La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, February 01, 2024 – The DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) through the Soils Survey Division (SSD) in partnership with the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA), marked a significant milestone after the successful Output Presentation and Turnover Ceremony of the Project “Soil Characterization of Sugarcane Mill Districts in the Philippines” for Central, Southern, and Northern Negros Sugarcane Mill Districts.

The Project generally aims to assess the pedogenic characteristics of the soils of the sugarcane mill districts in the country. Specifically, this initiative intends to assess the current physical and chemical characteristics of the different soil types devoted to sugarcane production and collect Soil Monoliths of the different soil series typical for every mill district.

During the Output Presentation, Officials from DA-BSWM and SRA unveiled the findings and insights gleaned from the extensive soil characterization and soil monolith collection efforts. Participants gained a deeper understanding of the unique soil profile across the  Central, Northern and Southern Sugarcane Mill Districts of Negros Island, paving the way for a more informed decision-making and sustainable sugarcane production practices. During the Opening Message, Atty. Ignacio Santillana, SRA Deputy Administrator, highlighted the importance of soil as a backbone of the sugarcane industry.

Prior to the actual Ceremonial Turnover, Mr. Sandy B. Abiad from the DA-BSWM Soils Survey Division (SSD), presented the details of the Project that included the Rationale, Objectives, Key Findings, and Features of the Project Outputs.

The event highlighted the symbolic turnover and acceptance of the Soil Monolith collection and printed soil compendium to SRA Key Officials. Mr. Abiad, represented the DA-BSWM by delivering a Turnover Message. In his Message, he extended heartfelt gratitude to the SRA for the full support and understanding during the whole duration of Project implementation – from the Proposal preparation up to the Output turnover.

In response, Mr. Pablo Luis S. Azcona, SRA Administrator and CEO, delivered his Acceptance Message. Administrator Azcona emphasized that the Outputs of DA-BSWM are extraordinary and highly appreciated. Likewise, he committed that as long as he is the Administrator, the SRA will continue its partnership and collaboration with the DA-BSWM with full support. Moreover, he reiterated that we must familiarize ourselves with the state of the soil resources in Negros so that we would know what we need to give back to the soil. Data needs time, you cannot conclude anything without history. This gesture symbolized the collaborative effort between the DA-BSWM and SRA in advancing soil survey and the sugar industry’s sustainability for the country.

Also present in  the activity were the SRA Visayas Area through the leadership of its Area Manager Ms. Helen B. Lobaton; and Ms. Vergielyn Celestial, Chief of Research and Laboratory Division; Ms. Dee Arr Paglumotan, Training Specialist IV, Mill District Development Council Chairpersons, Mill District Officers; and other SRA Technical Staff; and Ms. Mary Ann Ordinario, Senior Agriculturist who represented the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) of Negros Occidental; and the Technical Employees from DA-BSWM SSD, namely: John Dave E. Pacariem, Eloisa P. Santiago, Katherine H. Cervania, Dosary CJ Y. Dela Cruz, and Jayson P. Nicanor.

In her Closing Remarks, Ms. Vergielyn Celestial emphasized that the whole SRA is grateful for this Project. The tireless effort during the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic has paid off. She emphasized that these outputs are very useful, especially in the Research and Laboratory Division.