AFP, DSWD ‘green’ deal to cushion Covid-19 impact

URBAN FARM. Lt. Col. Celeste Frank Sayson (right), group commander of the 7th Civil Relations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), surveys an urban farm at the Department of Social Welfare and Development field office in Las Piñas City on Friday (May 7, 2021). The AFP and DSWD signed a deal to promote urban farming that will help promote food security, especially in the depressed sector of society. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The economic impact of the pandemic is most telling in depressed communities.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – National Capital Region (NCR) and 7th Civil Relations Group (CRG) of the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRSAFP) aim to alleviate their conditions by combining projects that will promote sustainable community-based food production.

The 7th CRG CRSAFP’s “Raise to One Million Gardens in NCR” and the DSWD-NCR’s “Gulayan sa Barangay” projects will incorporate a singular community support structure.

Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the DSWD field office in Barangay Talon Kuatro, Las Piñas City on Friday, emphasizing the importance of creating resilient communities by integrating education and learning on multifaceted urban farming.

The MOU covers vegetable urban gardening, poultry production, animal husbandry, mushroom production, growing of tilapia and hito (catfish) through community fish pens, vermiculture, and bee farming.

The MOU was signed by Lt. Col. Celeste Frank Sayson of the Philippine Army, the group commander of the 7th CRG, and Vicente Gregorio Tomas, director of the DSWD-NCR.

Held at the Pantawid Garden, the event was also attended by local officials and community volunteers.

The “Raise to One Million Gardens in NCR” project supports Republic Act 11310, also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act, the national poverty reduction strategy and human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years.

Support for NTF-ELCAC

Sayson said the CRSAFP also supports the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) whole-of-nation approaches.

“This event is a manifestation of this commitment. Urban farming project is a sustainable solution to the scarcity of food experienced by some families in the communities of NCR,” he said in his speech.

Among the NTF-ELCAC’s projects is the Barangay Development Program that provides a recipient village, identified as a former front of communist groups, with PHP20 million for farm-to-market roads, classrooms, water and sanitation systems, health stations, and livelihood projects.

Sayson also challenged community pantry organizers and their recipients to join the urban gardening project.

“After all, most of the goods placed at community pantries where people line up are vegetables. The highest form of ‘bayanihan’ is when people work together to procure their food,” he said.

Tomas said their collaboration with the AFP will uplift the welfare of affected communities and sustain the DSWD’s programs and projects that deliver basic services and essential goods to the less fortunate.

The AFP is encouraging visitors to see its Garden Number One, a prototype urban farm of the “Raise To One Million” project inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. (PR)

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