Photo shows DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban (3rd from right) poses with the AFC Bicol Region team led by this year’s Outstanding RAFC Chairperson Bernadette Delos Santos (4th from left) and Outstanding National Committee Chairperson awardee NBPC on Poultry, Livestock, and Corn Chairperson Dr. Arnulfo Frontuna (2nd from right). PCAF Executive Director Nestor Domenden (4th from right), PCAF OIC Deputy Executive Director Julieta Opulencia (6th from right), and Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency Executive Director Donald James Gawe (utmost right) also joined the awarding.


The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), the policy-making and advisory arm of the Department of Agriculture (DA), recognized the contributions of its volunteer partners from the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs) at the national, regional and local levels during the 8th National Agriculture and Fisheries Volunteers’ Day (NVD) celebration on December 13, 2022. 

More than 100 delegates from the regional and local AFCs and the National Banner and Other Priority Program Committees (NBPC/OPPCs) attended the activity in Malate, Manila.

With the theme “Volunteers: Spark Hope, Create Solutions, and Respond to Challenges,” the annual event celebrates the volunteer partners’ commitment to helping the Department modernize and industrialize the country’s value chains and uplifting the lives of rural people through relevant and responsive policies geared towards improving their livelihood and increasing their incomes. 

PCAF Executive Director Nestor Domenden expressed his gratitude to its volunteer partners in his opening message. “In my early days in PCAF, I mentioned in one of my interviews that volunteerism is heroism. This is because all of you here today, do not only commit your knowledge and skills but also your health, time and efforts, which are the most valuable resources of all,” ED Domenden added.


In his keynote speech, Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban acknowledged the vital role of the AFCs, NBPCs, and OPPCs as partners of the Department of Agriculture.

“They have been there to help us—from the cascading of DA programs, the National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan, and the Commodity Industry Roadmaps, as well as price monitoring of agri-fishery inputs and commodities, down to aiding farmers and fishers affected by calamities,” Senior Undersecretary Panganiban said. 

(Left to right) Dr. Ernesto Ordoñez, Adelberto Baniqued representing RAFC Chair person Leonardo Caparida, Minda Perocho representing RAFC Chairperson Angel Cervantes, Jr., PNVSCA Exec Dir Donald James Gawe, PCAF Exec. Dir. Nestor Domenden, PCAF OIC Deputy Exec. Dir. Julieta Opulencia, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, Hazel Tanchuling, Maria Belen Milanes representing Dr. Mary Ann Sayoc, Engr. Francisco Hernandez, Dante Tobias, and Engr. Miguel Pedroso.

The event’s highlights recognized the “Pillars of Agriculture and Fisheries” for their continued commitment and noteworthy contributions to developing and strengthening the Philippine agri-fishery sector:

  • Dante B. Tobias – Chairperson, Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) Cagayan Valley
  • Engr. Francisco A. Hernandez – Chairperson, RAFC Central Luzon
  • Engr. Miguel A. Pedroso – Chairperson, RAFC Eastern Visayas
  • Leonardo P. Caparida – Chairperson, RAFC Zamboanga Peninsula
  • Angel M. Cervantes, Jr. – Chairperson, RAFC SOCCSKSARGEN
  • Dr. Ernesto M. Ordoñez – Interim Chairperson, OPPC on International Trade
  • Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc – Chairperson, NBPC on High Value Crops (HVC)- Fruits and Vegetables
  • Hazel A. Tanchuling – Chairperson, NBPC on Rice

In recognition of their sterling performance this year, the following were conferred the “Changemaker of the Year Award”

  • Committee on Poultry, Livestock, and Corn
  • Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council, Bicol Region
  • Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) Camarines Norte
  • Municipal Agricultural and Fishery Council (MAFC) Talisay, Camarines Norte
  • RAFC Bicol Region

RAFC Ilocos Region- Sectoral Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization and PAFC Occidental Mindoro- Sectoral Committee on High Value Crops also received the “Outstanding Sectoral Committee Award” for their dedication to policy-making and their engagement of public and private sector partners.

PAFC Occidental Mindoro – Sectoral Committee on High-Value Crops also received the “Outstanding Sectoral Committee Award” for their dedication to policy-making and their engagement of public and private sector partners. 

Independent Component City Agricultural and Fishery Council (ICCAFC) Naga City-Sectoral Committee on High-Value Crops and ICCAFC Santiago City-Sectoral Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization were declared as the first and second runner-ups for the award, respectively.

The Committee on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion and the Committee on HVC Fiber Crops received the “Engagement Champion Award” in recognition of their outstanding efforts to foster inclusivity and diversity for the youth, women, and AFC sectoral representatives. The Committee on Coffee and Cacao was declared the first runner-up for the award.

The “Excellent Steward Award” was conferred to the Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Committee on Poultry, Livestock, and Corn for their timely efforts and contributions in raising awareness of major issues affecting the agri-fishery sector and in helping the DA secure greater transparency and accountability in its planning and implementation process. The Committee on HVC-Fruits and Vegetables received the first runner-up award. 

In recognition of the Committee on Agricultural & Fisheries Mechanization’s exemplary productivity towards resolving agricultural issues and concerns at the national level, they were presented the “Ultimate Contributor Award.” The Committee on Poultry, Livestock, and Corn was declared the first runner-up for the award. 

The following volunteer partners and government employees also received awards in recognition of their unselfish sharing of time, knowledge, and expertise, which contributed to their respective council’s outstanding performance this CY 2022:

  • Outstanding National Committee Chairperson Award

Dr. Arnulfo D. Frontuna – Chairperson, Committee on Poultry, Livestock, and Corn

  • Outstanding RAFC Chairperson Award

Ms. Bernadette B. Delos Santos – Chairperson, RAFC Bicol Region

  • Outstanding PAFC Chairperson Award

Mr. Benedicto A. Palmares – Chairperson, PAFC Camarines Norte

  • Outstanding MAFC Chairperson Award

Mr. Roberto E. Abierta – Chairperson, MAFC Talisay, Camarines Norte

  • Outstanding RAFC Executive Officer Award

Ms. Aloha Gigi I. Bañaria – RAFC Executive Officer, Bicol Region

  • Outstanding RAFC Secretariat-Coordinator Award

Ms. Gladys Regondola -Guzman- RAFC Secretariat-Coordinator, Bicol Region

  • Outstanding PAFC Secretariat-Coordinator Award

Ms. Melinda L. Jerez – PAFC Secretariat-Coordinator, Camarines Norte

  • Outstanding MAFC Secretariat-Coordinator Award

Ms. Lilian G. Maesa – MAFC Secretariat-Coordinator, Talisay, Camarines Norte

The awardees also received monetary incentives to support them in their advocacies and to help them in their future initiatives as volunteer-partners of PCAF.

In her closing message, PCAF OIC-Deputy Executive Director Julieta E. Opulencia reiterated PCAF’s commitment to upholding multi-stakeholder engagement, transparency, and accountability in the policy and program development processes of DA.

“Lagi pong handa ang PCAF na makinig sa inyong mga saloobin, at bukas din po ang aming pintuan sa lahat ng nasa industriya, gaano man kaliit o gaano man kahirap ang inyong pinagdaraanan,” PCAF OIC-Deputy Director Opulencia said. | SMA