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An Empowered Woman’s Secret to a Successful Piggery

The part of women and its contributions to culture should never be underestimated in this predominantly male-controlled culture, like in the Philippines. Women-led organizations in the government, non-government organization, and private sector have molded and influenced national issues pertaining to governance and other economic-related happenings. More women and women organizations are now playing a proactive role towards national development. One good example is one Sustainable Livelihood Program Association based in Brgy. La Curva, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. The SLPA is an all-women group composed of hog raisers and has been contributing economically to their barangay. This is the story of Teresita “Nanay Tere” Salde who chose to be an empowered woman.

Hog raising in the Philippines has been a profitable business for Filipinos through the decades. Its fame is obviously seen among backyards of rural families. An average Filipino usually raises a small number of pigs to supplement their daily needs. While both parents are busy with their work, children may help in raising a few piglets until they reach their merchantable age. No wonder, more hogs are produced in backyards compared to commercial swine raisers. In Barangay La Curva, it was acknowledged during the conduct of Participatory Livelihood Issue Analysis that there are Pantawid Partner Beneficiaries engaged in backyard hog raising. Usually, traders in the municipality especially public market pork dealers roam within the barangay to buy hogs.

Nanay Tere having no background in agronomy and getting involved onto it is no longer new. She thought that there are lot of enthusiasts all over the world into farming acquiring direct knowledge and involvement thru experiments, pushed by their own advocacy. Through time, she was able to apply such belief in swine raising.

Meant to be a farmer and a lot more, coming across a program of Department of Social Welfare and Development about livelihood and training is almost a surprise to her. Nanay Tere’s interest on pig farming started way back 2008. However, this faded because no one could lead her to an agency that provides training. In 2016, the craving hit again but this time it was purely unintentional.

Going back to the program, she was able to get a short training on livestock raising. Acquiring the basics on pig production and being a member in an organization put her desire in place. It was a perfect timing. Since then, Nanay Tere’s desire to pursue pig raising never left her. In 2016, she started her small farm in La Curva with 3 weaners for fattening from the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD. She applied the feeding technique for swine she learnt at the training. Growth was good but transportation and feed cost pulled the profit. She lost enthusiasm that she almost wanted to quit.

At the moment, revenue is to be realized and even costs are piling up. Nanay Tere did not lose hope. She trusted that God is gracious to the one who preserve His land and the ecosystem. Despite the trials she bumped into due to barriers such as the existing market and operational expenses, she still pursued her business endeavor. As a whole, it is financially and emotionally draining for her.

The Basic Training on Swine Raising was a great help on her decision to put up a farm. “SLP is an enabler”, she added. Being a mother of seven, daily subsistence is really a struggle. But because of having hogs in her backyard, she was able to support their daily expenses and use some of the profit during emergency. She shared that there was a time when her youngest son was diagnosed with dengue and at the same day, she was bitten by a cat wherein free vaccine was not available. The pigs were her lifeline. All the medical expenses came from her small swine business.

“Moved by morals, I’m gaining while losing but at the end of the race, I am winning!” ends Nanay Tere.


Jaime V. Castillo Jr., Project Development Officer II, Occidental Mindoro

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Sustaining Livelihood through Enriched Skills and Social Responsibility

“When you are doing things that you consider precious, in turn, gives the best results for you. What results? Those that can’t, by any existing currencies, be bought, say, happiness, fulfillment and respect.” Ms. Myrna D. Blaza is a native from La Curva, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. She was raised from a family whose everyday survival lies on farming and backyard pig raising. Though exposed to tremendous epidemics and various unnecessary encounters, her love for pigs has never faded; hereby strengthened and remained still through years instead.

Right after marriage, she instantly ventured on pig farming. It was the time when she asked her husband to build a small pig house for her to operate and manage. Her being exposed to her parents’ chores as pig raisers and farmers armed her the necessary skills and knowledge relevant to survive a pig business. Eventually, she maneuvered the overall operation of her small business.

Though well-armed already of knowledge and practice on hog raising, she is still open to innovative ideas that can improve her skills in the said venture. Indeed, one of her very remarkable traits is a successful swine raiser. The provision of additional pigs from the Sustainable Livelihood Program of Department of Social Welfare and Development is not only a help for Nanay Myrna but also a challenge to consider. She feels that she has a social responsibility to fulfill in making the said project successful. Truly, she was able to live on her words knowing that the pigs given to her initially on May 2016 was properly taken care of. Hence, she was able to sell and buy new ones.

A mother always wants the best for the family no matter what expense she gets in doing so. Likely, Nanay Myrna did all she can for the welfare of her children. She believes that the quality and overall condition of the family reflects how good the mother is in providing their needs. Just like in swine management, the health and productivity of pigs are correlated to how best their handlers are in managing them. Though with seven children, Nanay Myrna was able to contribute to their needs. As fruits of her labor, she was able to support her children’s financial expenses even if they already have their own family. She also shared that there are many notable benefits this kind of business can offer. One is that when her daughter-in-law had a very critical condition during her child delivery wherein she had to sell her two fully-grown pigs to pay for the medical expenses.

Above all these things, Nanay Myrna thanks God for pouring her life with plenty of blessings and love which she then shared to her family she cherished most.


Jaime V. Castillo Jr., Project Development Officer II, Occidental Mindoro

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Sapat na Puhunan para sa Maunlad na Kabuhayan

Siya si Rey Mendoza, 38 taong gulang mula sa Barangay Rosacara, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro. Siya ay miyembro ng SEA-K sa loob ng walong buwan sa pag-asang maiaangat ang buhay katulong ang kanyang maybahay na si Mary Joy Mendoza na 28 taong gulang. Mayroon silang tatlong anak, dalawang lalaki at isang babae na sa kasalukuyan ay nag-aaral sa mababang paaralan ng Barangay Rosacara.

“Mula sa simple at mahirap na buhay, malaki ang naging katulungan ng mga programa ng DSWD sa aming pamilya. Una ay ang Pantawid Pamilya Program na kung saan isa sa aking mga anak ang naging benepisyaryo nito na tumutulong upang ito ay aming mapag-aral. At bilang isa ding benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilya, naging prayoridad ako ng Sustainable Livelihood Program, ang bagong programa na itinalaga ng DSWD para kami ay bigyan ng kapasidad na mapaunlad ang aming pamumuhay at mapalawak ang iba pa naming mga kakayahan,” ani Mang Rey.

Si Mang Rey ay isa sa dalawampu’t limang miyembro ng SEA-K sa kanilang barangay at naatasang maging Chairman ng kanilang grupo na nabigyan ng pagkakataong makahiram ng puhunan na nagkakahalaga ng siyam na libong piso (9,000.00) upang gamitin sa kanyang maliit na tubigan.   “Ngunit ang perang tinanggap ko ay inilaan at ginamit ko sa pagbili ng 7 biik. Dito ko pinagkasya ang pera dahil huli na naming natanggap o dumating ang pera para sa aking proposal na pagbili ng abono sa tubigan,” wika niya.

Sa mga nakalipas na buwan, katulong niya ang kanyang asawa sa pagpapakain at pagpapaligo ng mga hayop at iba pa nilang pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan gaya ng maliit nilang sagingan. “Yung mga gastusin sa araw-araw na pagkain ng mga alagang baboy lalo ngayon ang mahal ng mga bilihin at iyong ibang pangangailangan pa namin sa loob at labas ng bahay ay hindi madali. Kami ay nahirapan pero nakakaya din gawan ng paraan kahit papano. May maliit kaming sagingan kung saan doon namin kinukuha ang iba pang pangangailangan. Isang malaking tulong talaga ang SEA-K sa amin dahil natuto kaming magbudget ng pera at nakakapag-ipon na kami ngayon,” tugon ni Rey at Mary Joy.

“Noong mga panahon na wala pa ang SEA-K, malaki ang pagkakaiba ng buhay namin noon. Mahirap talaga. Sa ngayon ay masasabi ko sigurong sapat na ang isa sa mga tulong na natanggap namin mula sa programa ng SLP dahil nagkaroon kami ng panibagong negosyo at dagdag na mapagkakakitaan dahil dati sa tubigan lang at maliit na sagingan. Plano naming ipagpatuloy at palaguin ang kasalukuyan naming hanapbuhay”, dagdag pa ng mag-asawa. Sa halagang 9,000.00 na puhunang ipinahiram sa kanya, siya ay may lingguhan ng savings na nagkakahalaga ng 126.00 at balik-kapital na 2,880.00 tuwing ika-apat na buwan.

Nitong nakaraang mga buwan ay naibenta niya ang kanyang alagang baboy kung saan nag-iwan lamang siya ng isa upang gawing inahin upang mapanatili ang kanilang proyekto. Ang pinagbentahan ay ibinili niya muli ng walong biik na siya naman ulit nilang aalagaan. Sa kasalukuyan, sila ay nagkaroon ng kita na nagkakahalaga ng anim na libo (6,000.00) kada buwan. “Gamitin ng maayos para sa negosyo at ayon sa sariling kakayahan ang pera na ipinahiram at hindi ginagastos sa kung saan,” wika ni Mary Joy. Maliban dito, nakapagtayo din ng maliit na tindahan ang mag-asawa na isa pa sa mga pinagkukunan nila ng panggastos sa araw-araw.

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Kwento ng pagbabago tungo sa kaunlaran

Siya si Rollie De Castro, 19 taong gulang mula sa Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. Isa siya sa mga mapalad na napiling maging iskolar ng DSWD sa ilalim ng programa nito na Sustainable Livelihood Program o SLP. Napili niya ang kursong bokasyonal na Welding at kamakailan lamang ay matagumpay niya itong natapos.

Si Rollie ay ika-apat sa anim na magkakapatid na tubong Calapan. Ang kanyang ama ay dating welder sa Saudi Arabia na ngayon ay nakabili na ng sarili niyang tricycle. Ang kanyang ina naman ay butihing maybahay.

Aminado si Rollie na ang pamilya nila ay maibibilang sa mga pinakamahihirap sa bansa, kaya naman bata pa lamang ito ay pinangarap na niyang makatulong sa mga magulang. Habang lumalaki, nakita ni Rollie kung paano nagpursigi ang kanyang mga magulang na maigapang ang kanilang pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay. Ngunit sa laki ng kanilang pamilya, madalas ay hindi pa rin sumasapat ang sweldo ng kanyang ama. Kaya naman, labis ang pasasalamat ng kanyang ina nang mapabilang bilang benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) ng DSWD.

Laking tuwa din ni Rollie at ng kanyang pamilya nang maging iskolar siya sa kursong Civil Engineering. “Sa dami po naming magkakapatid, hirap po si mama at papa na pag-aralin kaming lahat ng sabay-sabay. Tapos po ako ng first year college noong iskolar ako ni Mayor. Pero napatigil dahil napabarkada, naimpluwensyahan po ng hindi maganda”, daddag ni Rollie. Madalas ay lumiliban siya sa klase at hindi din nakakadalo sa mga araw ng pagsusulit. Dahil dito, napagpasyahan niya at ng kanyang mga magulang na tumigil muna sa pag-aaral at sa halip ay ilaan ang pera para sa iba pa niyang kapatid.

Hindi naging madali para kay Rollie na mapag-iwanan ng kanyang mga kaibigan at kaklase. Marami sa mga ito ay nasa ika-apat na taon na sa kolehiyo at magsisipagtapos na sa kursong napili. Hindi niya maiwasan na makaramdam ng pagsisisi sa naging desisyon nito noon.

Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat ng nangyari, pursigido pa din ito na matulungan ang mga magulang kaya naman humanap ito ng paraan upang makabawi. Mula sa isang empleyado ng DSWD, nalaman niya na mayroong proyekto ang SLP para sa mga nagnanais matuto ng bagong kasanayan. “Pinapunta po ako sa city hall para daw magpasa ng requirements pero hindi ako nakaabot kaya inabangan ko na lang ‘yung susunod na batch pagkatapos ng isang taon. Awa naman po ng Diyos ay nakapasok ako,” salaysay ni Rollie.

Nagsimulang magsanay si Rollie sa kursong welding noong ika-6 ng Hulyo 2017. “Masaya po dahil natututo kami ng bagong kaalaman. Nakakapagod tsaka masakit sa mata pero hindi naman kasi maiiwasan dito sa trabaho namin”,aniya Rollie. Sa kabila nito, nagpupursigi pa rin siya na matapos ito dahil alam niyang ito ang daan upang makahanap ng magandang trabaho kung saan kikita siya ng malaki at makakatulong sa kanyang pamilya. Sa katunayan, siya ang napiling lider ng kanilang grupo habang ito ay nasa training.

Laking pasasalamat niya na naging bahagi ng programang tumutulong sa mga tulad niyang gustong iangat ang antas ng pamumuhay sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng bagong kasanayan.

Lubos ang pasasalamat ni Rollie sa lahat ng institusyon na umalalay at hindi siya iniwan hanggang sa huli upang maging bahagi siya ng programang ito kabilang na ang DSWD, Southwestern College of Maritime, Business, and Technology, at TESDA na nagtulong-tulong upang maihatid ang programang pangkabuhayang ito sa ilalim ng SLP. Payo ni Rollie sa mga kabataang tulad niya na naligaw ng landas, “Matuto kayong tumayo mula sa pagkakadapa. Iwan niyo sa nakaraan ‘yung mga kamaliang nagawa niyo at magpursigi para magsimula ng panibagong buhay. Maging bukas lang palagi sa mga oportunidad. Maraming tao ang nandyan para tumulong sa inyo.”

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“A new breed of field workers cum information officers “

Information Officers multiplies as it sends provincial counterparts on a three-day training.

Twenty seven (27) DSWD staffs from MIMAROPA region representing various programs attend the Social Marketing Training Workshop on Journalism, Photography, Adobe Photoshop and Video Production in Makati Palace Hotel September 20-22, 2017.

Without sufficient background, participants bravely try out altering photos, hitting the record button, plotting information material and writing news feeds soon after the resource speakers teach and demonstrate the know-how.

Ms. Diana Faye Magbanua, a segment producer of GMA, lay down the basic rules in capturing and editing stills emphasizing the elements that contribute to achieving that attention-worthy photo.

Field workers become scriptwriters, cameramen and production assistant as they try the production side.  Participants apply their newly-acquired knowledge such as panning and titling which they do not usually hear in the workplace.

Adding more credibility and prominence, Mr. Joseph Cataan, executive producer of CNN, take a different route in discussing writing stories in broadcast media. Starting his session with the infamous “Tatlong Bibe”, everyone gets hook and stay up to the last words thirsting for more information if not only for the limited time.

“I am more ready and equipped now compared to when I first came here”, says Clint Diocadez, Cluster Grievance and Monitoring Officer of Pantawid from Romblon.

Jeanald Herrera, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Oriental Mindoro jokingly say she is now ready to take a new career in video production.

Summing up, everyone accepts the challenge and is fully ready to plunge into the new role with high goals of delivering newsworthy material in their respective areas. (Christine Paras)

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Strength in Numbers

“Hindi ako nagsisi kahit madami sila…medyo hirap, pero kinakaya tsaka masaya naman (I do not regret having many children…it is sometimes hard, but we get through it and we are happy)” said Marlyn Geonzon, a mother of ten.

Being economically challenged and having more children to feed, Marlyn and his husband, Maclyn, work hard each day to support the needs especially the education of their children.


Marlyn and Maclyn inside their house in Roxas, Palawan

One Big, happy family

In a typical Filipino family, the father is in charge of earning a living for the family while the mother is expected to take care of the children. But Marlyn and Maclyn tend to defy the norm as they consider each other as their ultimate partner in life. Marlyn and Maclyn support each other in providing for their family; however, both of them do not have stable jobs as Maclyn works as a tricycle driver while Marlyn is a food vendor.

They met in 1988 and both have been working hard since then. As their family is growing, the couple knows that they need to earn more in order to sustain the needs of their children.  Both of them wake up at 3:00 in the morning to cook arroz caldo and other viands for lunch which Marlyn sells in government offices and houses near them. She also sells bilo-bilo, pancit, and rice porridge for merienda. When the clock hits 5 in the afternoon, she goes back home to prepare barbecue which she sells in front of their house. Marlyn was able to get a job as a Public Service Foreman in a Job Order Contract in the Municipal Assessor’s Office in 2006, but she continues selling food in their office for extra income.

According to Marlyn, they are lucky enough to be given ten obedient and wonderful children, of which five are girls while five are boys. And despite being economically challenged, the couple was able to give Mark Francis, Mae Sheila Ann, Mary Lovely Jane, Marc Lester, Marc Philip, Mary Apple Rose, Michelle Ivy Zhielaxy, Maclyn Jr., May Angel Catherine and Michael John Irish access to good education.


Getting through life’s hardship

Marlyn and Maclyn strive hard to provide the needs of their children. Just like most parents, they prioritize their children more than themselves. And with the help of certain programs of the government and their family’s efforts and hard work, Marlyn said that they have somehow get through with life’s hardship.

It was in 2009 that they have been listed as a partner-beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which had greatly helped in their family’s finances. Marlyn is serving as a Parent Leader in their cluster since 2011. “Ang programang ito ng gobyerno ay napakaganda dahil kung ihahambing natin ang panahon noong wala pa ang Pantawid ay maraming palaboy-laboy sa lansangan at hindi nag-aaral (This program of the government is helpful because before the intervention of Pantawid, children are seen in the streets instead of studying in school),” she explained.

She is thankful of the program as it helped them in financing for the education and health of their children. Together with the cash grant that they receive and the scholarships that her children obtain from several government office and other organizations, four of her children had already graduated college – Mark Francis, their eldest graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Programming; Mae Sheila Ann graduated Secondary Education; Mary Lovely Jane in Business Administration; while Marc Lester finished his degree in Electrical Engineering. Even though the grant they receive from Pantawid is not much, it helped them a lot especially since it has been difficult for them to send all of their children in school all at the same time.


Working together for a bright future

Children growing up in big families are said to become happier and more successful in life. The Geonzon Family might be a big one, but they believe that as long as they are together, they can overcome anything. It might take a while before all of them graduate from college, but they believe that everything will be worth it once it happened. Little by little, they can soon reach their dreams, knowing that they have their strength in numbers. ###

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Finding The Way Forward

For the economically challenged households, getting through life with their small income is difficult. And as they struggle to ensure that their family can be able to eat at least three meals per day, some of them look at education as more of a privilege than a need. Of the 2.8 million adults in a poor household, on average, 1.6 million (58 percent) completed primary schooling at most, one million (35 percent) either reached or completed secondary schooling, while the remaining 0.2 million (7 percent) reached college.

But Henny’s family begs to differ. Although her family belongs to what the government refer to as the marginalized sector, they are on their way to pursue their dreams believing that education is a key to their success.
Genuine smile of success

Henny smiles widely in front of their house

Living in a small abode in Brgy. Bangon, Odiongan, Romblon is the family of Henny Fodulla Fabellon. Henny, a mother of three, is one of the mothers who work tirelessly to get their children to finish college. Henny and his husband, Willy, do not have a stable source of income but they are able to send their children to school to provide them good education.

Henny and Willy are tenant farmers with only enough income to provide for their family’s every day needs. To add up to their income, Henny takes whatever job she is given, like sewing nipa shingles for 120 pesos for 40 pieces and doing laundry services. They manage to get their everyday food in their farm and backyard garden.

Sending their children to school is hard, but getting all of them to enter college is harder. But for Henny, anything is possible with a considerable amount of hard work and determination. She managed to get her eldest child, John Rey to finish BS Agricultural Engineering in 2015. John Rey passed the board exam last year in August and he is now working at the Department of Agriculture in Manila.  Her second child, Pauline Kris is now on her 4th year as a Civil Engineering student at Romblon State University (RSU). Meanwhile, her youngest child, Clarize Mae is a 3rd year Information Technology student, also at RSU.


Getting there

Henny never thought that she can be able to send her children to college given their economic status. She almost gave up when John Rey and Pauline Kris entered college both at the same time. Henny and his husband are giving the best they can to send all of them to school but sending two of them in college was difficult. Henny asked Pauline Kris if she could stop schooling to give way for her older brother. But Pauline Kris refused. She wanted to continue her studies because that is her dream.

It breaks her heart seeing her children cry hence, Henny looked for ways to let all of her children continue going to school. She gets a loan in their cooperative and asked her friends for help. She even sold sack of rice they harvested in their farm which is supposedly for their own consumption. “Sabi ko nun, bahala na kung anong makain namin. Ang mahalaga makapasok sila, (I told myself that it does not matter what we will eat, as long as my children can go to school, that’s all that matter),” Henny recounted. Henny was able to enroll her children to school that year, but she continuously worries about the future of her children’s education. Timely enough, a year after it happened, Pauline Grace was listed as one of the student-grantees of the Expanded Students’ Grants-In-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA), which has helped Henny and his family greatly.

ESGPPA is a program of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) which provides scholarships to beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. Beneficiaries will receive a maximum of Php 60,000 for tuition fee, textbooks/learning materials and allowance for transportation, board and lodging and other school supplies.

According to Henny, Pauline Kris spends the grant she is receiving to help her mother with their daily expenses. Pauline Kris shares her money to her siblings especially whenever Henny and Willy cannot provide them their allowances and school expenses.


Education as the key to success

Edukasyon ang tanging pamana ng magulang sa kanyang mga anak (Education is the only inheritance that a parent can give to their children).

Parents, especially from the small-earner, working class are often heard saying this phrase to their children. True indeed, education is an eternal treasure a parent can give to their children which cannot be taken away from them. Henny’s family believes that education is the main pathway to extend their life across poverty and lead their life forward. They believed that poverty is not a hindrance; but more of a challenge for them to push harder.

There are times when Henny thinks of giving up her children’s education. But whenever she sees them willing and determined to finish their studies, she stops worrying and continue working in order to achieve her dreams and her children’s dreams. Although she gets tired, she never fails to wear her smile to let her children see that they can get through whatever difficulty life may bring. ###


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The Seven Gardens of Barangay Mendoza

A member beneficiary from the Purok Mauranen cluster taking out weeds in their garden

Within the mountainous land bound area of Barangay Mendoza in Palawan lays seven bio-intensive gardens in Sitio Taliwara/Little Baguio, Purok Mauranen, Purok Durian, Purok Malungkot, Purok Old site, Purok Proper 1, and Purok Proper 2. It is with the aim to address malnutrition and food insecurity that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program enjoins program beneficiaries from these communities in adopting bio-intensive-gardening (BIG).

BIG is a gardening technique where indigenous seeds and organic fertilizers are used to grow vegetables. It is an organic agricultural system which focuses on simultaneously increasing biodiversity. This technique is most suitable to remote areas as it focuses on achieving maximum yields using small patch of land. The difference of this technique to the common farming method is that seeds are planted in more saving arrangements so that farmers can utilize the land more efficiently. This will allow them to plant different kinds of vegetables for them to consume.

Barangay Mendoza has been continuously on top of the list of barangays in the municipality with the highest rate of malnutrition. It was found out in last year that out of ten children in the barangay, eight of them are malnourished.  The family development session (FDS) of Pantawid was used as an avenue to discuss the necessary actions to undertake in order to resolve the problems in the area. And with insights from the FDS with the topic on environmental education and information and organic agriculture orientation, the conduct of BIG project was proposed.

Through the help and initiative of their municipal link, Valerie Magallado, each clusters conducted their own group meetings separately in the leadership of their parent leaders. In here, they discussed groupings and distributed tasks among each group to take up with their community garden. They have also discussed and agreed upon schedules to take turns in caring for the garden. After several meetings, the community gardens were established in December 2016.

For the seeds that they use, some usually comes from member’s own backyard garden while some were bought from the market. Vegetables which are usually planted are eggplants, okra, tomatoes, string beans, radish, squash, and sili among others. They also plant flowers and other plants to repel unwanted insects in their crops.

Partner-beneficiaries and their garden in Purok Proper 2 (upper left), Purok Proper 1 (upper right), Purok Old site (left center), Purok Malungkot (right center), Purok Durian (lower left), and Sitio Taliwara/Little Baguio (lower right).

Few months after the establishment, there have been bountiful harvests from the garden. It was decided that the yield will be sold to members with a price relatively cheaper than those in the markets. The money which they accrued from their yield is saved for the future uses of the group since it was a collective effort. Some of the clusters wanted their money to be used as capital to buy female swine. The piglets of the swine will be distributed to each of its members rotationally for their personal consumption.  For their first harvest, each cluster has gained 500 to 3,000 pesos.

Seeing the benefits from the garden in the long term, most of the members of the seven clusters want to sustain the project as it provides them cheaper and nutritious food for their families to consume. “Dati yung mga bata wala talagang makain dito sa amin lalo na’t mahal ang mga pagkain, pero ngayon kumukuha na lang kami sa garden namin para may mapakain sa mga anak namin (Children in our community before do not have anything to eat since food is expensive, but now with the vegetables from our garden, we can already provide them food to eat),” said Emmi Delaguna, parent leader of Purok Proper 2. More than the money they get, the members said that they can also practice bayanihan which strengthens their sense of camaraderie.

But while most of the members showed eagerness to perform their assigned duties and responsibilities to maintain their garden, members of some clusters showed disinterest due to problems with the location, which is in the case of Purok Malungkot and Purok Proper 1. The garden of Purok Malungkot was situated near their barangay hall which is far from the houses of other members. Therefore, some members find it inconvenient to go to their community garden as they also have their own backyard gardens at home. Meanwhile, in Purok Proper 1, members are having a hard time watering the garden since they only rely on the river near it, which most of the time dries out. When asked about their future plans, parent leader Melanie Cadenas of Purok Proper 1 and parent leader Adeliza Heredero of Purok Malungkot said that their members think of finding another location for the garden to start again.

In the initial phase of project implementation, the community gardens have successfully served as main or alternative source of nutritious food for the partner beneficiaries. And despite challenges being encountered in the project, it is hoped that hunger and food insecurity among the Pantawid beneficiaries in the area will be eliminated in the long term, in order to reduce the impact of poverty in the poor Filipino families. The project is also set towards improving and increasing vegetable production and consumption in the succeeding months by tapping additional partners such as the Department of Agriculture, to teach the members with the methods of sustainable food production. ###

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