In line with the celebration of National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM) this November, the Department of Agriculture-IX conducted the 2017 Rice Fun Run in Dipolog City last Saturday. The event centers on the theme Ready SET Rice, SET is acronym for SAVE rice by eating the right amount need, EAT healthy by TRYing brown rice, and other food staples. The Run is made possible with the collaboration of the Dipolog City Local Government Unit and Office of the City Agriculturist. About 500 runners participated in this event which was held at the Sta. Cruz - Sunset area, Dipolog City Boulevard.

The event correlates with DA-PhilRICE’s “BE RICEponsible” advocacy campaign aimed at encouraging farmers, policy-makers and the public (consumers) to be Riceponsible in their own way, to improve their lives and families while also helping in the betterment of the rice industry and in achieving rice self-sufficiency in the country. This also aims to promote the consumption of brown rice considered to have health benefits for the consuming public.

The ceremonial torch lighting was led by Dipolog Mayor Darel Dexter T. Uy and in his welcome message he took the opportunity to express his appreciation to all that supported the important activity of the Department of Agriculture. Mayor Uy further said that with this activity it is possible to reach out to all constituents and those in the nearby areas and educate them on how to be responsible in the consumption of rice. “It is also important to sustain its production in order to attain rice self-sufficiency for the province.” he said. Mayor Uy also said today’s event coincide with the kick-off of their celebration of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week which runs from November 19-24 and their participation in the event manifest their strong resolve against the proliferation of illegal drugs in their community.

A brief overview of NRAM was given by Be RICEponsible Campaign Director Myriam G. Layaoen of PhilRICE wherein she said the purpose of celebrating this event is to acknowledge the importance of rice in our lives and in our culture as Filipinos. She also emphasized that based on their record about 3 tablespoons of rice is wasted by every Filipino in 2014 alone and that would have fed around 4.6 Million Filipinos. Thus, it is imperative for us to appreciate our rice farmers for their fruits of labor and not to waste a single grain of rice.

The “Pledge for Rice” was also recited by all the participants led by Evelyn Academia, DA9 Regional Rice Coordinator, prior to the start of the competitive run. The competitive run for males was 6kms while 3kms for the female runners. For the Rice Fun Run it was a 3km run led by Mayor Uy and joined by some city government employees, city agriculturist staff, DA-9 staff, and PhilRice. The last wave of runners were PNP personnel in celebration of their Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week.

The winners for the competitive run for male were Glenn Arellano (1st Place-Pagadian), Jerix Rabutin (2nd Place-Pagadian) and Jestone Alabastro (3rd Place-Dipolog). While for the female the winners were Crislyn Grace S. Anticristo (1st Place-Dipolog), Rashel O. Batal (2nd Place-Dapitan), and Hanna Fine L. Daniela (3rd Place-Dipolog).

Cash prizes and medals were awarded to male winners with P5, 000 – 1st place (gold), P4, 000 – 2nd place (silver), P3, 000 – 3rd place (bronze). For the female, P4, 000 – 1st place (gold), P3, 000 – 2nd place (silver), and P2, 000 – 3rd place (bronze). Aside from cash the winners also received backpacks containing 2kgs of brown rice, fans, stickers, notebook, “BE RICEponsible” wrist ballers, and umbrellas. Upon registration, all participants were also given shirts, notebooks, stickers, fans and baller. A consolation prize of P500 was also given to selected male and female runners. The event organizers also gave recognition to two youngest runners and both received cash prize and giveaways. Three-year old Jacob Kenry Wong joined his parents in the 3kms fun run and eight-year old Melvin Dave Cuenca who surprisingly completed the 6kms competitive run and the 3kms fun run.

DA9 Operations Chief Reynaldo M. Campomanes expressed thanks to Mayor Uy, Dipolog City LGU, PhilRICE and all the work force involved in the preparation of the activity for the support provided. Campomanes hoped that the harmonious working relationship of the LGU and DA will continue to be strengthened for the good and development of the agriculture sector in the province. (Edward S. Non/DA9-INFO)

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