Single mother Luzviminda “Luz” Teston Oropesa from Baras, Catanduanes, leads the six finalists of the 2015 Search for Outstanding Rural Women, who were honored in an awarding ceremony held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on June 19, 2015.
Oropesa, who received a plaque of recognition and a cash prize of ₱100,000.00 is a licensed geologist, who, after working in the public and private sectors, decided to retire to her hometown and pursue her passion in agriculture. She describes herself as a geologist by profession but farmer by passion.
In her acceptance speech, Oropesa said that her passion in agriculture started when she managed soil rehabilitation work of mined areas in Leyte with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its Bureau of Soils and Water Management. She had served as a corporate social responsibility officer for a mining company before her retirement.
Oropesa also shared that she has been inspired to persevere with the DA regional office reaching out to their remote town, a fifth-class municipality. As Oropesa implemented her agricultural and community development projects, she has continued to link with the DA and its attached agencies and bureaus for funding and technical assistance.
In his message, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala stressed that more than the accolades, the search is a venue for other women and the public to know more about the examples set by the awardees.
“These exemplary women serve as our inspiration in the department to continuously support women empowerment in rural areas. We want to produce more of these breed of empowered Juanas to catalyze and sustain inclusive rural development,” Alcala said.
The Secretary pledged an additional ₱100,000.00 worth of projects to be given to the winner to support her projects that could be replicated by other individuals or organizations.
The other finalists, namely, Nelly Arangali of Butuan City, Annie Bajade of South Cotabato and Jesusa Rarangol of Isabela respectively received ₱75,000, ₱50,000 and ₱30,000 in cash prizes as second, third and fourth placers. Meanwhile, Cresencia Tuiza of Calamba City and Lourdes Abad of Misamis Oriental, who tied at fifth place, both received ₱20,000. They also received plaques of recognition.
The annual search is an initiative of the DA’s Office of Special Concerns led by Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. It aims to highlight and recognize the role of rural women, which compose 21% of the country’s agricultural labor force, in achieving food security and stabilizing rural economy. (Jan P. Dacumos, DA-AFID)
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy