Page 1

Volume V, No. 2

March – April 2014

Tobacco Festival highlights Candon City fiesta celebration THE Virginia tobacco took center stage in Candon City in its celebration of the 116th Anniversary of the historic “Cry of Candon” and the 13th Anniversary of its cityhood, last March 22-28. Highlighting the week-long celebration was the Tobacco Festival, an annual thanksgiving celebration for the city’s major industry. According to NTA data, Candon City has 1,632 tobacco

farmers representing an aggregate area of 1,475 hectares of tobacco farms, the largest among tobacco-growing towns or cities in the country. The city’s tobacco production also means bigger share from the collection of excise tax from tobacco products, as provided by Republic Act 7171, and bigger funds for the city’s development programs and projects. For this year’s celebration, Pls turn to page 6

Top photo: Street dancing competition; Middle: NTA Candon Branch Manager Estrella G. De Peralta rates an entry in the search for longest tobacco leaf; Bottom: Miss Virginia Tobacco 2014 Sienna Mae S. Hortaleza.

Tobacco buying price remains firm AVERAGE buying price for all grades of tobacco leaves per kilogram has been within floor price levels, compared to the previous season, a development that the government said could help ensure better profits for hundreds of Ilocano farmers. “We have expected better prices this year than they were last year because of the increase in floor prices,” NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza said. Prices of three tobacco types traded locally have been raised for trading year 2014 and 2015. The new floor prices for Virginia tobacco rose by P6 per

kilogram across all grades. The new buying prices for grades of this type are as follows: AA, P78; A, P75; B, P73; C, P71; D, P66; E, P65; F1, P59; F2, P56; R, P46. The new minimum buying prices for Burley rose by P3 to P10 per kilogram. The new minimum buying prices for grades of this type are: A, P61; B, P59; C, P53; D, P45; E, P44; F, P37; R, P28. The new minimum floor prices for native tobacco rose between P4 to P10 per kilogram. The new floor prices for grades of this type of tobacco are High Grade, P66; Medium 1, P56; Medium 2, 46; Low 1, P38; Low 2, P26.

Taken into consideration in the adjustment of the buying rates is the imposition of the higher excise taxes on tobacco products which is feared to affect consumption. Tobacco floor prices are adjusted by the government every two years upon consultation with industry stakeholders to ensure profit for farmers and reasonable returns for buyers. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala was likewise as optimistic about the industry’s prospects due to the floor price hike. “We hope this will be sustained,” he said, adding that Pls turn to page 2

NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza (foreground) meets local leaders and tobacco farmers in Abra for a dialogue regarding prices of tobacco and the LGUs share on the tobacco excise tax last March 26 at the Provincial Capitol in Bangued. This was also attended by representatives from the Universal Leaf Philippines. Also in photo are (from L) NTA Abra OIC Esmeralda G. Valera, Abra Gov. Eustaquio P. Bersamin, NTA Director Rogelio A. Elveña and Industrial Research Manager Roberto R. Bonoan.

NTA AgriPinoy gets NMIS accreditation THE National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) Audit Team, after inspection and evaluation of the NTA AgriPinoy Tobacco Farmers Food Processing and Trading Center (NTA AgriPinoy) in Nanguneg, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur last April 24-25, has certified the food facility as having Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOP). For this, NTA AgriPinoy was given a full “AA” accreditation. With the GMP-SSOP “AA” Accreditation, the facility can now fully and continuously engage in the slaughtering of hogs and meat processing for domestic trade, subject to surveillance by NMIS Region I. Certificate Audit is conducted yearly. The audit covers two aspects: Structural and Operational. Class “AA” refers to those Pls turn to page 4

March - April 2014



Empowering the tobacco farmers AMIDST all the apprehensions on the effects of Republic Act No. 10351 or the new Sin Tax Law on the tobacco industry, the NTA becomes increasingly aggressive in the pursuit of its goal to make a difference on the lives of its ultimate clientele, the tobacco farmers. While the demand for the tobacco leaf remains, the tobacco farmers are keeping abreast of technology updates with the help of the agency’s extension workers and various forms of media, e.g. print and radio. Moreover, the tobacco farmers are consulted every time issues concerning the industry arise for prompt resolution by the NTA administrator himself. The NTA holds an annual values reorientation seminar to inculcate positive values in the farmers and emphasize their role in keeping the industry a pillar of the economy and as responsible partners for its development. While confident that the local industry has not reached a point of decline yet, the NTA, just the same, prepares the tobacco farmers for any eventuality that may arise by seeing to it that they would have an alternative livelihood endeavor as a fallback. And as part of its income augmentation program for tobacco farmers, the agency established the NTA AgriPinoy Tobacco Farmers Food Processing Plant and Trading Center, which got an “AA” Accreditation six months from its inauguration, from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) of the Department of Agriculture. Aside from livelihood opportunities by growing the raw material requirements of the AgriPinoy facility through hog fattening and poultry raising, the espouses and children of tobacco farmers were also given seminars on meat processing, which they can use as additional sources of income. Dragon fruit production was also introduced to the farmers as another income-generating activity. The NTA continues to develop the tobacco farmers’ cooperatives. The leaders of these cooperatives were given courses on Cooperative Management and Governance, Leadership and Values Reorientation, Financial Management, and Entrepreneurship and Business Management, in collaboration with the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives. For now, as the Administrator said on the NTA’s 25th anniversary, “Tobacco cannot yet be written off as a sunset industry – not just yet.” 

Tobacco buying price remains..., from page 1

the Department of Agriculture, through the NTA, remains committed to help secure a more progressive future for the industry and for around 54,000 farmers from Ilocos to Mindanao who depend on growing tobacco for their incomes and livelihood. According to Eleno Natura of Balaoan, La Union, farmers in one trading center in La Union had disagreement with the buyer-firm as to classifications of leaves. “Generally, however, the prices are good in most trading centers,” he said. “There are some complaints but these are usual ones like disagreements on classifications and prices,” according to Mario Cabasal, head of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers Associations and Cooperatives. He added, however, that the agency has addressed these concerns immediately during the trading. NTA arbitrates on leaf classifications and prices, whenever issues arise during the trading. Farmers have nothing to worry about, Zaragoza said. NTA extension workers assigned for each trading post have reminded farmers of the

trading conditions for floor prices, in accordance with the memorandum of agreement between the agency, buyer firms, and tobacco farmers before the start of tobacco season last year. According to the agreement, tobacco leaves delivered to the trading centers must be free of non-tobacco related materials (NTRMs), delivered in straightlaid open bale (SLOB), and at the right moisture content. Some farmers like Virgie Directo of Dayanki, Burgos, Ilocos Sur traded their flue-cured full flavor Virginia tobacco for as high as P94 per kilo. The NTA reported that a total of 6,636,416 kilograms of Virginia tobacco had been traded as of April 22 in four provinces in Region I since the opening of trading in February. According to NTA data, locally traded tobacco leaves reached 66.6 million kilograms in 2013, up 3% over the previous year. In terms of farmgate value, tobacco procurement amounted to P4.6 billion, almost equal to 2012 level. Roughly half of local output is exported to markets such as Europe, United States, Japan, and Hong Kong. 

is published bi-monthly by the Department of Agriculture, National Tobacco Administration, Scout Reyes cor. Panay Ave., Quezon City. Tel. Nos. 3743987. Fax: 3732095. Website: Editor-in-Chief: Perlita L. Baula, Ph.D. Technical Editors: Rex Antonio P. Teoxon, Roberto R. Bonoan, Ph.D. Managing Editor: Neyo E. Valdez Writers: Ilocos Norte: Divina D. Pagdilao, Elaine Arcangel Tinio; Ilocos Sur Vigan: Noralyn I. Idica, Faustino O. Taal; Ilocos Sur Candon: Orlando O. Galdones; Abra: Ped Ruben B. Barbero; La Union: Emma Beth F. Balagot, Candido I. Liangao; Pangasinan: Elizabeth Q. Biala; Ronaldo P. Molina; Cagayan: Bernadeth C. Tamayao, Gilbert A. Taguiam; Isabela: Joefrey T. Bautista, Manuel M. Beltran; FTSD-Batac: Felisa R. Aurellano, Amparo L. Tumbaga; Central Office: Raquel F. Señga, Perla C. Manzon Consultants: Branch Managers Photographer: Dina B. dela Reyna Contributor: Freddie G. Lazaro, Leni M. Arciaga Editorial Adviser: Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza


March - April 2014

Farmers work together to re-load flue-cured Virginia in a baling box at a trading center in Candon City. Tobacco leaves delivered to the trading centers, as conditions for agreed floor price, must be free of non-tobacco related materials (NTRMs), delivered in straight-laid open bale (SLOB), and at the right moisture content. In baling, the bales must have uniform stalk position, leaf quality, and color to facilitate grading. (Below) Tobacco samples at a trading center also in Candon City. Photos: Adonis Lazo


Gender and development in the tobacco industry

ACCORDING to one global survey on women in agriculture, general weeding and harvesting were predominantly female activities. In some countries, the labor burden of rural women even exceeds that of men. But most of these women have limited access to crucial agricultural activities, technologies, and training. Some women farmers even go beyond tilling the soil: they also ensure prudent food management—deciding what to keep for the household and what to sell. In the Philippines, tobacco farming, being a labor- and capital-intensive activity, has been traditionally left to men, although wives and children assisted during and other postharvest activities. And like in some countries, women workers in tobacco production have limited access to agricultural activities, technologies, training, and credit. The Philippines recognizes, as a State Policy, the role of women in nation building and ensures the fundamental equality before the law of women and men (Section 14, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution). And as a national agency, the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) adheres to this declaration of state policy. The NTA recognizes the significant contribution of women to local tobacco production and supports gender and develop ment (GAD) in the

bureaucracy. GAD is an approach to development projects whose emphasis is on gender relations rather than seeing women’s issues in isolation (Van Marle, 2006). The approach requires transformation of the basic rules, hierarchies and practices of public institutions, and incorporates women’s agency, their lived experience, and the class and ethnic variations in gendered disadvantage, into their analysis (Kabeer,1994). The GAD objectives of NTA in tobacco production are to increase the involvement of women in some aspects of production and access to technologies, training and credit, and to provide female farmers with equal access to resources. Among its mainstreaming efforts are the provision of production, technical and marketing assistance to women farmers, workers, their beneficiaries;

and the awarding of incentives to outstanding tobacco farmers. The list of women farmers is getting longer in the maledominated arena. Last year, NTA had assisted a total of 909 female farmer-cooperators, or out of 4,415 cooperators for the Tobacco Contract Growing System (TCGS). Among them, 12 female farmers had been nominated for the search for outstanding tobacco growers for crop year 2012-13, and five of them eventually won the awards. Eight of the 20 extension workers/agriculturists from the eight branches of the agency were also given special

NTA recognized tobacco growers for their initiatives and innovations for the continuing improvement in the yield and quality of their crops. Among the awardees were women achievers: (In photo, L - R) Zosima G. Madriaga of Macalva, Agoo, La Union; Erlinda E. Daquigan of Amamperez, Villasis, Pangasinan; Purisima F. Dumpit of Parian Weste, Bauang, La Union; Maribel C. Matammu of San Placido, Roxas, Isabela; and Myrna A. Panit of Bacsil, Bacnotan, La Union.

recognition during the awarding ceremony last February 28. The NTA has provided assistance to 40 women farmers for the hog fattening program of the NTA AgriPinoy Projects; 222 female farmers’ beneficiaries for its Kahuyang Pangkabuhayan at Pangkalikasan project; and 2,806 female farmers’ beneficiaries for its Seed Production and Distribution project. To enhance participation of women in farmers’ organization and cooperatives, the NTA has conducted activities that allow more participations of women farmers. The activities were: Values Orientation and Tobacco Production Technologies with 750 female participants; Basic Cooperative Course, with 20 female participants; Basic Accounting for Coops, with 16 female participants; and Educational Tours to AgriPinoy Projects plant at Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, with 63 participants. For the Tobacco Free Education Program, 260 of the 386 who were given scholarship grants are female students. The NTA has been actively participating in national and international events in recogPls turn to page 10

March - April 2014


NTA AgriPinoy..., from page 1

with facilities and operational procedures sufficiently adequate to slaughter food animals, or premises to cut and pack carcasses or animal for interprovincial distribution and sale in any meat market nationwide. The Audit Team was composed of Dr. Mae Nimfa R. Cruz, NMIS Central Office; Preciosa S. Arenas, NMIS MIMAROPA; and Dr. Isagani Julius S. Rodrigo of NMIS Region I. The new certification superseded the Conditional “AA” accreditation issued to NTA AgriPinoy before the lapse of the six-month period. Earlier, the NTA AgriPinoy was issued the conditional accreditation to engage in slaughtering of hogs, meat processing, and dressing of chicken for domestic trade. This was for having satisfied all the requirements set by Republic Act No. 9296 and Executive Order No. 137. The Certificate was effective from November 18, 2013 to May 18, 2014. Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 21, series of 2004, mandates all NMIS-accredited “AA” meat establishments to adopt GMP and SSOP in the whole process of food production and to be

NTA AgriPinoy food processing and trading center Nangungeg East, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur

certified as such by the NMIS. According to AgriPinoy operations manager Minerva P. Mizal, she submitted the Request for Certificate Audit two months before the due date of the conditional accreditation, as the NTA AgriPinoy has strictly complied with the rules and regulations governing the operation of the facilities. According to the NMIS audit team, the NTA AgriPinoy, unlike other facilities they evaluated, was able to get full accreditation in its first try, where it obtained 65% and 67 % for Slaughterhouse and Meat Processing, respectively, as against the average score of 61-62%. Level of Accreditation is issued based on the following scores: 0-40, Substandard; 4160, “A”; 61-80, “AA”; 81-100, “AAA.”

In a pre-evaluation briefing, the audit team enumerated the following requirements to pass the GMP-SSOP Audit: the facility must have only six minor non-conformances on the structural requirements, six minor non-conformances on the operational, five major non-conformances on the structural, and five major non-conformances on the operational; and must not have a single major, serious or critical non-conformance. An “AA” Accreditation has potential for Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), which is a systematic preventive approach to food safety for biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause unsafe finished products, and design measurements to reduce these risks to a safe level.

After getting through with GMP Certificate Audit, Mizal said that the next target for NTA AgriPinoy is to get HACCP Accreditation. The NTA AgriPinoy food processing facility, opened October last year, is part of the agency’s income augmentation program for tobacco farmers. Now being processed in the plant are well-known meat products such as bagnet, longganisa, bacon, ham, tapa, and tocino. (Noralyn I. Idica)

Cagayan, Isabela act to curb pole vaulting THE NTA branches in Isabela and Cagayan conducted separate meetings with industry stakeholders to address the problem on pole vaulting in Region 2. One of the identified causes of pole vaulting was doublelisting of farmers under the Tobacco Contract Growing System (TCGS) to more than one contracting company. The farmers do this to take advantage of financial assistance offered by the buyer firms. This is a clear violation of the Tobacco Marketing Agreement the farmers entered into and noncompliance with NTA trading rules and regulations for locally grown leaf tobacco. To thresh out issues that may crop up during the trading season, NTA held a meeting with the managers and other


March - April 2014

NTA officials, headed by Deputy Administrator for Operations Atty. Vicente D. Lasam, meet with managers and representatives of three trading centers in Region 2.

senior officers of the trading centers in the region, October 14 last year. The three buyer firms in the region, namely, Isabela Leaf Tobacco Company, Compañia de Filipinas, and Universal Leaf Philippines, Inc. (ULPI), raised their concern about pole vaulting. They suspected that the farmer-cooperators were not delivering to them their whole production of leaves. In the said meeting, presided by NTA Deputy Administrator for Operations Atty.

Vicente D. Lasam, the NTA and the buyer firms identified the causes of pole vaulting and formulated guidelines to check the practice in the coming trading season. The buyer firms unanimously endorsed a policy that requires them to submit the list of their recruited farmers to the NTA on a bi-monthly basis to have sufficient time for the agency to verify the list. They also agreed that the NTA will furnish one buyer firm with the list of farmers submitted

by the other buyer firm. The NTA will also verify at random the submitted lists, and its findings on double listing, if any, will be immediately reported to the concerned buyer firm for proper action. It was also agreed that farmers without market tieup will be required to secure clearance from the NTA before selling their produce to the trading centers. The buyer firms promised to police their farmer-leaders and not to buy tobacco leaves outside their contract growing projects. In a follow-up meeting last February 19, NTA branch managers Herman C. Torres (Isabela) and Corazon R. Riazonda (Cagayan) cited the actions undertaken by the agency to curb pole vaulting Pls turn to page 11

More benefits for tobacco farmers, communities under new tax rule THE national government has assured more benefits to tobacco growers under the enhanced rules on the use of tobacco excise tax collections from cigarette sales. NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza said the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 10351 or the new Sin Tax law have given more transparency in the implementation of programs and projects. “With the new rules and regulations in the release and utilization of fund, the farmers and other industry stakeholders are now given the chance to provide inputs in the preparation of the master plan for the development of the tobacco industry,” he said. Zaragoza met some local executives and other public officials at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol last March 14 upon the invitation of the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), Ilocos Norte Chapter. “Our consultation with the local leaders is an initiative to ensure that tobacco excise tax funds are properly implemented,” he said. He said the provisions on the implementation of RA 7171 and RA 8240 were not amended. He said, however, that some procedures on the release of the tobacco funds could have been modified based on the guidelines on the release of funds set by the national government. The basic change is that LGU programs and projects to be

funded pursuant to the new law shall now be incorporated in the General Appropriations Act. Section 3, Rule VIII, of said IRR, mandates the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the NTA to institutionalize the mechanism to monitor the utilization of the fund allocation to LGUs in terms of benefits derived in accomplishing the purposes of RA 7171 and RA 8240. Zaragoza clarified, however, that local governments would still choose the programs and projects they want and implement them in accordance with RA 7171 and RA 8240. “That discretion is not taken away by the new sin tax law and its implementing rules,” he said. He also assured the local leaders in the province that the implementing rules for RA 7171 will include provisions to ensure that local shares from excise taxes will be used for the benefit of tobacco growers and workers and the local government units. The sin tax law provides that part of tax collections as provided by RA 7171 and RA 8240, is allocated to mitigate any impact on tobacco farmers and workers who may be displaced due to expected reduction in demand for tobacco products affecting local production. Consistent with RA 8240, the new law provides that fund from the shares of Burley and native tobacco-growing LGUs will be exclusively used for programs to promote economically viable

alternatives for tobacco farmers and workers. For Virginia tobacco growing areas, the same rules on implementation of projects as provided by RA 7171 shall apply. The allocation will also be used for infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads, schools, hospitals, and rural health facilities and agro-industrial projects that will enable them to be involved in the management and subsequent ownership of projects such as postharvest and secondary processing like cigarette manufacturing and by-product utilization. The expected increase in revenues and increments and the new rules have prompted the

NTA Administrator Zaragoza (left) receives from Marcos, Ilocos Norte Mayor Arsenio A. Agustin a certificate of recognition as guest of honor during the town fiesta and for his support to the town’s tobacco industry.

NTA to seek consultative meetings with different stakeholders of the industry. Following the enactment of RA 10351, the tobacco excise tax became P67 billion in 2013 or up by P35 billion from the P32 billion excise tax collection in 2012. (Freddie G. Lazaro/PIA )

Cagayan local execs submit list of priority projects, programs ADMINISTRATOR Edgardo D. Zaragoza had requested through a letter, local government unit beneficiaries of tobacco excise tax under Republic Act No. 8240 (for Burley/Native tobacco-producing provinces) to submit their priority programs and projects. This is in relation to the release by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of the implementing rules and regulations of RA 10351 or the new Sin Tax Law. This prompted local executives in Region 2 to advice their Municipal Agriculturists (MAs) or Municipal Planning and Development Officers (MPDOs) to act immediately on the request. They asked NTA

Cagayan for information about the new rules. Cagayan Branch Manager Corazon Riazonda, during a meeting with the local officers, elaborated on the significance of the law to the tobacco farmers and their communities. She emphasized the urgency of the request. As she had promised during the meeting, she met their respective mayors to discuss the possible programs and projects to benefit the farmers in accordance with the rules. The results were positive. Some local executives, after the series of meetings, met with their tobacco farmer-constituents and consulted them on their priority projects. Meanwhile, Rep. Randolph Ting (Cagayan, 3rd Dist.) consulted with the leaders of the tobacco-based cooperatives on the priority projects for which the balance from the proceeds of the RA 8240 for crop year 2010-2012 would be utilized. He said that the cooperatives should request through a resolution to the DBM for the immediate release of the said fund. According to Ting, the fund

NTA Administrator Zaragoza explains to local leaders and other public officers the benefits of the enhanced rules on the use of tobacco excise tax, during a dialogue held at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol.

Pls turn to page 7

March - April 2014


Candon City Tobacco Festival 2014

The SANDATA group (Barangay San Isidro, Talogtog, and Darapidap) cops the grand prize of the Street Dancing Competition. Photo: Jun Balbin

One of the floats during the Floral Parade (top photo), the newest attractions of the festival; a part of the parade (inset). Photos: Freddie Lazaro/Fanny Camcam

Tobacco Festival highlights Candon City..., from page 1

the local government had a lineup of activities that townsfolk and tourists would surely enjoy, and made true to its thrust that the city be a model of peace and prosperity in the region. The theme of the celebration was “Kappia ken Panagkaykaysa: Tulbek Dur-as ken Rangpaya. (Peace and Unity: Key to Progress and Growth).” Floats bedecked with flowers were the latest attraction to the annual festival. At least 12 floral floats with various themes and sizes rolled along the city’s main streets for the two-hour parade. Each float during the parade presentation was accompanied by the employees of the company or government agency it represented. Mayor Ericson Singson said flowers grown all over the city were gathered for the making of the float. NTA Candon Branch was also actively involved in major activities, such as the search for Miss Virginia Tobacco 2014, Tobacco Quiz Bee, and the


March - April 2014

search for longest tobacco leaf during the city’s Agriculture Day. Sienna Mae S. Hortaleza, 18, representing NTA Candon, bested 11 other contestants to capture the Miss Virginia Tobacco 2014 crown. Dangin P. Nitura of San Isidro, Candon City and AB Pol Sci student of North Luzon Philippines State College (NLPSC) topped the Tobacco Quiz Bee. NTA Candon also handed its own Tobacco Grower of the Year (TGY) award to outstanding farmers in the second district of the province. The awards ceremony held at Candon City Hall Lobby were attended by Rep. Eric Singson (Ilocos Sur, 2nd Dist.) and NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza. Also crowned in seperate events during the festival were: Stephen Dorscner (Manila) and Joan Alcantara (Quezon City) as Mr & Ms Body Shots International, and Diane Valeria Rubio of Barangay San Jose as Miss Candon 2014.

In the Street Dancing Competition, the SANDATA group, composed of dancers from barangays San Isidro, Darapidap and Talogtog, was declared champion. The group was also adjudged Best in Props, Best in Choreography, and Best in Interpretation. Other activities included Trade Fair and Exhibits, Battle of the Bands, Fitness Run Trilogy, Mayor Ericson Cup Invitational Motocross, Acrobat Show, Search for Little Miss Candon, Kapuso Night, Search for Lolo ken Lola ti Ciudad, Educational Institutions’ Day, and Beach Day (Bancathon and Beach Volleyball). With the festival, the city has deserved its name as the “Tobacco Capital of the Philippines,” not only for its vast harvest of the Virginia leaf, but also, being the center of the second district of Ilocos Sur, for the vital role it plays in the development of adjacent municipalities which are also tobacco growers. 

Dangin P. Nitura (center), of San Isidro, Candon City, won first place in this year’s NTA Tobacco Quiz Bee. Also in photo are (from L): Luzveminda R. Truong, Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson, Nitura, Dr. Roberto R. Bonoan, and Dr. Giovanni B. Palabay.

NTA Candon Branch Search for Tobacco Grower of the Year Crop Year 2012-2013 Winners: Farmer/Extension Worker Virginia Neutral 1st Alfredo Ganado, Tablac, Candon City / Leonardo C. Escobar 2nd Alex Monces, Bantugo, Nagbukel, Ilocos Sur / Janette P. Casiño 3rd Anastacio Calibuso, Dayanki, Burgos, Ilocos Sur / Charito A. Masiglat 4th Dionisio Rendon, Ubbog, Santiago, Ilocos Sur / Melecia D. Dato Virginia Topped 1st Eddie Habab, Sapang, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur / Cynthia B. Magaliao 2nd George Arreola, Banucal, Lidlidda, Ilocos Sur / Susana G. Dangpalan 3rd Ernesto Gorospe, Rubio, Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur / Orlando O. Galdones 4th Jaime Habab, Conconig West, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur / Edilberto P. Guerrero th 5 Luis Lozano, Lantag, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur / Valeriana C. Arellano 6th Jaime Jamandre, Pidpid, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur / Susan P. Tingle 7th Ador Cungao, Kalumsing, San Emilio, Ilocos Sur / Julita F. Valdez 8th Amancio Gamboa, Casilagan, Banayoyo, Ilocos Sur / Adonis D. Lazo Native Tobacco 1st Carlito Cabalbag, San Pablo, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur / Mely S. Sison 2nd Nellie Ganado, Bagani Ubbog, Candon City / Oliva C. Galdones 3rd Ferdinand Divina, Dunglayan, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur / Rosario D. Parel 4th Virgilio Amingay, Mapisi, Nagbukel, Ilocos Sur / Matilde D. Arreola

Miss Virginia Tobacco 2014


(1) WINNERS (from L): 1st Runner-up Jaleemar B. Andanan (NTA Abra), Miss Virginia Tobacco 2014 Sienna Mae S. Hortaleza (NTA Candon), and 2nd Runner-up Jameela M. Perez (NTA Batac). (2) Board of Judges: (from L) Maybelen B. Dictaan, NTA Regulation Department Manager; Atty. Anicka Nicolai S. Zaragoza, Ilocos Sur Provincial Board Member; Mr. Dennis Dadil, Corporate Affairs Manager of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Chairman of the Board of Judges; Atty. Cyril Lubaton, Gov’t Relations Manager, JTI; and Ms. Kimberly Hakenson, Bb. Unibersidad 2012. (3) Candon City Mayor Ericson G. Singson awards plaque of appreciation to (left photo) Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Special Concerns and the pageant Guest of Honor; and to (right photo) NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza. (4) Best in Talent Jaleemar B. Andanan, showing her painting of Christ. (5) Miss Virginia Tobacco 2014 Sienna Mae S. Hortaleza, with NTA AgriPinoy Operations Manager Minerva P. Mizal and NTA Deputy Administrator for Support Services, Atty. Everin F. Molina.

La Union cites own TGY awardees THE NTA La Union Branch office awarded winners of its own Tobacco Grower of the Year for crop year 2012-2013 in a ceremony held at the branch office last April 15. The branch TGY contest was spearheaded by Branch Manager Giovanni B. Palabay, with the assistance of the late Edilberto V. Valdez, OIC-Chief Agriculturist, and Mr. Marcelo T. Pascual, OIC-Supervising TPRO. The winners were: Virginia Improved Flavor: Marfilo de Sesto, first prize; Ferdinand Osteria, second prize; Benny Arellano, third prize; Virginia Neutral: Myrna Panit, first prize; Mario Cabanban, second prize; Ruben Abat, third prize; Burley Neutral: Zosima Madriaga, first prize; Oscar de Vera, second prize; Elpidio Estimada, third prize; and Native Batek: Purisima Dumpit, first prize; Marcos Rivera, second prize; Concepcion Par, third prize.



Pls turn to page 11

Cagayan local execs..., from page 5



Pls turn to page 12

to be provided under RA 10351 will not be released without exhausting first the balance from the proceeds of RA 8240. He instructed the officers of the cooperatives, with the assistance of the NTA, to prepare the necessary document for the immediate release by the DBM of the district share from the excise tax. He promised that the fund will be used for the priority projects of their respective cooperatives. Eight tobacco-based cooperatives in the district acted immediately on the instruction of Rep. Ting. The cooperatives prepared their respective resolutions requesting for financial assistance to fund their livelihood projects. Among the projects or programs are: purchase of a four-wheel drive farm tractor for each cooperative; grant of capital loan that will serve as a revolving fund of the cooperatives; purchase of farm inputs, such as hybrid corn and rice seeds, fertilizers and herbicides; and purchase of drilling machine for easy installation of shallow tube wells. The cooperatives also requested for the funding of 14 Compliant Training Courses for the officers. The resolutions were forwarded to the different Municipal Councils of the LGU beneficiaries for their endorsement to DBM. ď Ž (Gilbert Taguiam)

March - April 2014


RETIREMENT NESTOR T. Tejada, Agriculturist II of the NTA Isabela Branch Office, has concluded his services with the agency. He was only 63 years old, or two years short of the mandatory retirement. Much to his desire to extend his services, his physician, knowing the rigors of an extension work, advised him to retire early to preserve his health, as he was previously diagnosed of a heart ailment. In a simple ceremony hosted by the branch office on February 25, or three days before his official retirement, Tejada bade farewell to his colleagues, ending his 24-year service as an extension worker assigned to various places in Isabela, notably Quirino town, his last area of responsibility. Tejada, an Agricultural Engineer, first worked with the National Irrigation Administration. Later, he went to Papua, New Guinea as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW). Upon his return to the country, he was hired as an agriculturist of Compaña de Filipinas. Then

LU tobacco coop holds general assembly, election THE La Union Tobacco Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LUTGMPC) conducted its 33rd General Assembly and election of officers at the Farmers Hall, Bauang, La Union, on March 30. Deogenes B. Bancifra (Naguilian), NTA La Union representative to the Board of Directors, was elected chairman; and Eleno V. Natura (Balaoan), as vice-chairman. Elected Directors were Warlie Oribello (Balaoan), Fidel Orfiano (Balaoan), Raymundo Nones (Luna), Victorino Maala (Bangar and Sudipen), Isagani Laroya (Agoo, Caba, and Aringay), Franklin Dumpit (Bauang and Naguilian), and Christopher Supang (San Fernando City, San Juan, and Bacnotan) Vincent A. Adorna, chairman of the Regional Agriculture and Fishery Council (RAFC) of


Pls turn to page 11

March - April 2014

NTA Isabela honors Nestor Tejada

The honoree Nestor T. Tejada (inset) with NTA Isabela Branch staff, friends, and close relatives.

on February 12, 1990, he was hired by the National Tobacco Administration as Agriculturist I. He was promoted to Agriculturist II on August 9, 1999, and subsequently designated as Area Supervisor, a position he held till his retirement. The staff, with some of his friends and relatives, came together to honor the man whom they fondly called Manong Nestor, and reminisced his good old days in the agency. His closest friends, Victor Salvador and Teodulo Benitez Jr., in their separate messages, cited many memorable times with the retiree in the course of their extension services.

Branch Manager Herman C. Torres commended the retiree for his notable accomplishments in the agency, especially his attitudes at work to accomplish his task. His co-workers described him as a no-nonsense government worker who always accomplished his assigned tasks. Male employees serenaded Tejada with the song “Those Were the Days” while female staff entertained him with a dance number. In his farewell speech, Tejada expressed his profound thanks to the NTA management for giving him the opportunity to serve the tobacco farmers and

the harmonious working relationship he had with his peers. He was proud to mention that his salary from NTA was the main source of income that enabled him to support the education of his three children who are now college graduates. The eldest is a college instructor at the Ifugao State University, the second child is working at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, while the youngest is connected with the Department of Health. Now that he is retiring, his wife, Elvie, and their children and grandchildren are looking forward to having him spend for more quality time with his family.  (Joefrey T. Bautista)

Our co-worker Edilberto V. Valdez, 58, of Balaoan, La Union, died of cardiac arrest in the morning of April 4, 2014, or more than two weeks before his 59th birthday (April 21). Before his death, he was Senior Tobacco Production and Regulation Officer (Sr. TPRO) of NTA La Union Branch Office. He had been working with the agency since 1977. Below is one of the messages delivered during the necrological service held in his honor by the NTA La Union Branch.

Good-bye, Mr.“Walking Technoguide”

by Marcelo T. Pascual, Sr. TPRO, NTA La Union Branch WHEN we were informed of the untimely death of Boss Bert (Valdez), we were shocked because we did not expect this to happen to him so soon. Why? We were not aware of a serious illness. When there was movement of the organizational structure of the La Union Branch Office as a result of the designation of Gene Galvez as manager of the Tobacco Dust Processing Plant (TDPP), Bert was immediately designated to take over the post of Mr. Galvez, which was to oversee the Operation Division of the Branch Office. During his stint in the branch Operation Division, he did his job as much as possible in an informal way and he was very

approachable to his subordinates. We did not see a bossy personality in him. He treated his subordinates as his brothers and sisters; he always looked into the convenience of his co-workers, especially the tobacco farmers. He saw to it that the needs or problems that are within the mandates E.V. Valdez of our office are attended to NTA men in the introduction to as fast as we could. He would the country of the technology always include maintaining for full flavor Virginia tobacco. good linkage relationship with the stakeholders of the industry I remember every time Central Office would need immediate as important part of our job. We saw Boss Bert as a “Walk- data on the status of our tobacco ing Technoguide” of tobacco and rice projects, Branch Manproduction. He was a hands-on ager Giovanni Palabay would man in tobacco growing, that’s usually consult Boss Bert for why. He did what he preached his immediate personal assessin adherence to the latest to- ment. The detailed reports from bacco technology. Personally, I the extension workers would just follow. I’m sure, Sir Vanni have learned a lot from him. Pls turn to page 11 He was one of the pioneering


BUENAVENTURA C. ISLA, JR Outstanding Virginia Neutral Grower

Buenaventura C. Isla, Jr., is a silent type of a farmer who performs well in his endeavor. He is at ease working with his two-hectare farm in their place at Brgy. Pugaoan, Pinili, Ilocos Norte, or tending to his backyard tree plantation. Early this year, he was awarded Tobacco Grower of the Year for Virginia Neutral Flavor in Ilocos Norte, besting seven other nominees for the category. He was cited for the increase of his average yield to 2,332 kg/ha with a return on investment (ROI) of 45% from his 0.74-hectare tobacco farm. He planted the Coker 254 ter pump and rice thresher) and variety to his farm, following parcels of land, increasing their the NTA recommended produc- agricultural landholding. He was able to buy appliances, a tion technology. Isla has been a tobacco motorcycle, and a tricycle as farmer for 14 years now. To- family service. He used his cash prize from bacco farming has given his family a substantial income. the TGY contest to purchase Through the years he was able a chainsaw, which he really to acquire farm equipment (wa- needs to prepare fuelwood for

Tobacco Tobacco Grower Grower of of the the Year Year Ilocos Ilocos Norte Norte Awardees Awardees CY CY 2012-2013 2012-2013

TGY (Virginia - Neutral) awardee Buenaventura C. Isla Jr. of Pugaoan, Pinili, Ilocos Norte, and outstanding extension worker Precilla R. Lagadon, TPRO I. (Below) The mini tree farm of the Isla family.

his tobacco curing activity. Aside from tobacco, he also planted different kinds of vegetables and bulb crops to his farm for extra source of income. To his backyard energy mini-farm, he planted ipil-ipil,

mahogany, and fruit trees (mango and langka). Jun, as neighbors and friends call him, is the auditor of the Pugaoan Farmers Association. He has four children with his wife Agnes.  (D.D. Pagdilao)


Outstanding Virginia Topped Grower

TGY (Virginia - Topped) awardee Antonio V. Salmasan of Camanga, Badoc, Ilocos Norte, and outstanding extension worker Rhonelle P. Sulicipan, TPRO I. (Below) NTA Ilocos Norte Branch Manager Mario E. Corpuz checks on Salmasan’s model tobacco farm in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.

Antonio V. Salmasan is an epitome of a man in the Ilocano adage “lumaklakay, lumaglagda” (as he gets older, he gets better). He continues to reap special recognition for his exemplary industry as tobacco grower. He is the latest recipient of Tobacco Grower of the Year award, VirginiaTopped category (crop year 2012-2013), his third award as outstanding farmer. Early on, he was recognized by the NTA and the Associated Anglo American Tobacco Corporation (AAATC) as Outstanding Grower, Virginia Full Flavor Tobacco Category, Provincial Winner for crop year 2001-2002. In 2011, he also won Outstanding Tobacco Farmer in the Implementation of TCGS under TMI Projects given by the TransManila, Inc. and the NTA. Salmasan shows us a good example of “learning by doing” attitude, as he is a researcher in his own right. He planted two varieties (PVH 2254

and NC 2326) of the Virginia Improved Favor, under the guidance of the Universal Leaf Philippines, Inc.. At the end of the cropping season, a comparison of the two varieties was assessed and used as basis of what variety would be planted in the next cropping season. His 0.93-hectare tobacco farm was a model of innovation and yield. He followed the recommended distance of planting topped tobacco which are zero sucker and free from insect damage and diseases. He was able to realize a 116% ROI with a yield of 2,935 kg/hectare, besting the performances of four other nominees in Ilocos Norte for the same category. He and his wife Emilia continue to plant trees in their backyard energy farm. Salmasan is not only a model farmer, but also an active farmer-leader in their tobacco-growing community in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.  (D.D. Pagdilao)

March - April 2014



ATTENDED BY NTA OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES January – March, 2014 Valentino L. Valdez Loreto S. Reyes Mario E. Corpuz Elaine A. Tinio Estrella G. de Peralta Loreto S. Reyes Minerva P. Mizal Florence G. Nolasco Esmeralda G. Valera Leonora C. Benzon Giovanni B. Palabay Emma Beth F. Balagot Cesario G. Sambrana Lilia C. Maramba Herman C. Torres Rogelio T. Tarun Corazon R. Riazonda Zenaida T. Arrojo Luzveminda R. Truong Randy I. Abella Zenaida T. Arrojo Priscilla S. Esguerra Edgardo C. Guia 26 employees1 93 employees2 Myrna O. Lozano Dina B. dela Reyna

Corazon R. Riazonda Zenaida T. Arrojo Manuel C. Ramiscal

Nelly U. Castro

Leonora C. Benzon Felicisimo T. Lazo Charity P. Garcia Rafael H. Hernandez Rosalie P. Catura Myra D. Roldan Loreto S. Reyes Zenaida T. Arrojo Bernadeth C. Tamayao 1


GACPA Convention, Java Hotel, Laoag City, Jan. 16-18 Regular General Assembly of the Council of HRM Practitioners, CSC-Ilocos Sur Field Office, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, Jan. 17 Orientation on Strategic Performance Management and Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence (PRIME) in HR Management, Central Office, Jan. 20

Highlights of the 64th Climate Outlook Forum, PAGASA, Agham Road, Diliman, Q.C., Jan. 22 CSC Regional Council of Personnel Officers, Cagayan, Jan. 30 Training on Government Procurement, Bayview Park Hotel, Manila, Feb.12-14 Training/Briefing on ULPI’s Leaf Grading System for Burley tobacco, Pangasinan Branch Office, Feb. 17 Training/Briefing on ULPI’s Leaf Grading System for Virginia tobacco, NTA Candon Branch Office, Feb. 17 Training Workshop on “Implementing QA/QC in Analytical Chem. Laboratories in preparation for ASEAN 2015,” PNP MultiPurpose Hall, Camp Crame, Q.C., Feb. 17-18 2014 Stakeholders’ Forum: “A Convergence of Stakeholders’ Ideas,” Cagayan, Feb. 21 Annual Conference on the Regional Project Monitoring and Evaluation System, NEDA RO 1, San Fernando City, La Union, Feb. 21 Research Proposal Writeshop on the priority commodities of ILARRDEC, All Christian Pavilion & Retreat Center, Santol, La Union, Feb. 25-28 Training on Electronic Billing and Collection System (eBCS), GSIS, San Fernando City, La Union, Feb. 24 Seminar on Tools & Techniques for Internal Auditing, conducted by AGIA, Inc., Hotel Kimberly, Malate, Manila, Feb. 26-28 Training on Electronic Billing and Collection System (eCBS), GSIS, Laoag City, Feb. 28 Training on Electronic Billing and Collection System (eCBS), GSIS, Cagayan, Mar. 5

Cesario G. Sambrana, Rebecca V. Molina, Roger T. Madriaga, Elizabeth Q. Biala, Jovita G. Briones, Alma G. Torralba, Myrna P. Galaraga, Eulalia Z. Ele, Magdalena N. Mamuyac, Marina G. Pine, Alfredo P. Villaceran, Rechie V. Ballo, Marlon G. Facun, Ronaldo P. Molina, Leodogario N. Tolentino, Edna C. Perlaoan, Lorna S. Espanto, Virgilio I. Rabang, Yolanda S. Ignacio, Giovanni B. Palabay, Elvira N. Sambrana, Joannaliza D. Ordinante, Alberto C. Casison, Alfonso E. Sabado, Alex L. Borje, Mamerto T. Lambenicio Juan B. Begonia, Renato C. Aquino, Feliza D. Directo, Efraim A. Dayap, Benson B. Cariño, Edgardo P. Arde, Amelia Veronica L. Lacaden, Merly S. Sison, Loreto S. Reyes, Adonis D. Lazo, Leonardo C. Escobar, Rosella A. Dosono, Melecia D. Dato, Rosario D. Parel, Helen D. Peña, Esperanza E. Alberade, Marcelia P. Pulgar, Santos C. Cañero, Weniefreda V. Fangon, Charito A. Masiglat, Valeriana C. Arellano, Julita F. Valdez, Matilde D. Arreola, Edilberto P. Guerrero, Marcelino C. Ancheta, Nestor H. Defiesta, Oliva C. Galdones, Susana G. Dangpalan, Reynaldo L. Padillon, Milo Q. Sanchez, Susan P. Tingle, Orlando O. Galdones, Nelson C. Rentutar, Janette P.


March - April 2014

Gender and Development..., from page 3

nition of the role of women in national development. In the observance of 2014 National Women’s Month, the NTA central office, through the Administrative Department headed by Dr. Cristina C. Lopez, had a line-up of activities for the celebration. Women employees also participated in the Run for Women’s Education, a running event organized by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council in celebration of women empowerment and officiated by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), held at Quirino Grandstand in Manila. A month before the celebration of Women’s Month, the Department of Agriculture (DA), pursuant to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Memorandum Circular No. 2011-01 dated October 2011 (Guidelines for the Cre-

ation, Strengthening and Institutionalizing of the Gender and Development Focal Point System), reconstituted the Gender and Development Focal Point System of the department to facilitate the mainstreaming of GAD in the DA and promoting of gender equality and women economic empowerment. The DA has designated Fortuna C. Benosa, Planning and Programing and Evaluation Division (PPED) Chief, as GAD Focal Person/Coordinator for NTA. 

(Top photo) NTA employees join the Run for Women’s Education at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, April 5; (bottom) NTA central office employees perform Zumba (aero dance) last March 13, as part of the activities of the agency during the observance of the National Women’s Month. (Perla C. Manzon)

Maybelen B. Dictaan Dinah E. Pichay Mario E. Corpuz Giovanni B. Palabay Cesario G. Sambrana Herman C. Torres Rohbert A. Ambros Felisa R. Aurellano Luzveminda U. Padayao Gilbert I. Yadao Efraim A. Dayap, Sr. Nora A. Corre Marcelo T. Pascual Jovita G. Briones Alicia A. Malab Manuel M. Beltran Elaine A. Tinio

Inaugural session of the CES Club through a one-day-tour with the theme “Corregidor: Revisiting the memories of WW II,” Mar. 26

Training on Entrepreneurial and Business Management, NSCC Plaza, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, Mar. 26-28

Forum on the “Role of Women in Responding to Climate Change,” MMSU, College of Engineering, AVR, Batac City, Mar. 31 

Casiño, Cynthia B. Magaliao, Roan G. Daproza, Hermielynn C. Ringor, Annabelle C. Dasalla, Ulysses R. Manuel, Warlie V. Oribello, Christopher R. Supang, Candico I. Liangao, Deogenes D. Bancifra, Paulino B. Abenojar, Jr., Aurelia C. Santos, Felipe E. Gurtiza, Ruby A. Dacanay, Estrelita E. Nabua, Ambrosio R. Nisperos, Jr., Potenciano H. Apilado, Rosita O. Gambito, Corazon V. Dacumos, Leni M. Arciaga, Sinfrosa N. Valmonte, Esmeralda G. Valera, Ped Ruben B. Barbero, Romeo Y. Paculdo, Nora A. Corre, Florencia T. Salimbay, Marcosito B. Valera, Melben B. Bejarin, Julio A. Barbosa, Natividad B. Quibilan, Everin F. Molina, Faustino O. Taal, Tomasito G. Taloza, Romel C. Hilario, Reynaldo A. Pugrad, Laurence R. Bueno, Delia R. Giron, Gloria L. Abella, Edita B. Igarta, Felicitas T. Tagad, Wilma E. Tisbe, Mario E. Corpuz, Jesusa D. Calano, Divina D. Pagdilao, Romel E. Calautit, Emelda L. Manzanas, Rosemarie T. Soriano, Saturnino A. Agatep, Marzel E. Manzanas, Milagros C. Magcaleng, Crisanta D. Agloco, Eugenio S. Acoba, Prescilla R. Lagadon, Filipinas Q. Ganir, Concepcion R. Quiocho, Rhonelle P. Sulicipan, Roberto R. Bonoan, Lina A. Cera, Alejandro S. Cristobal, Maybelen B. Dictaan, Leonora N. Clarin, Patricia A. Inocente, Randy I. Abella.

Good-bye to..., from page 8

will miss that. In our personal conversations, I heard him saying, “Ammom, Marcel, naumaakon. Nabambannogakon. Uray ket makatakder metten iti bukbukodda dagiti annakko.” And I replied: “Ti la sasawem, ket no agkatawenanta laeng? Kasla met agpakpakadakan.” Then he would smile and say: “Kuna dagiti annakko a kayatdak met kano nga ipasiar ‘diay abroad.” He loved his family and was very proud of his children. We would not want to bid good-bye. But we would rather say, TILL WE MEET AGAIN, OUR DEAR FRIEND, BERT. 

La Union coop..., from page 8

the Department of Agriculture, Regional Field Unit I, was the guest of honor. Also present were DirectorGeneral Antonio G. de Guzman Jr. of the Office of the International Relations and Protocol Office (IRPO) of the Senate, and NTA La Union Branch Manager Giovanni B. Palabay. LUTGMPC is a credit and savings cooperative with 435 members, duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority with a good credit standing. It was organized by Atty. Antonio M. de Guzman, former NTA Administrator (1998-2001) with a group of tobacco farmers in La Union. Originally, the cooperative was only for tobacco farmers but for the purpose of increasing its membership, employees of the NTA La Union Branch also joined the cooperative. The management staff of LUTGMPC is headed by General Manager Ramon F. Laudencia, a member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of San Fernando City, La Union. NTA La Union Branch and

Pole vaulting..., from page 4

practice. They had called the attention of farmers who were found double-listed, and asked them to meet with the concerned buyer firm to discuss the problem. The NTA branch offices, however, allowed farmers who were found to be tilling two lots but were contracted to two buyer firms (e.g., due to separate landownership), provided that the harvested leaves will be in separate bales to avoid problems during trading. In the same meeting, also presided by Lasam, ULPI’s Ferdinand V. Teneza cited the importance of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in checking the exact location of the farm. This would prevent double listing. He even offered the availability of GPS units to the NTA to track down areas where pole vaulting was rampant.  (Joefrey T. Bautista) La Union TGY..., from page 7

The winners were given certificates of commendation, along with wall clocks, water jugs, assorted vegetable seeds, vermicast, spading fork, caps and T-shirts. Also awarded during the ceremony were extension workers who assisted the farmer-awardees.  (Leni M. Arciaga) staff of the local government of Bauang, La Union headed by Mayor Eulogio Clarence Martin de Guzman III, assisted the LUTGMPC during the assembly.  (Leni M. Arciaga)

Three days before his death, Edilberto V. Valdez (4th from left), former chairman of the Board of Directors, attended the LUTGMPC’s 33rd general assembly. (from L): Ambrocio Nisperos Jr., Leni Arciaga, George Cabiles, Franklin Dumpit, Virgilio Garcia, Valdez, Aurie Nellie Tumbaga, Gloria Nocos, and Eleno Natura.

The Narvacan-based NTA AgriPinoy Projects, headed by Operations Manager Minerva P. Mizal, is one of the well-wishers of Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza on his birthday celebration held at NOAH, a beachside adventure zone in Bulanos, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, March 27.

NTA AgriPinoy News

Plant workers attend forum THE employees of the NTA AgriPinoy Projects attended a forum facilitated by representatives from the Social Security System, Pag-Ibig Fund, and PhilHealth Insurance at Nanguneg East, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, last March 19. The employees, especially plant workers hired on Job Or-

der, got updates of their coverage on each of the programs. Speakers during the forum were: Francis F. Canosa, OIC, PhilHealth Insurance (Ilocos Sur); Janet D. Canillas, head of SSS Vigan Branch; and Aileen Angelie F. Abelanes, OIC, Pag-ibig Fund Vigan Branch.  (Noralyn I. Idica)

6 ISPSC studes hold practicum SIX students from the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, held their practicum at the NTA-APP food processing facility at Nanguneg East, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. The students are deployed at the Hog Slaughtering, Meat Deboning/Cutting, and Meat Processing Sections . Two students, Alejo Etrata Jr. and Cecile C. Palino, both BS Industrial Technology students, Major in Food Technology, logged 540 hours from

January 16 to March 10. The others, Ivory Carino, Rachel Asiong, Giezebel M. Balbin, and Gaizel Ann Nortal, all BS Agriculture (BSA) students, Major in Animal Husbandry, logged 120 hours on the same period. The BSA students were also immersed as field extension workers under the supervision of the NTA Agriculturists and Tobacco Production and Regulation Officers at the NTA-Narvacan Field Office.  (Noralyn I. Idica)

Orientation on hog fattening for NTA Vigan farmers MORE tobacco farmers are interested in hog fattening, a component of the NTA AgriPinoy Projects. The project is one of the income-generating activities designed by NTA to boost farmers’ earning outside of their regular trade. A total of 102 tobacco growers attended the orientation seminar on hog fattening conducted by NTA Vigan Branch at its office in Vigan City, last March 15. This is for areas covered by NTA Vigan or all of Ilo-

cos Sur first district. To ensure success of the project, NTA will enforce rigid screening and evaluation of applicants. For the first cycle of the project, a farmer of the first batch of recipients earned as high as P43,000, or about P4,000 per hog. Farmers of the first batch of the first cycle were mostly from the second district. Hogs were sold to the AgriPinoy food processing facility in Brgy. Nanguneg, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. 

March - April 2014


(Left photo) Franklin Dumpit, president of La Union Tobacco Growers Association, presents his business projections during the seminar. (Inset) Deputy Administrator Everin Molina delivers his opening remarks during the first day. (Right photo) Participants share their experiences during one of the activities. Photos: F. R. Aurellano

Cooperative leaders join entrepreneurship, business management training SOME 32 leaders of tobaccobased cooperatives and associations attended a seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business Management at the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC) in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur on March 26-28. The seminar was a joint undertaking of NSCC and the NTA through its Farm Technology and Services Department (FTSD). The course was in accordance with the standard training curricula designed by the Cooperative Development Authority. Topics included the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of a General Manager in developing the business and entrepreneurial activities of the cooperatives and associations. The cooperatives and associations came from Virginia tobacco-growing areas, through their respective NTA branch offices in La Union, Ilocos Norte, Vigan, Candon, and Abra. The farmers organization development (FOD) coordinators from the NTA’s eight branch offices and FTSD also attended the seminar. They were Manuel B. Beltran (Isabela), Alicia S. Malab (Cagayan), Luzviminda U. Padayao and Saturnino A. Agatep (Ilocos Norte), Gilbert A. Yadao (Vigan), Amelia Veronica Lacaden (Candon), Nora A. Corre (Abra), Marcelo T.

us on



March - April 2014

Pascual (La Union), Jovita G. Briones (Pangasinan), and Felisa R Aurellano (FTSD). The attendance of both the coop workers and leaders to the seminar synchronized them to move with coop trends and updates. Atty. Everin F. Molina, Deputy Administrator for Support Services and concurrent OIC of the Vigan Branch Office, said that the NTA conducts trainings for coops to capacitate the leaders in tune with the forthcoming projects from the proceeds of RA 10351 which is predicted to reach P10-billion by 2016. He added that the law provides also the utilization of the local government share on cooperative projects that will enhance product quality and increase productivity. He challenged the cooperative leaders to strive on producing quality

tobacco as the new law discriminates against low-quality and low-priced tobacco products. The sharing of experiences among the participants stimulated the outputs in the workshops. Participants proposed the acquisition of hauling trucks and warehouses to complement their existing grains trading and in parallel with the anticipated feed and rice mills of the AgriPinoy Projects. They also proposed to strengthen the agency’s reforestation project, Kahuyang Pangkabuhayan at Pangkalikasan. These projects will be contained in proposals for the utilization of their respective local government shares from the collection of excise tax of tobacco products. The resource speakers came from the NSCC pool of trainers headed by Janeth P. Abuel.  (Felisa Ramos Aurellano)

“Oras ni Mannalon ti Tabako (OMT)” program hosts Marcelia Pulgar and Adonis Lazo discuss trading issues on air at Radio Station DZTP, Candon City. The program, aired every Monday, 12:00 to 12:30 p.m., ended its five-month run last March 31. The OMT, aired from November to March or during the tobacco season every year, is one of the components of the NTA’s Communication Support Program aimed at upgrading the knowledge and competencies of tobacco farmers on quality production. OMT was also aired during the season at DZVV-Bombo Radyo Vigan (Saturday, 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. with Jose Taclas and Noralyn Idica) and at DZPA-Abra (Sunday, 7:00 to 7:15 p.m. with Nora Corre).

Cagayan Branch has 4 new scholars NTA Cagayan has four new scholars for the agency’s Tobacco Free Education Program (TFEP), according to Branch Manager Corazon R. Riazonda. The new scholars were already enrolled for the 2nd semester of SY 2013-2014. This has brought the number of branch scholars to 27, with three more slots available for the second batch. The new scholars are Filomena C. Ramos, BS Ag. Engineering; Ana Loraine E. Abuzo, BS HIM; Ana Claire A. Narag, BS Education; and Marivic V. Piñon, BS Computer Science. They are all enrolled at the Cagayan State University. Applications for the vacant slots were already submitted to the TFEP Screening Committee, for recommendation to the Administrator’s approval. NTA scholarship program is embodied in Republic Act No. 9211 or Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. The program covers both four-year degree courses and technical or vocational courses. According to Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza, who approved the application of the four scholars, the scholarship program for poor but deserving children of tobacco farmers is consistent with the agency’s major mandate of improving the quality of life of all those who depend on the tobacco industry as a source of livelihood.  (Zenaida T. Arrojo)

The Tobacco News March-April 2014 issue  

bi-monthly newsletter of the National Tobacco Administration

The Tobacco News March-April 2014 issue  

bi-monthly newsletter of the National Tobacco Administration