Philippines Graphic contributing writer Henrylito D. Tacio bagged twin honors at the recently concluded Binhi Awards of the Philippine Agricultural Journalists (PAJ).
The annual awards, held this year at the Makati Diamond Residences and mounted in cooperation with San Miguel Corporation (SMC), gave awards of distinction for communication efforts in agriculture, agrarian reform, and the environment.
Tacio won the Climate Change Story of the Year for his feature, “The Cost of Climate Change,” published in the Philippines Graphic on September 11, 2017.
Also considered were Tacio’s stories which also came out last year in the Graphic: “What we can do in the face of climate change” (August 7) and “Toward a safer Mindanao and more resilient Mindanao” (September 4).
The Davao-based writer also won a second trophy for being one of the country’s top three environmental journalists for 2017, the second time he received the distinction.
Aside from the Graphic, Tacio’s environmental features also got published in Edge Davao, a regional paper.
A perennial winner of the Binhi Awards, Tacio also won awards of distinction in the following years—1994 (Countryside Agricultural Journalist), 1996 (Countryside Agricultural/Environmental Journalist), 2015 (Best Environment Story), 2016 (One of top three agricultural journalists).
Noel Reyes, PAJ vice president for internal affairs and 2017 PAJ-SMC Binhi Awards Committee chairman, said more than 150 journalists and institutions from all over the country joined the contest this year.
The board of judges of the 2017 search was headed by Dr. Crispin Maslog, a consultant at the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication.
“I am inspired by how our younger generation of agricultural journalists are dealing with the agricultural and environmental issues of our time – exposing the rape of Mother Earth by mining, pollution of our seas, flooding of our cities, ravaging our coral reefs and mangrove swamps, overfishing, disappearance of our farms, poverty of our farmers and fisher folks, climate change, among many others,” Maslog said.
“But at the same time, these agricultural journalists have given us reasons to hope that we can overcome with enterprise, wisdom, expertise and determination,” he added.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who was the awarding ceremony’s guest speaker, urged the audience to use the pen “as a weapon for fighting poverty and achieving rural progress.”
Piñol urged agricultural writers, particularly the winners, not to be complacent and rest on their laurels. “Evidently, the battle is far from won,” he reminded. “Agriculture continues to confront overwhelming challenges from persistent rural poverty, liberalized global trade and climate change.”
He said that his department is trying its best to address the challenges. “But we know that to win these battles, we have to have the press as partners,” the agriculture secretary pointed out.G