Archive | September 1st, 2014

Restoring peace via organic farming in Lanao

Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte — Tingintingin, a hinterland barangay seven kilometers south of this municipality, is the home to farmers who devote to organic farming in Northern Mindanao.

This village is used as a war field between government troopers and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Years of armed conflicts pummeled this community, especially during the all-out war declaration against MILF of former President Joseph Estrada in March 2000.

But, this war-torn village has evolved into a vast plantation of rice, corn, and peanuts.

Christians and Muslims alike agreed to till their lands using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural by not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. As such, they recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures, employ crop rotation, used green manures and legumes, observe careful use of water resources and good animal husbandry.

Malic O. Macabato, village chief, said he and the rest of barangay council members adopted organic farming to sustainably support their farmers.

Macabato emphasized that farming is the first step to combat hunger and to achieve a peaceful community.

He noted that conflict will not erupt if hunger is addressed, especially now that convergence efforts among national and local government agencies and civil society organizations are underway.

Tingintingin, with 204 registered household wherein 132 are Pantawid Pamilya members, has celebrated its first festival dubbed as Organic Upland Rice Harvest Festival on July 22 this year.


Convergence efforts underway

DSWD is one of various national agencies who poured assistance to this village.

Aside from Pantawid Pamilya that serves most of the population, the Sustainable Livelihood Program under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) modality extended loans with zero interest rate to at least 25 members of Tingintingin Upland Rice Growers SKA on September 6, 2013.
Each of the members received P10,000, said Maria Lani Bularon, former project development officer of SLP in Kauswagan. According to her, they used the money in growing upland rice in which they harvested it during the village’s harvest festival last month.

Aside from upland rice, farmers also grow corns, peanuts, coconuts, and mung beans. The Department of Agriculture provided the seeds while the local government unit provided a mobile rice mill.

Farmers need not to rent and go down as far as seven kilometers for a dryer in the Poblacion area here. World Food Programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and a non-governmental organization constructed a solar dryer while the local government unit constructed the storage facilities for the farmers’ produce.
Meanwhile, DSWD’s KALAHI CIDSS – National Community Driven Development, under the PAMANA modality constructed a peace center, health center, and day care center.


War no more


Macabato is optimistic that arm conflict will erupt no longer.

“I can assure that no one among us here will rebel against the government,” he said, adding that rebels have started to lay down arms and embrace the development because of each in the community are given importance.

“Makakasabi talaga ako na kaya namin talaga ang pagbabago dahil sa tulong ng DSWD at iba’t-ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno. Ngayon, talagang nasa matuwid na daan kami,” said Macabato. (I can prove to everyone that we can make a difference because of DSWD and other national government agencies’ intervention. Now, we are on the right path)
He disclosed that two former MILF commanders and an MNLF commander have been actively involved in organic farming.

The former rebels were engaged in numerous skirmishes and encounters against the military before that took a toll on their lives and those of their families. Now, they live peacefully as they are reintegrated to the mainstream society.

Recently, this town through Mayor Rommel Arnado received the Galing Pook Award for its ‘From Arms to Farms’ program.###smu

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IP woman becomes resilient to disaster with government help

Gingoog City – Marietta Salinay still could not imagine how she and her family survived the landslide that swept their house when Tropical Storm Agaton hit their village last January this year. She could still vividly remember how she kept a hold of her children while they ran from the muddy avalanche that, in just a few minutes, destroyed their little shelter they called home.

Marietta’s family was one of the 32 families in Barangay Eureka in this City whose houses were completely destroyed due to Agaton. They are indigenous peoples coming from the Higaonon Tribe.

The local government unit of Gingoog City extended their assistance to these families while identifying Talangisog, a safer location for the families to transfer residence to.

“When we arrived here in Talangisog, we felt that we were transferred in a jungle unfit for residing,” Marietta said. “It had no access to water or electricity; no health centers and no schools, and it was 40 kilometers away from the market place,” she remembers. “Because of the disaster, we lost our sources of income, we had no livelihood.”

According to Marietta, her family and the rest of the evacuees had to find ways how to survive in the new location. They built their own shelters made of leaves and trees with their bare hands; searched and found a small water source – which is just about 50 meters away from their community, and used batteries as alternative source to power.

“It was difficult in the next few months. Personally, I felt like we were abandoned during those very difficult times,” she says.

When Marietta became a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya, she admitted that she was wrong about the government’s lack of support. “I thought that just because we are IPs and we live so far away from the bustles of the city, we are good as forgotten. How wrong was I,” she shared.

Marietta explained that Pantawid Pamilya has made dramatic changes in their lives. The cash grant that they have been regularly receiving has helped them provide food and school needs for their children. “the government also made a way to send an Alternative Learning System (ALS) Teacher in our village so that our children can continue with their schooling. We can now also buy medicines as a precaution in case we might get sick,” she says.

And because of the same program, she was introduced to the Sustainable Livelihood Program in which she was able to open her own food stall which she has installed in the city market.

“The program taught me how to manage my small business, how to display my food in such a way that I could get many customers to buy them,” she says. “Every day, I could earn as much as P250 per day, which is really a big help already.” As an initiative, she also plants vegetables at Talangisog and sells them as well at her food stall.

Marietta feels like she has gained a new life knowing that the government is there for her and her family during this difficult period of her family’s life. “Kaya ko pala ang pagbabago, dahil naging matatag ako na makapaghanap ng mabuting buhay sa aking pamilya kahit naging biktima kami ng kalamidad,” Marietta says.###smu

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Listahanan Prepares for Data Utilization Awards

To recognize the Local Government Units’efforts in providing services and assistance to poor families, the Department of Social Welfare and Development through the Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) will be conducting the first-ever Gawad Listahanan or the Data Utilization Awards this year. Furthermore, this activity is aimed at promoting the convergence of all social protection stakeholders on the identified poor based on Listahanan’s first round assessment conducted way back in 2009, to effectively address the different aspects of poverty.
Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is an information management system that the government uses in identifying who and where the poor are and is being spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It aims to address poverty reduction through a scientific and target-focused strategy.
The Data Utilization Awards is open to Municipal Government, City Government, and Provincial Government. The Local Government Units will be nominated to the competition provided that they have an active Memorandum of Agreement with DSWD in Listahanan Data Sharing,must have funded and implemented social protection programs and services providing direct service to the Listahanan identified-poor, must have been able to integrate Listahanan in all its social marketing activities, raising the awareness on the use of the targeting system in identifying beneficiaries of social protection programs and services, and lastly,the local government unit should be 100% compliant to the required feedback report as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement.
In Northern Mindanao,validation of LGU nominees have been conducted in preparation for the final selection of the regional nominees for the three categories. This awarding will be conducted every year starting this 2014.

Written by Mitzie Santiago, DSWD

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September 2014