The Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda (SUN) Awards of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. (COSE) for outstanding Filipino elderly awarded Mr. Maximo Rabanal for his valuable contributions to the Bigueño farmers and active participation to the City Government of Vigan last October 30, 2020 via online during the National SUN Awards Ceremony.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office Region I together with the City Government of Vigan hold its Regional Awarding Ceremony on November 18, 2020 at Vigan Culture and Trade Center.
City Mayor Juan Carlo Medina, Vice Mayor Lourdes Baquiran, DSWD-RFO 1 Social Marketing Unit IO-II Iryn Cubangbang, Social Technology Unit SWO III Grace Rendon, SWO II SWAD Team Leader of Ilocos Sur Ma. Bernadette Arcangel handed the Plaque of Recognition and cash prize to Mr. Maximo Rabanal and his wife Mrs. Remedios Rabanal.
Joining her wife in testifying his good deeds as a husband, friend and mentor were BOMBO Radio Anchor Mr. Amado Valdez and Pantay Fatima Barangay Captain Edgar Rabbon.
“I’m very grateful to the COSE Inc. and the DSWD for choosing me as one of their awardees and to the City Government of Vigan led by Mayor Juan Carlo Medina for supporting me towards this achievement. This recognition is too much for me and so humbly give this cash prize to the City Social Welfare and Development Office to help me hand it to those really in need farmers of the city.” Mr. Rabanal said during his acceptance speech.
Despite old age, Maximo Rabanal, 69 years old from Barangay Pantay Daya, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur still creates a difference among his fellow farmers in the community and in the entire City of Vigan. He leads the group of corn producers and advocates organic-based farming techniques and practices, optimizing land resources, and maximizing output or produce through Integrated Farming System.
He being a farmer-leader turned farmer-scientist, did not keep his farming techniques to himself alone, but led other farmers (even those poor farmers) to attain good harvest by not compromising the land resources and shun the use of chemically-produced fertilizers and pesticides that may increase ill effect to the environment.
A hands-on farmer and advocate of these farming techniques is still very active and healthy despite the health situation we are experiencing right now. He is still allowed to work on his farm activities since his sector falls on one of the most essential in this time of the pandemic, the food sector. “Uray marikna saksakit ti bagbagi, ad–adda pay a naparagsit pay nga agtalon (“Though my body often aches now because of my age, this all the more motivates me to do farm activities).”
His organic farming techniques is used in his poultry raising, fish pond, and hog fattening. He is producing his own fertilizer utilizing animal manure and farm wastes. He also observes the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) System.
In the entire province of Ilocos Sur, he was the only one recognized by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural resources Research and Development (PCARRD) in the installation of a bio-gas digester for his piggery project. This supports his pro-environment and sustainable reusable energy from the piggery waste turned into methane gas. This project enabled Mr. Rabanal to create a sound and healthy environment with its clean and odorless piggery and support the environment-friendly and biodegradable gas production for his piggery.
A large portion of his farm is planted with hybrid yellow corn and rice. And with this, he was able to construct a modest house in Pantay Daya, able to finance the education of his sons, buy farm implements and equipment and acquire additional agricultural land.
During meetings and gatherings with his fellow old-aged farmers, they talk about their issues and problems with their farming activities always aspiring for increased production to increase income. He continuously attends and actively participates in trainings, seminars, dialogues, field days, investment clinics and lakbay aral to enhance his knowledge. Whatever technology and knowledge he acquired, he adopts and applies them in his farm and at the same time shares these to his fellow farmers.
His continuous advocacy led 450 other famers to copy his Integrated Farming System incorporating goat raising, fish pond, rice/vegetable production, and hog raising. Accordingly, this kind of farming increased food on their tables and lessen their expenses on basic food needs by the families. Aside from realization and food sustainability in the entire City of Vigan, positive reactions among the farmers were resounding, through this kind of farming that even the lowly and ordinary farmers have produced among their children, professionals such as Certified Public Accountants, Engineers, Medical Doctors, and the like.
When asked about his challengesin his leadership among farmers, he mentioned flexibility to suggestion and ideas especially when dealing with irrational fellow farmers. Arguments are easily dissipated when he carefully explains idea with openness and diplomacy. His display of success in his farming projects speaks a lot to his fellow farmers who along the way have adapted his techniques.
As member of Knights of Columbus on its fourth degree, his commitment to be a role model in the family and community paved the way to increase his fear of the Lord and to continue being a good head of the family and member of the community.
As head of the family, he ensures that things of good value are seen in his actions and words for his two children to emulate anchored on fear of God. This, according to him will lead them to a brighter future.
At present, his eldest son Rex Rabanal is now Civil Engineer employed at Ilocos Sur Provincial Engineering Office; while second son Ryan Rabanal took up vocational course and is now engaged in farming operating their farm machineries.
The pandemic caused by COVID-19 did not hamper his good deeds to his fellow in the community by sharing at least 4 cavans of rice. He also continued to check on his fellow farmers on their faming activities and problems faced during this time.