Govt launches Bangsamoro farm program
The agriculture department has launched a farmers’ assistance program in former Moro rebel camps in Maguindanao and Lanao provinces as part of an initial confidence building measure under the Bangsamoro peace process.
Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala led the ceremony on January 6, 2016 with Philippine government peace panel member Senen Bacani in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao for the turn over of P25.9 million worth of agricultural equipment and materials to farmers in former camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Maguindanao and Lanao.
“Mahirap mangarap ng katahimikan kung walang laman ang ating tiyan [You cannot dream of peace when you are hungry],” Alcala said during the ceremony.
The program, an initiative of the Task Force Camps Transformation, aims to convert the former rebel camps into productive and peaceful communities and is part of the so-called normalization process required in the agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
During the ceremony, six heavy-duty 90 horse power farm tractors with accessories were turned over to farmers. The farmers were also provided with six cassava graters, three hand tractors, 1,200 bags of palay seeds and fertilizers, and 1,200 bags of corn seeds and fertilizers.
Some 500 seedlings of rambutan, lanzones, and jackfruit were distributed. The program also included 300 coffee seedlings, 200 achuete seedlings and 300 guyabano seedlings.
The program is part of the rehabilitation program to create a peaceful and prosperous region for the Bangsamoro.
In conflict-affected areas such as MILF Camp Abubakar as-Siddique, Camp Badre, and Camp Omar ibn al-Khattab in Maguindanao; Camp Rajamuda in North Cotabato and Maguindanao; Camp Bilal in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; and Camp Busrah Somiorang in Lanao del Sur, some 24 carabaos were distributed.
Alcala said government’s hope is for them to harvest more than what they need so that they can have extra income to send their children to school. (Eileen A. Mencias)