarra drew out his potentials and those of other RACG members and inspired in them the passion to serve the consortium.
In a speech, MS Rebecca Tubongbanua of FITS OPA Guimaras shared on her commercial success in the mango processing industry and credits it to the collective efforts of the consortium. Tubongbanua cited Navarra’s “motherly” efforts to help her promote the mango processed technology and products in various means and instances. According to Tubongbanua, the published materials, press releases and the various exposures that WESVARRDEC has facilitated for her have all contributed to “what she is now,” a successful mango processor reaping awards here and there and enjoying a profitable business that also provides livelihood to women in the countryside.
In response, Navarra expressed gratefulness to the opportunity offered by the RACG for her personal and professional growth. She also singled out that consortium work is indeed a personal commitment insofar as it is not about finding the faults in other people’s work” but rather drawing out the strengths of the members that can best serve the consortium and the the rest of the community. Likewise, Navarra stressed on placing importance on the service to the target clientele which she considers the essence of consortium work.
Growth and Learning in WESVARRDEC
After RTGP Staff Nick Banquero shared on the years of activities and learnings with the RTGP, Dr. Reynaldo Dusaran, TG Team Leader of the Central Philippine University and Rhodora Lapastora of the West Visayas State University also paid tribute to Dr. Anna Mae Relingo.
According to Dusaran, the Techno Gabay achievement has been notable because of the active participation and leadership of Dr. Relingo. Lapastora likewise cited how the partner member agencies are made aware of their responsibilities for the Techno Gabay interventions to the FITS Centers. For her part, Dr. Clyde Abayon, TG team leader of ASU, shared to the audience "Christ's Bell," a poem given to her by Dr. Relingo, few years back.
Meanwhile, MS Norberto Ceballos of Maasin FITS Center also expressed his gratitude to the WESVARRDEC’s interventions through which he was granted two Science and Technology Based-Farms (STBF) projects by PCAARRD. For Ceballos, these projects have benefited not only himself but also a big number of constituents in the said locality.
For her part, Relingo imparted on her growth and achievement for four years in her capacity as the RTG coordinator. During the time, Relingo said her learnings are invaluable as she was taught a number of lessons and was inspired by most members of the consortium who continue to do their work for the service of the community.
After the speeches and special numbers, the WESVARRDEC staff also rendered a heartwarming song number for the two honorees. The fellowship night also featured group games, videoke singing contests and prizes.
Showcase of Products
Prizes given to winners consisted of products donated by a number of FITS Centers from across Western Visayas. These items included the mango processed products of MS Rebecca Tubongbanua from Guimaras and ginger ale powder from Libertad in Antique. Other prizes given included vermicast and vegetables from Numancia; bariw products from Nabas; coconut food products from Ibajay; puto tostado and vegetables from Altavas, all of Aklan; and balut from Lemery in Iloilo; pineapple wine from Passi City; and bamboo charcoal and bamboo products from Maasin, all from Iloilo.