(Photo courtesy of Radyo Pilipinas)
MANILA, (PIA) -- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin ”Benhur” Abalos Jr. on Tuesday has urged barangay officials across the Philippines to encourage residents to adopt backyard gardening to ensure food for their families.
Sec. Abalos asked barangay officials to establish community gardens in support of President Ferdinand R. Marcos administration's major thrust to address hunger and ensure food security, during the national launching of the “Halinat magtanim ng protease at gulay” or HAPAG Barangay Project in Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City, an event that promotes backyard gardening and helps boost food security.
“What we are doing right now, baka sabihin n’yo simple lang halaman-halaman pero ‘yung simpleng maliliit na bagay lakihan mo ‘yan ang laki ng epekto niyan. And that is the symbolism of HAPAG (You might say that it's just a simple gardening activity, but these simple and small things when multiplied can have a big impact. And that is the symbolism of HAPAG),” he explained the impact 42,000 barangays can have in contributing to food production.
The HAPAG sa Barangay Project is in support to one of the thrusts of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in addressing hunger and ensuring food security in the country.
The activity, which carries the theme: Araw ng Paging Masustansya at Sapat, also aims to raise the awareness of stakeholders to nutrition, and the barangays as essential partners of the national government in addressing food insecurity in the country, through intensification and fostering of agricultural activities, such as the barangay community gardening.
“Sana magkaisa po tayo lalong lalo na są larangan ng food production. Sana ay tularan po tayo ng lahat ng 42,000 na barangay. Sana matutunan po natin ang lagat ng best practices na ginagawa namin dito sa barangay. Ang food production po ang number one na programa ng ating Presidente, Pangulong Bongbong Marcos (I hope we will be united especially in the field of food production. I hope all 42,000 barangays will follow our example. I hope we can learn the best practices that we do here in the barangay. Food production is the number one program of our President, President Bongbong Marcos),” Barangay Chairperson Lydia Ballesteros said, for her part.
Also present in support of the HAPAG initiative are National Nutrition Council's Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Milagros Elisa Federizo, DILG-Barangay Affairs Undersecretary Felicito Valmocina, Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Arnaldo Arevalo “Arnell” Ignacio, National Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas President Eden Chua Pineda, MMDA General Manager Procopio Lipana, National Youth Commission Chairperson Ronald Cardema; and Quezon City’s Sustainable Development Office Head Emmanuel Valasco, among others.
During the event, Abalos led other officials and stakeholders in inspecting the village’s Gulayan at Bulaklakan Integrated Urban Farm.
Quezon City village officials and residents of Barangay Holy Spirit have set up backyard and community vegetable gardens to help promote nutrition in their community and provide ready food for their families.
The DILG had earlier issued Memorandum Circular 2023-001 entitled “Implementation of the Halina’t Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay (HAPAG) sa Barangay Project."
Abalos said aside from urban farms and residential backyard gardens, community food gardens will contribute to ensuring food security.
The DILG chief also urged local officials to identify areas where they can establish their respective community gardens where residents can access food. (PIA-NCR)