The Climate Change Commission (CCC), in collaboration with the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, Philippine Commission on Women, Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, National Resilience Council, ARISE Philippines, WIN DRR Philippines, and SM Prime Holdings, Inc., honored Department of Agriculture (DA) Climate Resilient Agriculture Office (CRAO) Director Alicia G. Ilaga with the prestigious 2023 Philippine Resilience Awards for Women.

Dir. Ilaga has been recognized for her commitment to building community-based resilience in vulnerable farming communities through the Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) Program, the DA’s flagship program on climate change.

Joining Dir. Ilaga in the roster of awardees is Ms. Mila V. Bogñalbal, a farmer-cooperator of the DA Regional Field Office (RFO) 5’s AMIA Village at Barangay Joroan, Tiwi, Albay, who has been acknowledged for her efforts in promoting resilient food systems and sustainable livelihood in her community through the implementation of climate-resilient agricultural practices.

The two “Women of the AMIA Program” received the award with the presence of DA Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Leocadio Sebastian and former DA CRAO Senior Technical Adviser Saturnina G. Halos in an awarding ceremony held on October 12, 2023 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Also present to support the two awardees during the event were technical staff from DA CRAO and DA RFO 5 AMIA Program.

A visionary leader dedicated to advocating for climate-resilient agriculture, Dir. Ilaga has been leading for more than a decade the implementation of the AMIA program to respond to the challenges brought by climate change in the agriculture and fishery sector, and to mainstream climate resiliency in DA policies, programs and investments. As Director of CRAO, she plays a key role in DA’s development and execution of various climate action strategies that are responsive to the country’s growing requirements in anticipation of the challenges posed by climate change in the agriculture and fishery sector.

Dir. Ilaga is also a veteran negotiator in the Philippines’ fight against climate change, having been part of the Philippine delegation for the Agriculture, Adaptation, and Loss & Damage workstreams at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties from 2010-2017. She was the Philippine Representative in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Food Security meetings, represented the country in the ASEAN Senior Officials and ASEAN Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries meetings, and is currently the Philippine country focal of the ASEAN Climate Resiliency Network and the ASEAN Negotiating Group on Agriculture.

Meanwhile, Ms. Bogñalbal is the President of the Joroan Farmers and Fisherfolks Association, a farmer group supported under the DA AMIA Program since 2021. A dedicated and passionate leader, Ms. Bogñalbal has been instrumental in helping her fellow community members bounce back from the tragedy caused by Super Typhoon Rolly in 2020 by forming the Joroan Farmers and Fisherfolk Organization (JFFA). As President of the association, she helped her fellow members boost their productivity and income through the promotion and adoption of appropriate climate resilient agriculture (CRA) practices and technologies based on the climate risks they face in their area. Knowing the importance of infrastructure during calamities, she proposed and
was able to secure funding for the construction of a Multi-Purpose Crop Processing Center cum Evacuation Center in her community.

The 2023 Philippine Resilience Awards is a pioneering national awards program that honors and promotes the resilience-building excellence of local leaders in the country. The Women Category recognizes key movers of a program or initiative that emphasizes inclusivity of women and all genders in climate and disaster resilience action. Dir. Ilaga and Ms. Bogñalbal were among the ten pioneer recipients of the Award.

A powerhouse of leaders in the field of leadership and governance, science and technology, gender and development, and climate and disaster resilience from various sectors like the academe, civil society organizations, government, and the private sector comprised the Selection Committee Members of the Awards.### (Story by Joy F. Calvar-Adarayan)