THE Baguio Chronicle continues its winning ways, this time with two awards from The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards.
Frank Cimatu , editor of the weekly newspaper, won two awards in the prestigious media contest for local and national writers, photojournalists, and broadcasters.
His story on tomato dumping entitled “How Not to Get Dumped in February”, serialized last February and March, won for the Best Agriculture Feature Story, Regional.
His story on tobacco and its potential to create a COVID-19 vaccine entitled “Philippine tobacco industry may also produce our first aid COVID-19 Vaccine,” is this year’s winner for the Best Story in Tobacco Product Alternatives.
This is his third award from the Bright Leaf.
Marilou Guieb, also an editor of Baguio Chronicle, has also won three Bright Leaf awards in the past.
Chronicle’s photojournalists, Andy Zapata Jr. and Mau Victa, were the first two to be included in the Hall of Fame after having been awarded the Oriental Leaf Award for garnering five awards in the past 14 years.
Former Chronicle reporters, Karlston Lapniten and Ofelia Empian, were also Bright Leaf awardees for their stories published at the Baguio Chronicle weekly paper .
This year, Baguio-based radio broadcaster Rose Malekchan of DZWT 540 Radyo Totoo, was named winner of Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment for her piece “Polig Family Propagates Wild Berries, in the Kumpletos Rekados program.
The announcement was held last July 28, in the first-ever virtual ceremony hosted by veteran host James Deakin, the winners of the 14th Bright Leaf Awards were announced.
What started out with less than a hundred entries during its inaugural year has evolved into thousands of entries scrutinized by top-caliber judges looking for the best outputs agriculture journalism has to offer for the year. More than 600 entries competed for the chance to be called the best of the best in this annual competition that honors excellent stories and photos that are published, aired, or broadcasted in print, radio, TV. Entries online were also included in this year’s search for best agricultural pieces.
“This year’s theme, ‘Reimagining our tomorrow’ is very apt for us, at PMFTC and the Bright Leaf community. Our agility to adapt and pivot were tested in this unprecedented global crisis,” said PMFTC President Denis Gorkun.
The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards continues to acknowledge the efforts of the Filipino journalists who painstakingly cover important issues to place one of the most important industries in the spotlight.
The Bright Leaf Awards aims to uplift the agriculture industry by honoring the journalists who bring to the fore the issues of the agriculture workers to the general public best summed up by PMFTC Communications Director Dave Gomez, “Your stories are the stories that matter to us. Your eyes are our window to our farmers’ plight. Your masterpieces are a reminder of the industry concerns we should pay attention to.A truly relevant endeavor that will continue in the years to come.”
Prioritizing health and safety this year, the media professionals were updated online regarding the awards instead of the traditional face-to-face caravan events. Journalists from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including Metro Manila-based, joined the virtual roadshows via Facebook Live or the Zoom platform.
This only cemented the words spoken by the chairman of the board of judges, Krip Yuson, “It is during these times of uncertainty and despair when our desire for creativity is on fire.”
Aside from returning judges former Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) columnist Rina Jimenez-David; UST Assistant Director for Creative Writing Ralph Gallan; advertising and fashion photographer Francis Abraham; columnist Albert Gamboa; PDI columnist Jake Maderazo; UP professor for Creative Writing Isabelita Reyes, Business Mirror digital content manager Ed Sallan and PDI Inquirer photo editor Rem Zamora – new faces included Editor in Chief of Agriculture Monthly Magazine and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Section Editor Yvette Tan, and Managing Editor for Philstar.com Kristine Bersamina.
With the high calibre of entries, the judges had a difficult time choosing all the winners. Ultimately, Louise Maureen Simeon of the Philippine Star brought home the Agriculture Story of the Year with her piece, “A year into tariffication, farmers feel worse off”
For the Tobacco Story of the Year award, Business Mirror’s Cai Ordinario was judged the winner for her article “Gold leaf farming sector still searching for its own El Dorado” which tackles the country’s tobacco farm industry. She also won the award for the Best Agriculture News Story, National for a piece that details how our farmers were affected by the rice trade liberalization law, entitled “Pre- and Post-Rice Trade liberalization law, big traders gaming farmer groups”
For Tobacco Photo of the Year, Wilfredo Lomibao of Sunday Punch (Dagupan) and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, once again, claimed his trophy for “Ocean of Gold Leaves” which depicts a farmer drying tobacco leaves in Alcala, Pangasinan.
Business Mirror’s Erwin Mascariñas was named the winner for Agriculture Photo of the Year for “Fish Drying”, a photo that shows cardinal fish being dried on Halian Island in Surigao del Norte.
GMA Channel 7 blocktimer program Agriprenuer bagged Best Agriculture TV Program or Segment, for their segment “Agriculture Technical Institute, from arms to farms” produced by Team MMPI.
Karl Angelica R. Ocampo received the prize for Best Agriculture Feature Story, National for her work on the news story “MovefoodPH serves needs of both food producers, consumers” which talks about an initiative the provides an online avenue for local food producers.
The Best Agriculture News Story Regional went to Erwin Nicavera of Sunstar Bacolod for his piece “Urban Farming Gaining Ground Amid Pandemic,” which discussed how urban farming can help one become self-sufficient
The Best Online Story award, a fairly new category that was instituted only in 2018 received many submissions. Vina Medenilla of www.agriculture.com.ph of Manila Bulletin wins in this category, for her story that illustrates how agriculture tourism transformed idle land into a productive and sustainable enterprise for its community.
This year’s awards also included an Oriental Leaf Award winner, Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas.
He has won five Bright Leaf Awards in various categories throughout the years. He now joins the prestigious Bright Leaf Hall of Fame with other previous outstanding awardees.