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Cultivating hope, celebrating digital creators

PHILIPPINE agriculture has not recovered yet to pre-pandemic levels as of the first half of this year. According to the latest quarterly report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the agriculture sector contributed the least to the country’s total gross domestic product among the three major sectors of the economy in the second quarter of 2022.

Despite this dismal development, the LT Group and Philip Morris International continue to support the sector by giving out the annual Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards through their joint venture known as PMFTC, Inc.

Now on its 15th year, the Bright Leaf Awards is a competition that honors outstanding journalists and photojournalists whose works portray the Philippines’ diverse agricultural sector. It emphasizes on the value of telling stories through print, broadcast, and online media, thus providing hope and inspiration to readers and viewers.

This year’s winners were announced during a virtual awarding ceremony on Sept. 13, and most of them are from provincial areas such as Palawan, Davao, and the Cordilleras. PMFTC, Inc. Global Communications Director Dave Gomez said: “We believe that agriculture journalism shines brightly on the most vital topics in the past year through an increasingly digital and connected world.”

Among the 15th Bright Leaf awardees were Cai Ordinario and Tyrone Piad for agriculture story of the year; Rachel Ganancial and Jordeene Lagare for best news stories; Vina Medenilla and Reuel Lumawag for best feature stories; Karlson Lapniten for best online story; Laila Austria for tobacco photo of the year; Frank Cimatu for tobacco story of the year; and Rhoy Cobilla for agriculture photo of the year.

“Cultivating Hope” was the theme for this year’s competition, highlighting the triumphs and challenges faced by Philippine agriculture and the media practitioners covering this sector in 2021. Moving forward, the Bright Leaf team hopes to further blaze the trail in recognizing the cutting edge of agriculture journalism in the country.

CONTENT CREATION HUBAcknowledged as the social media capital of the world, the Philippines has been dominating the online sphere for some time now. It has attracted global players in the digital sector to set up shop in the country, and one of them is the True Digital Group (TDG) of Thailand.

TDG sought to expand its operations in Southeast Asia in the hope of uniting the region under a premium brand. The Bangkok-headquartered firm saw the great potential of the digitally inclined Filipino market, and thus was born True Digital Philippines headed by Dindo Marzan as managing director.

“We are committed to helping TDG hype up the Filipino identity on the international stage and digitally level up our country so we can keep up with the rest of the world as technology marches on,” Mr. Marzan disclosed during a recent event at Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig City where digital creators and social media influencers were featured.

Digital creators focus on creating content that engages their audience. They create videos, graphics, photos, blog content, or information resources and distribute them across various platforms ranging from personal websites to the likes of Instagram and YouTube.

On the other hand, influencers are socmed personalities who are able to convince their followers to purchase something on the basis of what they themselves buy. Examples are fitness gurus and fashion icons who share how they live their lives while promoting the products and services they use along the way.

Members of the Creative Content Creators Association of the Philippines (CCCAP) are confident about the country’s capacity to become a creative production hub in Asia. CCCAP President Magoo del Mundo noted that “our stories and narratives are breaking into a global audience, and we are looking at a very big industry that is untapped in the Philippines.”

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The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and BusinessWorld.

J. Albert Gamboa is the chief finance officer of Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chairman of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee. #FinexPhils www.finex.org.ph

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