‘We can beat Covid 19’ – DAR chief

AGRARIAN Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones declared Thursday, February 18, 2021, that the Filipino nation could beat Covid 19 by working together for the highly successful revolutionized farming system: the “Buhay sa Gulay” project.

Bro. John, as Castriciones is fondly called, said the project could help increase food productivity that “will redound for the benefit of our people.”

“We may not be able to feed our people with these vegetables, but what really matters is that we are able to arouse their interest and enthusiasm into farming,” Bro. John said during the “Harvest Festival” of the now “talk of the city” vegetable garden city in Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.

And the farmworkers were ecstatic about the result of the project.

“This is really a big help for us. We were taught about new farming methods to increase our harvests much unlike before when we just cleared a portion of the area and plant. We were taught how to prepare garden beds, unlike before when totally ignore such practices,” said Severino T. Sablay, leader of Team Talon, 72, one of the five teams working on the “New Greenland Farm”.

“We are seeing a great future here. We were taught the proper way of farming and spraying our plants with pesticides. Before, we just plant and then let them grow by themselves,” said Camilo Mendoza, 79, member of Team Sayaw.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who is the concurrent chairman of the Task Force Zero Hunger, said Covid 19 is much better compared to hunger.

“At least, Covid 19 can be cured by the vaccine. There is no vaccine for hunger,” Nograles said.

Undersecretary Emily Padilla said everything is possible for as long as “people like our Secretary (Bro. John) and our dear (Quezon City) Mayor (Joy Belmonte) have visions. They are the kind of leaders who can walk the talk.”

Even Mayor Belmonte was awestruck by the success of the project.

“Before, ours was limited to backyard gardening. I’m glad that we have started urban farming and we are going to expand from seven hectares to 10 hectares. I just really want to thank Secretary John Castriciones for your support,” Belmonte said in her speech.

Sen. Bong Go, for his part, said the vegetable garden city project “plays a vital role in achieving food self-sufficiency for the country.

'Kaya nating talunin ang Covid 19' - DAR chief

BUONG tapang na ipinahayag ni Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones na kayang talunin ng mga Filipino sa bansa ang Covid 19 kung magtutulong-tulong para isulong ang pagbabago sa sistema ng pagsasaka sa pamamagitan ng proyektong "Buhay sa Gulay."

Sinabi ni Bro. John, nakasanayang tawag sa kanya, na makakatulong ang proyekto para payabungin ang pagiging produktibo sa pagkain "para sa kapakinabangan ng lahat ng mamamayan."

"Hindi man natin mapakain ang lahat ng mamamayan ng mga gulay, ngunit ang mahalaga ay naitaas natin ang interes at kasiglahan ng mga tao sa pagsasaka," ani Bro. John habang isinasagawa ang "Harvest Festival" na ngayon ay bukambibig na gulayan sa lungsod sa Barangay Silangan, Quezon City.

Tuwang-tuwa naman ang mga magsasaka sa kinahinatnan ng proyekto.

"Malaking tulong sa amin. Tinuruan kami tungkol sa makabagong paraan ng pagtatanim upang mapalago ang ani, hindi tulad noon na lilinisin lang namin ang isang bahagi ng lote at saka tataniman. Sinanay din kaming gumawa ng garden beds na hindi namin binibigyan ngnpansin noon," pahayag ni Severino T. Sablay, 72, pinuno ng Team Talon, isa sa limang grupong bumubuo ng "New Greenland Farm."

"Nakikini-kinita namin ang magandang bukas dito. Tinuruan kami ng tamang pamamaraan ng pagtatanim at pag-spray ng pestisidyo sa aming mga halaman. Dati basta nagtanim lang kami at bahala na kung lalago," sambit ni Camilo Mendoza, 79, ng Team Sayaw.

Nasabi naman ni Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, kasalukuyang pinuno ng Task Force Zero Hunger, na mas maigi pa ang Covid 19 kaysa sa usapin ng kagutuman.

"Kahit papaano, may bakunang panlaban sa Covid 19. Walang bakuna para maibsan ang kagutuman," pahayag ni Nograles.

Sinabi ni DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Emily Padilla na may magagawa kung ang tao ay may pananaw "katulad ni Secretary (Bro. John) at ng ating mahal na alkalde (Joy Belmonte ng Quezon City). Sila ang mga pinuno na agad isinasagawa ang kanilang sinasabi."

Kahit si Mayor Belmonte ay hindi makapaniwala sa tagumpay na inaani ng proyekto.

"Dati ang aming proyekto ay limitado lamang sa pagtatanim sa likod-bahay. Natutuwa ako at napasimulan ang gulayan sa kalunsuran, at sa ngayon ay palalawakin pa namin ang sakop nito mula sa pitong ektarya hanggang 10 ektarya. At gusto kong pasalamatan si Secretary John Castriciones sa ibinigay niyang tulong," sabi ni Belmonte

Sa panig naman ni Sen. Bong Go, sinabi niya na napakahalaga ng proyektong vegetable garden sa lungsod upang makamtan ng bansa ang pagiging independyente nito sa pagkakaroon ng sapat na pagkain."