by Myleen Subang

A total of 300 farmers from Iloilo province graduated from the School-on-the Air (SOA) Program focused on corn production at Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESVIARC) in Jaro, Iloilo City on Sept. 24.

The SOA is conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS), aired over DYRI-RMN at 3:30-4:00 a.m. every Tuesday to Friday from May to July 2019.

It aims to increase the production in the region as the crop is one of the major agricultural commodity in the country used as food and animal feeds

“Corn is one of the commodities that posted a good performance in our region. Western Visayas is among the top six corn producing regions and contributed four percent to the national production,” shared DA regional executive director Remelyn Recoter.

However, Director Recoter mentioned that the region is still insufficient in terms of yellow corn production as feed requirement for livestocks.

“Region 6 is only 38 percent sufficient for yellow corn production and the livestock industry has a great need for the crop that will be used as animal feeds, considering that 89 percent of the livestock production comes from the backyard raisers,” cited by Dir. Recoter.

After conferring the farmer-graduates, she lauded the farmers for rising early to listen to the ‘eskwelahan sa kahanginan’ to know about the department’a programs, projects as well as the latest agricultural technologies.

She also encouraged the farmers to continue supporting DA’s SOA programs.

The three-month program discussed the various aspects in corn production hosted by Regional Information Officer (RIO) James Earl Ogatis.

DA-Corn Program focal person Charmae Antipatia; Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas (SCOPSA) Coordinator Rey Ginene; RCPC Chief, Ryan Rasgo and Clarence Jereza of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) were among the resource persons on the topics on corn production, pests and diseases management and insurance program.

According to RIO Ogatis, the SOA enrollees were assessed through quizzes and those who have satisfactorily completed the requirements were confirmed as graduates.

Of the 300 graduates, 10 farmers turned up as the outstanding graduates, namely:

1. Jay Ann Biscay, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo
2. Leopoldo Manulat, Oton, Iloilo
3. Danilo Niervo, New Lucena, Iloilo
4. Crisle Ann Martinez, New Lucena, Iloilo
5. Mary Grace Pueyo, Passi City, Iloilo
6. Ofelia Villalobos, Dingle, Iloilo
7. Virginia Suarez, Sta. Barbara, Iloilo
8. Doana Grace Pamillo, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo
9. Gina Bronda, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo
10. Shirley Gardoce, San Enrique, Iloilo

Also, Myrna Reyes of Passi City; Rocelin Sotomil of Oton; Maria Lisa Mayandia of New Lucena; Lynie Valencia of Dingle, and Norberto Gonzales, Jr. of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo were also awarded as Outstanding SOA Coordinators.

Each outstanding graduates and Coordinators received a Certificate of Recognition, Knapsack Sprayer, Corn Sheller, spade and machete as their prize.

On the other hand, the graduates received a Certificate of Completion, spade or machete as token for actively participating to the on-air program. Participating municipalities include the towns of Sta. Barbara, New Lucena, Cabatuan, Oton, Passi City, San Enrique and Barotac Viejo.