PHilMech marks 33rd year
(by Jett Molech G. Subaba  6/6/2011)

The men and women of the agricultural sector from the different regions, local government units (particularly the provincial agriculturists), PHilMech partner agencies, collaborators and staff celebrated PHilMech's 33rd anniversary and led the observance of the 12th Postharvest Loss Prevention Week on May 23-27, 2011.

With the theme "Sustaining Agricultural Development through Postharvest and Mechanization Interventions", the annual celebration reaffirmed the role of postharvest and mechanization in agricultural development and more importantly to the national government's Rice Self-Sufficiency Program.

Hon. Efren L. Alvarez, city mayor of Science City of Muñoz, graced the event and lauded PHilMech in its role in national development, "It is true that PHilMech has lived the theme of sustaining agricultural development at the national level through postharvest and mechanization interventions..."

Dr. Normita A. Pasalo presented the changes and current status, projects and programs of PHilMech during the State of PHilMech Address (SOPA) in behalf of Director Ricardo L. Cachuela. "The rationalization of BPRE into PHilMech was very timely, but it brought a lot of challenges. We have an expanded mandate, new structure and bigger responsibility," she said.

Moreover, the industry's outstanding adopters of technologies among industry stake holder were recognized during the event. Each awardee was given a plaque of recognition and cash incentives. The awardees include, Mabacan Irrigators’ Association (IA) of Laguna, Daan Banua Rainfed Farmners Association of Kabankalan City and Namnama IA of Koronadal City for flatbed dryer; Capintalan Farmers Association of Nueva Ecija for Agricultural Tramline System; Kalasag Farmers Producers Cooperative of Nueva Ecija for Cold Chain Program. The awardees for the PHilMech collaborators were the COCOA Foundation of the Philippines in Quezon City, and the Tuba, Benguet Coffee Growers Association.

Also, as a way to improve manpower performance of PHilMech, outstanding employees from different fields were recognized. Awardees for the research and development were Mr. Nelson C. Santiago and Engr. Rodelio G. Idago; Engr. Aldrin E. Badua and Ms. Isis DC. Davalos for the extension support, education and training services; and Olivia L. Cancer, Mildred R. Dizo and Ma, Criselda A. Ganabo for the support services. Also, a special recognition was given to Dr. Dionisio G. Alvindia for being the first scientist in PHilMech.

As part of the new breakthroughs in the postharvest industry, a handbook on banana entitled "Fungal Diversity of Non-Chemical Banana and Its Environs in the Philippines" was launched. This was authored by Dr. Dionisio G. Alvindia of the Food Protection Department of PHilMech. Presentation and updates of the road map of the Rice Self-Sufficiency Program of the Department of Agriculture, and presentations of current major technologies of PhilMech "the agricultural tramline system and the cold chain program "followed.

Regional Executive Director Andrew Villacorta of DA-RFU 3, Nueva Ecija 2nd district Board Member Joseph Ortiz, Science City of Muñoz Vice Mayor Esther Lazaro, PhilSCAT Executive Director Dr. Emmanuel V. Sicat, CLSU Vice President for Research and Extension Dr. Teotimo Aganon, Dr. Eden Gagelonia of PhilRice, and BFAR NFTC Director Melchor Tayamen also graced the affair.

In the afternoon, a postharvest clinic was opened for interested visitors who would like to know more of the technologies, projects and programs offered by the agency. Gawad Saka awardees also visited PHilMech and had a glimpse of its postharvest and mechanization programs.