Citing a pattern of success when people work together to help farmers boost production, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday led the caravan of government agencies all the way up to barangay Kalabugao in Impasugong, Bukidnon.
Composed of the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Information Agency, Impasugong local government unit (LGU), and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the group turned over farm equipment units and postharvest facilities worth P15.86 million to farmers in that remote rural plateau. It is near the border of Gingoog, Agusan del Norte and Bukidnon province. Most of the inhabitants are indigenous folks.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, who is the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Northern Mindanao, in speech said “Food security is a pathway to peace and we know how food security contributes to peacebuilding.”
The government’s P15.86 million worth of farm inputs and equipment support to Kalabugao farmers were turned over to Impasugong town mayor Anthony A. Uy. These postharvest facilities and crop-raising aid include units of mobile flash dryer and mechanical rice thresher; loads of fertilizer; corn and vegetable seeds; hybrid rice and sorghum seeds; irrigation system; and multi-purpose drying pavement with shed.
The livestock agribusiness interventions also include poultry egg incubators, farm animals and other barnyard fowls.
Three groups will then manage these government’s agricultural support: One is the 1,000-strong AGHIMICU (Agtolawon-Higaonon-Mintapod-Cumadon) organization; Hagpa Women’s Organization (HWO) and the other is the equally strong Movement and Alliance for Advocacy of Men in Action (MAAMA).
Encouraged by the outpouring of support from the government, Impasugong town mayor Anthony Uy said “As the agencies and communities work together, the government’s efforts in ensuring food security—through the Task Force-ELCAC—is paying off.”
“The TF-ELCAC, in coordination with Impasugong LGU and all concerned government agencies, have started pouring assistance in Kalabugao. This would help make our IP lives easier, hence, they will become productive members of their respective communities,” the mayor said.
Secretary Andanar, on the same occasion, graced the unveiling ceremony of the conceptual framework to start the setting up of the Indigenous Peoples Economic Zone (IPEZ). Connecting roads also form part of the IPEZ.
“I am happy to know that the Lumad and settlers here in barangays Kalabugao and Hagpa are in Bayanihan in carrying out the goals of the IP Economic Zone, which will soon be the commercial hub of the IPs,” Andanar said.
Department of Agriculture Asec. Christine Evangelista, Brig. General Oliver Vesliño, Brig. General Ferdinand Barandon, and Lt. Col. Edgardo Talaroc Jr, also did their share in inspiring farmers during the turnover ceremony and IPEZ launching at the village’s covered court—along with the regional directors, the media, Kalabugao Punong Barangay Jesus Chavez, Punong Barangay Eber Suday of Hagpa, and barangay folks.
The program ended, and as the departing caravan winds a bend, Kagawad Eutropio Jamilo and farmer Alex Dupeno commented, “Secretary Martin Andanar is the only Malacañang official who has visited Kalabugao.”
It could be so, because the litany of unfinished roadworks, steep cliffs, and deep precipice along narrow and winding mountainside ways are no walk in the park for anyone.
But CORDS Sec. Martin Andanar went up there. (RLRB/PIA Bukidnon)