• Celebrating milestones in agri and property sectors

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    J. ALBERT GAMBOA

    J. ALBERT GAMBOA

    It’s the time of the year when many organizations hold thanksgiving events to honor their stakeholders and award performers in their respective fields.

    Last month, the 10th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards were bestowed upon 10 entries to the country’s longest-running search for the most outstanding stories, photos and broadcast programs in the agricultural sector.

    “Aging Farmers” by Jujemay Awit, Cherry Ann Lim and Rianne Tecson of SunStar Cebu bagged the Agriculture Story of the Year award. The two-part special report discussed how farmers are getting older each year while the younger generation is turning its back on agriculture. It also examined efforts of the government and the academe to make farming a viable and sustainable option for young Filipinos.

    Photojournalist Erwin Mascarinas of SunStar Cagayan de Oro won the Agri Photo of the Year award for his entry titled, “Between Herons and Farming.”

    For the Best Agri News Story awards, Freddie Lazaro of the Manila Bulletin and Karlston Lapniten of the Baguio Chronicle received the prizes for the national and regional categories, respectively.

    Meanwhile, the Best Agri Features Story national and regional awards went to Rizaldy Comanda of the Manila Bulletin and Mary Grace Nidoy of PhilRice Magazine, respectively.

    In the field of broadcast media, the winner for the Best Agri Radio Program/Segment award was “Agri-Tayo,” hosted by Ariel Tejada of DWCI-FM Ilocos Norte, while “Governor Generoso Special,” produced by Karren Montejo of ABS-CBN Davao, garnered the Best Agri TV Program/Segment award.

    Presented annually over the past decade by PMFTC Inc., the Bright Leaf Awards’ board of judges voted for an article on by-products commercialization, written by Ian Ocampo Flora of SunStar Pampanga, as “Tobacco Story of the Year” and a photograph by Erwin Beleo of Tempo, featuring a farmer preparing for crop harvest in La Union, as “Tobacco Photo of the Year.”

    “Bright leaf” is the alternative name for Virginia tobacco because it turns into a bright shade of yellow when cured with intense heat. The search for the country’s best agri-journalists and photo-journos is named after this plant variety and also comes with trophies, cash prizes, and an Asian trip for the winners.

    In his keynote speech at the Sofitel Manila in Pasay City, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan emphasized the importance of agriculture in the economy, which he believes should be given support and priority to ensure food security and economic growth.

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    Over at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, it was the 30th anniversary celebration of Century Properties Group Inc. led by its founder, Ambassador Jose “Joey” Antonio.

    The publicly listed firm was established in 1986 right after the EDSA People Power Revolution. In a span of three decades, the company has hurdled several obstacles, including the 1989 coup attempt, the power crisis of the early 1990s, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the 2007-2008 global recession.

    Today, Century Properties is the foremost developer of luxury residential condominiums with branded names in the country. Among these co-branding projects are the Trump Tower Manila; Versace Home for Milano Residences; Armani Casa and Studio Daniel Libeskind for Century Spire; Paris Hilton for Azure Urban Resort Residences; and Philippe Starck for Acqua Private Residences.

    Antonio is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 40th richest Filipino, with a net worth of $195 million. He was recently named by President Rodrigo Duterte as special envoy to the United States, but doesn’t see any conflict of interest regarding his purely business relationship with the Trump Organization involving naming rights, as reported by the New York Times.

    In a newspaper interview, he commented about US President-elect Donald Trump, whose organization he has been dealing with for many years. This was way before Trump went into politics. Antonio asked the interviewer: “Is it a crime that I know the president-elect?” Is it odd that we have done business with his family?”

    Beyond high-end condos and office buildings, Century Properties is venturing into tourism estates and affordable housing – living up to its tagline of “Reaching for the Extraordinary.”

    J. Albert Gamboa is the Chairman of the FINEX Golden Jubilee Book Sub-Committee and serves as consultant for private and public sector organizations.

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