09 August 2012, Tel Aviv, Israel - The Philippines has long dominated the Agrostudies program in Israel in terms of number and academic performance as a group compared to the other trainee sending countries in Asia.
This year is no exception. Bagging three (3) out of four (4) awards for excellence, the Philippines again fielded the biggest number of participants/trainees who have come from all over the country to partake in the 11-month training in various agricultural facilities/kibbutzim and colleges in Israel.
In the recent graduation ceremonies of the Agrostudies program held in the Wingate institute in Netanya on 1 August 2012, almost half of the 500 graduates are from the Philippines while the rest come from Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and India.
According to Mr. Yaron Tamir, CEO of the Agrostudies program, he expects an even bigger number of trainees from the Philippines following the successful and commendable performance of this year's batch of trainees. As a matter of fact Tamir said that among the best students in this year's batch are actually from the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in Northern Luzon.
The Filipino graduates of the program are mostly students from various universities in the Philippines from as far as Ilocos to Cotabato who are currently taking agriculture courses and selected through a rigid screening process conducted by their respective university officials.
Mr. Jessi Rom, one of the top graduates this year, spoke on behalf of all participants and said in his valedictory speech that it is indeed a big opportunity to be in Israel to take part in the training. He thanked all the organizers and lecturers for the experience and the knowledge that all graduates will bring back home. Rom reminded them that the end of training opens the opportunity for all of them to start anew in their respective countries where their training should be put to best use.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the special excellence awards given to four (4) graduates including three (3) from the Philippines. Ariel Cardinez, Erly Saleng and Ramil Eliazar were recognized for their official extra-curricular activities for the duration of their training.
The graduation ceremony also included brief presentations of group research projects of the trainees who had Israeli technical advisers. Out of the top three research projects completed this year, two were completed by Filipino teams. First to present was the team of Jim Albert Tubig, Harry Santos and Marlon Sto. Domingo who trained in Sderot Yam and completed their research titled "the effect of deflowering on the appearance of fungal disease in banana."
The second group which completed a research on "the influence of hot water treatment on the storability and quality of grape fruits" in Ramat Naftali is composed of Gabriel Fantilanan, Reyvan Nievares, Geron Pareja, Cris Malic Jr., Jerry Bainggan and Patrick de la Cruz.
Philippine Ambassador to Israel Generoso D.G. Calonge delivered a well-received speech towards the end of program and told the Filipino participants that the reason for their presence in the Agrostudies program is because of the fact that those who came before them did their best when they were in Israel.
He reiterated that Filipinos can show the best of their skills and knowledge and can do even better given the opportunity to be trained by the best professionals in the best facilities.
He also urged the Filipino graduates to put dignity back in farming and to be proud of what they have accomplished in Israel when they return to the Philippines.
He pressed the Filipino trainees to inspire those who stand next in line for the succeeding Agrostudies training and to remind the candidates that should they be chosen, it is because those who came before them paved the way for their turn.
The last part of the ceremony was the handing of certificates of completion to the graduates.
Tamir informed the Embassy that the next batch of new trainees from the Philippines is scheduled to arrive towards the middle of October this year which may include new trainees from another Philippine university in La Union.