Three Filipinos bagged the top three prizes besting 149 other entries from Southeast Asian countries in 2011 SEARCA Photo Contest.
The winners were announced on November 21 during the 45th anniversary celebration of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in Los Banos, Laguna.
Danilo O. Victoriano, Jr., a multi-awarded photographer, won the prize. The second prize went to Samuel De Leon, a freelance graphic artist and photographer, and third prize to Nenita V. Desamero, chief science research specialist at the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
Victoriano’s first prize-winning entry, shows a grower inspecting a lettuce plant grown in a greenhouse while a worker waits holds out a tray of other lettuce plants. It won for him US$500. He said his photo depicts a productive urban garden which was transformed from a vacant lot by homeowners of Twinville Subdivision in Marikina.
The second prize-winning image showing “methodical farming employed by strawberry farmers of the La Trinidad highlands in Benguet won Samuel De Leon a cash prize of US$300. Desamero’s photo of researchers working in a rice field won for her US$200 as third prize. She said the image is of participatory rice variety development.
A special award was given to Armin Hari of the Indonesian Society for Social Transformation (INSIST) for her photo depicting an old farmer checking the irrigation channel in his paddy field in the highlands of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Armin Hari cinched the People’s Choice Award as a result of online voting via Facebook. It bested 14 other finalists for the special award, including the top three prize-winning images. The Indonesian photographer received US$100.
Two Filipinos and nine other Southeast Asians received their scholarship certificates for the school year 2011-2012 from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Los Banos-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
The certificates were awarded during the DAAD-SEARCA scholarship ceremonial handover hel at SEARCA on November 22, 2011 which coincided with the week-long celebration of SEARCA’s 45th anniversary.
The Filipino DAAD-SEARCA scholars are Queenie Ann L. Curayag (PhD in food science and technology) and Rey B. Lara (MA in urban and regional planning) who are enrolled at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos (UPLB) and UP Diliman, respectively.
The other awardees include national of Indonesia (2), Myanmar (2), Thailand (1), Timor-Leste (4), and Vietnamese (2). Ten of them pursuing graduate programs at UPLB, while one is studying at Universiti Putra Malaysia in Selangor, Malaysia.
Ms. Natalie Lange, DAAD lecturer at UP Diliman, represented the Cultural Attache of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Jurgen Thomas Schrod. Also present were Philippine-based German academic staff Mr. Hening Bjoern Lange and Ms. Birte Petersen.
At present, the DAAD-SEARCA scholarship program has awarded a total of 332 graduate scholarships, and a number of these graduate alumni are now occupying leadership positions in various government and international institutions.
Meanwhile, two outstanding Filipino graduate alumni of SEARCA based here, were awarded the SEARCA Re-entry Program (REP) grant, which provides seed funds for their research projects.
Dr. Rusty G. Abanto, Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean of the Camarines Norte State College (CNSC) in Daet, Camarines Norte, received a grant for his project entitled “Modeling Ecological Solid-Waste Management” at the CNSC Labo Campus.
Also partially funded by CNSC and the Local Government of Labo, Abanto’s project aims to improve the solid-waste management system implemented in the school premises and shall model the ecological solid waste management as provided for in the RA 9003, otherwise known as Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
On the other hand, Ms. Aisa O. Manlosa, Instructor at the College of Arts and Sciences, Caraga State University (CSU) in Butuan City, is leading the study entitled “Flood Damage Assessment” at Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.
Manlosa’ research aims to characterize flood events in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte in terms of frequency, timing, depth and inundation time; identity and map the flood hazard zones in the municipality.
Both grantees are expected to finish their projects by the middle of 2012.
The REP gives opportunities to SEARCA alumni who have just completed their graduate programs to enable them to implement projects or start a p[rogram that would immediately make use of knowledge and skills gained during their graduate studies to benefit their institution and home country.
Launched in 2009, the REP provides financial support of up to a maximum of US$5,000 to selected project proposals from SEARCA scholars who are in their last semester of study or had been graduated for a year.
Dr. Saguiguit thanked the German government for its generous support and contributions to human development in this part of the world.
Philippine government-hosted SEARCA, headed by Dir. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., is the center for agriculture of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), of which the Philippines is a charter member. Ester Z. Gallardo, PSciJourn Mega Manila