The three-day national convention of the Rural Improvement Club of the Philippines was held at La Fortuna Hotel in downtown Cebu City last Aug. 14-16 to mark the club’s 78 years of continued service to rural women with this year’s theme “RIC on the Go! Partnering for Agri-Eco Tourism Development.”
A total of 268 delegates representing each region in the country participated in the event.
The keynote speaker was Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
In his opening statement, Alcala said he promised President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to know the situation of the agriculture and fishery in the country.
Alcala further said the administration is very much supportive on the concerns of women in rural areas because they are the ‘big boss’ in their respective homes.
He challenged the RIC members present to think of programs that will help shape the development in the countryside with a strong coordination and partnership with men.
Director Asterio Saliot of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), in his message, expressed his appreciation on the convention’s theme – which is very timely and it is a good sign that RIC’s leading activities geared towards not only on agriculture but on eco-tourism as well.
Director Saliot shared there are millions of people who are hungry hence, it is a big challenge for the agriculture sector to address this problem.
Saliot said that agro-forestry is a business, thus it needs care. He encouraged everyone to value agro-forestry and work with the Department of Agriculture and ATI so that a great legacy will be left for the next generation.
Director Saliot further challenged the RIC participants to contribute to agri-eco-tourism efforts and that by 2016, he was hoping to see the fruits of their labor.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young welcomed all the delegates, saying he was so proud as the city was chosen to host the event.
RIC national president Dr. Irene Maramag told the members that their presence was a big support to the organization. She said the congress served as a venue for the participants to gain updates on organic agriculture in the Philippines from Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacop, and legal literacy on the rights of women – claiming women’s human rights through the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) from University of Philippines Cebu Guidance Services specialist Dr. Portia Dacalos.
A cooking demonstration was also held featuring recipes such as glazed carnabal by RIC Dumaguete City federation presiddent Rogelia Alderite, camote doughnut by Carcar City rural-based organization coordinator Teresita Bargayo and camote pudding by Antonietta Orosco, gulay na laing by RIC San Roque, Iriga City president Cristy Lee, and abaca handicraft making by RIC Santiago, Agusan del Sur federation president Violeta Cubol.
The 2011 Gawad Saka Outstanding RICs also presented their success stories.
These are the Balidbid, Ilocos Sur RIC (region 1), Calatagan-Tibang, Virac, Catanduanes RIC (region 5), Panabo City, Davao del Norte RIC (region 11) and MCF Polomolok, South Cotabato RIC (region 12).
An agri-eco tour wrapped up the event where delegates were brought to the Heritage and Livelihood Enterprise in Carcar City, southern Cebu; the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Upper Lindogon, barangay Simala, Sibonga, southern Cebu; agri-based garden in barangay Sangat, San Fernando; and a city tour. /Merrian Piquero Soliva