THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

MAYA interns chat with DA chief, sharing thoughts, valuable learnings

Author: DA Communications Group | 15 June 2021

“The MAYA program is a wow! I am learning roles beyond my expectations.”

“Sobrang saya ko po at ang dami kong natutunan na ‘di ko makakalimutan.”

“This program is very timely and relevant. It breaks the stigma that agriculture is all about dirt, but no! There’s more to it than that.”

These are the respective insights of Angelito Tacan, Jamaica Ejida, and Jake Ryan Tangunan, who are halfway through their six-month internship under the Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The three youngsters, along with 22 other MAYA interns, had a virtual free-wheeling chat or “kuwentuhan” with Agriculture Secretary William Dar, on June 11, 2021, hosted by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR). The 25 represented the 793 MAYA interns spread in 16 regions of the country.

“I would like to congratulate the 793 interns nationwide, who have been with us since day one of this program. Out of the 3,113 applicants, you are the chosen ones. Seeing how your stories inspired the youth’s interest in agriculture, we at the DA know that we have made the right choice in sharing this opportunity for young Filipinos through this program,” said Secretary Dar.

“I have met some of you during my visit in the regions and hearing how your stories have inspired other young Filipinos to get involved in agriculture, makes us happy. I hope that this program has imparted you with fulfilling and valuable experiences, as you embark on your journey to improve the agri-fishery sector for your generation and the next,” he added.

“Let this be an opportunity for you to brave the path and take the challenge. May kasabihan: ‘Don’t take the easy path, but go for the harder one.’ This is because the harder path is where you will experience more real-life situations. These can only happen when the unexplored paths are taken,” the DA chief said.

Twenty-six-year-old Angelito Tacan, an intern at DA-Regional Field Office (RFO) 9, who was impressed by the MAYA program, added: “My learning is overflowing with the different trainings and actual applications of our learnings. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Secretary Dar for giving us, the youth, the opportunity to have this great experience for six months, helping us find our strength as a youth while engaging in agriculture.”

Jamaica Ejida, 25, who is stationed at the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 10, said the MAYA internship gave her not just knowledge, but also the determination to turn it into a business venture.

“Sobrang importante po ang MAYA, lalo na sa akin na wala pa pong enough knowledge sa aquaculture at agribusiness. Ang laking tulong po ng pagsali ko sa programang ito dahil nadagdagan ang knowledge ko on aquaculture. Balang araw po magtatayo ako ng sarili kong negosyo,” she said.

On the common misconception that agriculture is “dirty,” twenty-five-year-old Jake Ryan Tangunan, intern at DA-RFO 12, has realized that “agriculture is indeed a business. It is essential to our economy and every Filipino people. Therefore, I find the MAYA program very timely and relevant to us young Filipinos.”

In response, Secretary Dar was grateful for all the “MAYAs,” who took the challenge and for being the mouthpiece of the youth, who opened their hearts and mind on the relevance of agriculture to the country’s food security especially with the global health pandemic.

“This is beyond expectation. Nagagalak po kami that this program has been borne to nurture the chance of the younger generation to prove themselves. Twenty-five years from now, by then you will be 45 to 47 years old. How I wish, at sana magkatotoo ito, na meron ding secretary of agriculture na galing sa MAYA program. Sana buhay pa ako 25 years from now, para I will be the first one to congratulate him or her,” the DA chief said.

“I trust and believe that you, as a willful youth full of strength and vigor, can drive this sector towards greatness. We believe the youth of today becoming the leaders of tomorrow,” he concluded.

Also present during the virtual “kamustahan” were: DA Chief-of-Staff Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, who concurrently chairs the MAYA coordinating unit; and DA-BAR Director Vivencio Mamaril, who served as the event host and moderator. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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