On June 6, 2023, around 2,500 enrollees formally graduated from the School-On-The-Air Program on Smart Rice Agriculture (SOA-SRA) in the province of Catanduanes.

Led by the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center, in partnership with various agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA PhilRice), including the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist under the Provincial Government of Catanduanes, and the Municipal Agriculture Offices of 11 towns in the province, the School-On-The-Air Program proved successful over a three-month period.

One of the 2,500 farmers who completed the Smart Rice Agriculture School-On-Air (SOA-SRA) in Catanduanes expressed, “It was very interesting because of the new technologies and the additional knowledge it provided us farmers.”

Dubbed as the “Palay-Aralan sa Makabagong Pagsasaka” (Rice School for Modern Farming), the SOA-SRA was conducted by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) in collaboration with the Local Government of Catanduanes from March to June 2023.

The graduation ceremony for SOA-SRA took place at the Virac Sports Center, where nearly a thousand farmers and youths attended to receive their certificates. Participants from the municipalities of Bato, San Andres, San Miguel, and Virac were present.

During the event, messages and greetings were given by Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes, ATI Center Director Elsa Parot, and Provincial Agriculturist Ace William Tria.

Meanwhile, participants from the far-flung municipalities of Catanduanes held their respective graduation ceremonies as well.

The five-month SOA-SRA was led by Christian Tosoc as the Project Officer. The agency aims to ensure that “with modern technology, no one is left behind, and everyone progresses. You are valued. You are important.”

The program was formally aired through Radyo Peryodiko 87.9, “Ang Radyong Paborito,” and Radyo Kaamigo from April to June 27, 2023, with a total of 24 episodes. It covered various PalayCheck Systems, modern farming technologies, and other topics related to rice cultivation.

On Thursday, July 6, 2023, the formal graduation of the School-On-The-Air Program on Smart Rice Agriculture with the theme “Palay Aralan: Makabagong Pagsasaka sa Himpapawid” took place at the Virac Sports Complex.

The event was attended by selected students of the program and their coordinators from various barangays that were reached through radio broadcast on Radyo Peryodiko and Radyo Kaamigo, as well as through Facebook and YouTube of the Department of Agriculture Bicol.

Around 280 graduates from Virac, mostly farmers and students from Catanduanes State University College of Agriculture and Fisheries who served as OJT/Interns in the Provincial Agriculture Office, attended the event.

Graduation ceremonies were previously held in other municipalities to avoid the need for participants to travel to Virac. In Gigmoto town, for instance, 214 students had their graduation at Gigmoto Rural Development High School, and similar ceremonies were conducted in other towns in the province.

Municipal Agriculturists from Virac also attended the event, along with Mayor Samuel V. Laynes, Governor Joseph Cua, and Center Director of DA-ATI Bicol, Elsa A. Parot, and ATI Director IV, Remelyn R. Recoter, MNSA, CESO III, who conveyed heartfelt messages and greetings to the graduates.

“School on the Air” is a program by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) where farming-related studies are broadcasted “live” on 87.9 Radyo Peryodiko Catanduanes every Tuesday from 10 AM to 11 AM, with a replay at 9 AM to 10 AM every Sunday. The broadcasts from ATI Bicol are also available for review on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as on the official page of ATI Bicol Sarabay Channel on YouTube.

It is worth noting that this program was first launched in Catanduanes in 2013, benefiting the province four times since then. (/BicolPeryodiko/Richmon Timuat)