BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
The late Negros Occidental governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. was remembered by the international community for his legacy.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements-Asia, Asian Local Governments of Organic Agriculture, and Global Alliance for Organic Districts, in a statement, lauded the works of Marañon, whom they called “great organic pioneer”.
They said that Marañon was passionate about the preservation of his beautiful island and promoting organic agriculture, adding that his years of service from 2010 to 2019 highlighted the growth of organic agriculture in Negros Occidental.
During his term as governor, he implemented the Negros First Strategic Development Plan which also boosted Negros Occidental as an agricultural province to ensure food sufficiency and agricultural productivity and to create income for the poor and the marginalized, the groups said.
They said that he wanted the province to be 100 percent organic and that by 2014, Negros Occidental was 97-percent sufficient in rice production and now has 18,240 hectares, with 12,950 organic farmers, as of December 2019.
Under his term, the annual Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival that started in 2005 became one of the most important organic events in the Philippines and put the island on the map as a destination for farm tourism, the groups said.
Andre Leu, past president of IFOAM-Organics International, who visited Negros Occidental several times, said that Marañon was a “true pioneer of fully organic districts. I regarded him highly and I am very sad at his passing. He was truly a wonderful, generous, and visionary man, and I give my deepest condolences to his family.”
Januario John Rivas, Philippine consul general to Northern Territory, Australia, in a statement, said Marañon will be long remembered for the legacy he had in providing scholarship assistance to many in Negros Occidental, as he advocated the philosophy that education is a means of empowerment.
“He was the first provincial governor in the central Philippines who engaged with the NT Government for business, education, and training links,” he said.
“His legacy will live for a long time in the hearts and minds of the people of Negros Occidental and those in Darwin, Australia,” Rivas added.*