In celebration of the National Women’s Month, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) recognizes its second batch of Women of the Week.


National Sectoral Committee (NSC) Women of the Week

NSC on Fruits and Vegetables member Virginia dela Fuente’s passion lies with Filipino mango farmers. Ma’am Virgie championed their cause, addressing issues like fluctuating production, high input costs, and fierce export competition. Recognizing the importance of quality and yield, she actively promoted best practices like pruning and fertilization, empowering farmers for greater success. 

But Ma’am Virgie’s vision extended beyond the farm. She actively participated in international events like the Philippine Mango Industry Investment Promotion Forum, putting Philippine mangoes on the global map. Understanding the need for empowered farmers, she also supported initiatives like “mango tourism” festivals. These festivals connected farmers directly with consumers, boosting their livelihoods and potentially increasing profits.

Virginia dela Fuente’s leadership, advocacy, and focus on empowering farmers have all played a significant role in the growth and sustainability of the Philippine mango industry.

Recognizing the vital role women play in coffee production and processing, National Sectoral Committee on Coffee and Cacao member Ruth Novales has been a strong advocate for women’s empowerment in the industry. By dismantling gender barriers and championing equality, she has empowered women to become leaders and entrepreneurs in their own right, fueling both positive social change and economic growth. Her steadfast commitment to moral behavior, protecting the environment, and empowering communities is an example to all those involved in the coffee value chain.

NSC on Fiber Crops member Dr. Aurora Peralta plays a crucial part in shaping policies and initiatives that benefit abaca farmers in the fiber crops industry. Her advocacy for gender-responsive programs has resulted in valuable improvements, including better access to resources, training, and market opportunities for female farmers throughout the Philippines.  Her expertise and dedication have greatly influenced the development of the fiber crops sector. Doc Au, as she is fondly called, previously served as the Chief of the Fiber Utilization and Technology Division and Deputy Executive Director of the Fiber Industry Development Authority

NSC on Corn and Feed Crops member Ruby Eduarte is a passionate advocate for crop productivity. She champions soil health through regenerative agriculture practices as the key to a thriving Philippine agriculture. Her affiliations with CropLife Philippines, Philippine Seeds Industry Association, and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines demonstrate her commitment to these goals on a national and international scale.

Eduarte’s influence goes beyond advocacy. She actively shapes the future of Philippine agriculture through relevant policy reforms evidenced by her expertise which were instrumental in the review of the Yellow Corn Industry Roadmap 2021-2040, a significant document outlining key strategies and proposed changes for the corn and feed crops industry. This involvement highlights her dedication to strengthen the agriculture value chain, supported by a robust and forward-thinking policy framework.

NSC on Fisheries and Aquaculture member Amparo Miciano Sykioco is the National Coordinator of the National Rural Women Coalition/Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) and Vice Chairperson of the National Sectoral Committee on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. She is also a regular member of the, Rice and Other Food Staples, and Climate Change, Environment, and Natural Resources.

A champion of rural women and indigenous peoples’ rights, she is a stalwart member of the Philippine delegation to the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a multinational body dedicated to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. She is also an advocate for efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and a staunch critic of destructive mining practices.

NSC on Coconut member Marietta N. Tamondong is the Executive Director of the Philippine Association of Small Coconut Farmers Organization, and the Treasurer of Confederation of Coconut Farmers’ Organization of the Philippines. Ka Mayette has been involved in the education, organization and mobilization of coconut farmers organizations at all levels.

Ka Mayette, along with her colleagues, have been instrumental in showing their strong support for the coconut industry during the ongoing review of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (RA 11524). By actively participating in the review process, Ka Mayette is advocating for provisions within the law that will directly benefit coconut farmers, such as ensuring fair pricing for their produce or allocating resources for improved farming techniques. Her dedication highlights the crucial role that passionate individuals can play in shaping policies that affect entire agricultural sectors.

NSC on Fisheries and Aquaculture member Imelda Madarang, the CEO of Fisher Farms, is a true embodiment of transformational leadership, integrity, and excellence.  Her extensive experience in the aquaculture industry, coupled with her vast skills and knowledge, has made her the perfect person to lead Fisher Farms, the largest supplier of farm-raised seafood in the Philippines, to success. Madarang is also Vice-Chair for Fisheries in the Philippine Export Development Council.

Her recent participation at the Dubai World Trade Center, a largest food exhibition, exemplifies her commitment to achieving excellence, quality and continuous innovation for a more sustainable Philippine agri-fishery industry.


NSC on Rice member Rowena Del Rosario-Sadicon is a prominent figure in the Philippine rice industry, serving as the founder of the Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement (PRISM). PRISM, under Ms. Del Rosario-Sadicon’s leadership, plays a pivotal role in fostering the development of a robust and sustainable rice industry in the Philippines. 

As the CEO of Victor Del Rosario Rice Mill Corp and Silverice Trading Corp, she possesses extensive experience and expertise in the rice trade sector. Her multifaceted roles as an entrepreneur, advocate, and educator reflect her dedication to advancing the interests of stakeholders within the rice industry.

NSC on Poultry and Livestock member Cecille Aldueza-Virtucio is a Program Leader that spearheaded the development of the Philippines Egg Industry Plan 365, a national program, and the Batangas Agriculture and Cooperative Development Plan as a local program. Cecille diligently works with different private stakeholders, Local Government Unit, Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council, and various government agencies, to push for the development of the layer chicken and egg industry. Her strength lies in mobilizing people to meet agreed objectives and overcome challenges. She led the transformation of BEPCO into an egg innovation hub as its leader for the past seven (7) years.

Cecille believes that planting hope and a positive mindset will boost the development of Philippine Agriculture where the public sector, private stakeholders and communities work together.


Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC) Women of the Week

RAFC Coffee Sectoral Representative Rebecca Gacayan empowers women through her “Edible Gardening” project, providing income and nutritious food for families. She also advocates for increased coffee production (“Carpet the Mountain with Coffee”) to support farmers.  She holds leadership positions in coffee associations, promoting better farming practices and encouraging local processing and sales. 

A trailblazer RAFC Central Visayas Chairperson Grace Jagmoc-Cenas became the first female Chairperson of the RAFC Central Visayas, driving strategic planning and crafting its vision and mission. During her government service, she was instrumental in the establishment of dairy farms in Cebu and later established her own farm, promoting organic agriculture. Committed to social causes, she leads the Philippine Inno-Ventures Agriculture Cooperative (PIVAC) and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Alternatives for Women Center, Inc. (LAW Center, Inc), an NGO that caters on gender concerns.

Leading the Liwanag ng Buhay Fisherfolks Association, MAFC Cabangan, Zambales Chairperson Angelina Raz tackles every aspect of the trade: catching, processing, and selling fish and other seafood. Her business, Agrilina Dried Fish, sustains her family and employs AFC members while her involvement in KADIWA markets expands her reach.

RAFC Youth Sectoral Committee Chairperson Christine Clare Arcenal-Piloton champions agricultural development and youth leadership. Her dedication is evident through various initiatives and roles. Passionate about food security and supporting young Filipino farmers, she has led the Young Farmers Challenge Club (YFCI) since 2022. Under her guidance, YFCI fosters collaboration, knowledge exchange, and policy changes that empower young agricultural entrepreneurs to ensure food security.

HUCAFC Lucena City Chairperson and RAFC CALABARZON Livestock Sectoral Chairperson Virginia Ronquillo was a former OFW who came back to the country to pursue hog raising and urban agriculture. Motivated to ensure the success of her enterprise, she diligently took numerous courses relevant to hog raising at the International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ITCPH) and the Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI). Her earnest efforts in swine raising and sharing best practices to other local swine raisers led to her being recognized as one of the ITCPH’s Outstanding Awardees for the year 2020.

RAFC Youth Sectoral Committee Chairperson Veberly Uyaan’s dedication extends beyond the RAFC. She established Vel Sierra Integrated Farm, a model for sustainable and innovative mushroom cultivation. Her farm not only produces high-quality crops but also prioritizes environmental responsibility.

Recognizing the power of knowledge sharing, she empowers women and young farmers through extensive training programs. These initiatives have equipped countless individuals to launch their own mushroom farming ventures, promoting both economic growth and agricultural sustainability.

Ms. Uyaan’s numerous accolades, including Young Farmers Challenge Program, and recognition as a leading agri-entrepreneur–including Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs 2023- National MSME Summit, Outstanding Agri-entreprenuer 2023- Province of La Union and Regional Winner of UPSCALE Competition Young Farmers Challenge Program–further solidify her exceptional contributions. As a successful female entrepreneur, she dismantles barriers and inspires countless women to pursue their agricultural aspirations. Her achievements pave the way for a more robust and sustainable agricultural future.


Under the term of MAFC San Miguel, Catanduanes Chairperson Sonia Padilla, San Miguel was the first LGU in the province of Catanduanes to institutionalize the Farmers’ and Volunteers’ Day Celebration. She is the President of Buhi Integrated Farmers Association wherein most members are women. Padilla also promotes urban gardening with readily available resources. She advocates using idle land and even repurposed containers like plastic bottles to grow vegetables, maximizing space and utilizing recyclables. Furthermore, she introduced planting malunggay as a fencing solution, promoting a sustainable approach that combats malnutrition by providing access to nutritious vegetables.

Being part of the AFC for almost 10 years, RAFC Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectoral Chairperson Martha Cadano has become a strong leader and advocate, especially in working to improve coastal communities and the fishery industry in general. Beyond her role in the AFC, she also serves as the Board Chairperson of AKSA Victoria Multi-Purpose Cooperative, helping members with economic empowerment and social unity. Additionally, she serves as the IFARMC Chairperson in the San Bernardino LGU Alliance in Northern Samar.

She is also actively engaged in regional and national initiatives. As a Technical Working Group Member of Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) 7 under BFAR Bicol Region, she focuses on the creation of policies for the conservation of the specific species abundance commonly known as tamban or sardines. Moreover, her role as a Council Member for Eastern Visayas in the National Anti-Poverty Commission representing the Artisanal Fisherfolk Sector Council, one of the basic sectors of NAPC, promotes sustainable fishing practices and ensures that these small-scale, traditional fishers are heard in decision-making processes.


RAFC Cagayan Valley Sectoral Committee Chairperson on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion AFC Divina Reliera has provided valuable assistance to women-led associations such as the Victoria Ifugao Farmers Association and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Incorporation, helping them achieve RCEF and DA-CSO accreditation.These associations gained access to production inputs and fertilizers through the Corn Production Enhancement Program (CPEP). Additionally, her voluntary efforts led to the establishment of ube production and processing for these associations, further enhancing their economic opportunities.

Reliera has also played a crucial role in assisting corn and rice farmers in ensuring their crops through the PCIC. Furthermore, she has helped fishpond owners register with BFAR at the barangay level. Reliera also took the initiative to craft a resolution requesting the construction of a Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) connecting two barangays in Aglipay, Quirino.


PAFC Mountain Province Sectoral Chairperson on Women, Edna Bendadan, is a jack-of-all-trades women representative in different sectors of the agriculture and tourism industry. Despite a niche market, her locally produced heirloom rice wine, muscovado sugar, and Arabica coffee reach various customers. She leverages tourism in Sagada, promoting her farm-grown and processed products to tourists she guides. Her efforts exemplify how AgriTourism fosters product diversification and rural development.


To address rice affordability, Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council (MAFC) of Pulupandan, Negros Occidental Chairperson Herly Tumalaytay launched a program selling rice at P25 per kilo, limited to 3 kilos per person. This initiative prioritizes providing affordable rice to vulnerable groups like seniors, indigents, and PWDs. Additionally, it aims to support farmers in Pulupandan by providing them with assured income, lowering costs, and improving farm production.

His involvement in diverse activities reflects a strong commitment to community development, sustainability, and empowerment, spanning various sectors and initiatives within my locality.



From her beginnings as Rural Improvement Club (RIC) President in 1998 at Barangay Isugod, Quezon Palawan, PAFC Auditor and Fisheries Sectoral Committee Chairperson Mardy Montaño rose into one of the pillars of volunteerism in the field of Fisheries. Montaño has been actively involved in seaweed farming, specifically in promoting value addition. 

Presently, she is the President of Cherish Fisherfolk Association, President of Cherish Fisherfolk Fishermen Cooperative, VAWC Focal Person, MFARMC Secretary, MAFC Chairman, PAFC Auditor, and Sectoral Committee on Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Owing to her ability to build connections and render quality results, her organization gained numerous projects amounting to million in peso, including a seaweed post harvest facility awarded by LGU Quezon.


PCAF Women of the Week

Juggling a massive workload is no small feat, yet Ahbel Milanes of the Policy Development and Coordination Division supervises 6 out of 13 PCAF National Sectoral Committees. Her remarkable time management skills are evident in her active participation in numerous PCAF’s internal committees and initiatives.

As section chief, her leadership goes beyond mere efficiency. Milanes genuinely cares about her team’s well-being, both inside and outside of work. She’s not just a supervisor – she’s a mother and a teammate. Her open-door policy and constant availability, day or night, demonstrate a deep commitment to her work.

Her dedication extends beyond the workday. Ahbel’s willingness to work extra hours and take on additional responsibilities highlights her tireless spirit and unwavering passion. She is a true asset, a dedicated leader who empowers her team, proving that effective leadership is built on both competence and compassion.


Rachel Macaisa

She has a loving and compassionate nature, indicative of a mother figure in the office. Regardless of her age, she exudes warmth and friendliness, instilling a sense of belonging and camaraderie in her colleagues. Her compassionate disposition goes beyond just professionalism; she actually cares about the well-being of those around her. Younger colleagues frequently seek her advice, valuing her mentorship and the breadth of knowledge she offers to varied circumstances.

Truly, she is an invaluable asset to her colleagues and the organization’s kindest.


Described as the epitome of an empowered woman, Joanna Roque Bandojo is hard-working, approachable, dependable, and constantly exhibits a cheerful disposition to her co-workers.


The recipient of last year’s Executive Director Award at the inaugural PCAF Gawad Parangal, Jezebel Campaniel’s unparalleled dedication, innovativeness, and passion for her work makes her one of the agency’s top assets. She is proof that there is nothing impossible with the right amount of work and will.