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Palawan agri farm helps indigenous people turn to farming amid COVID-19 lockdown


A group of Indigenous People affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown in Palawan are turning to farming to meet their daily nutritional needs, with the help of an eco-tourism destination in the provincial capital.

Yamang Bukid Farm distributed 10,000 seedlings to members of the IP group at Barangay Sabang in Puerto Princesa whose livelihood depended heavily on tourism, which is currently at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the help of Yamang Bukid's farm workers, the IP members were trained how to grow their own crops to ensure they would have enough food supply in the months to come at a time when basic food commodity is scarce on the island due to the quarantine. 

"Malaking bagay po ito sa amin... ang hirap pumunta ng bayan para mamili. Malaking bagay ang inyong binigay sa amin na seedlings para makatulong sa aming mga mamayan," Barangay Tagabinet chair Juvylyl Bunda said in a video posted on Facebook. The IP members live around the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP), where the seedlings were planted.

Farm workers and beneficiaries of 10,000 seedlings planted during lockdown in Palawan. Yamang Bukid
Farm workers and beneficiaries of 10,000 seedlings planted during lockdown in Palawan. Yamang Bukid

 

Elizabeth Maclang, park superintendent at the PPSRNP, said the seedlings given to the beneficiaries will go a long way.

"Asahan po ninyo na ang tinanggap namin na ito na 10,000 seedling ay mapapayabong at mapapalago pa po ng mga community-based sustainable tourism natin na tourism lang talaga iyong kanilang inaasahan, dependent sila," Maclang said.

For her part, Alvie Pamugas, a resident agriculturist at the farm, said: "Lahat po kami is nagtulung-tulong po kami na mag-grow po ng lahat ng gulay na puwede nating kainin, kasi alam po namin na hindi lang po kami dito sa Yamang Bukid 'yung kailangan kumain, at hindi din po kami sa Yamang Bukid na kailangan mabuhay," 

"'Yung ibang tao na hindi po sila maka-trabaho kasi lockdown, so kailangan po namin sila tulungan para mabuhay din po sila," she added.

 

Yamang Bukid Vice President for Community Affairs Br. George Maria said farmers like him are also bearing the brunt of the lockdown and could empathize with the the IP members who lost their livelihood after tourism in the area ceased. 

"Sana makatulong ito sa lahat ng tinutulungan na communities... Thank you so much, kayo rin po ang inspirasyon namin sa mga panahon na ito," he said as he addressed the IP members and farm workers alike.

"Ramdam namin 'yung mga nararamdaman ng mga magulang kapag 'yung mga anak nila natutulog, iiyak ng gutom," he added. -MDM, GMA News