By: Ronna Marie A. Badua

February 10, 2017 – The DA Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) under the administration of Dir. Angel E. Enriquez in partnership with the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) gave away six (6) Small Scale Composting Facilities (SSCFs) to six (6) Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Camps on February 9, 2017 at Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The awarding was initiated by the Memorandum of Agreement between the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and the MILF in line with the commitment of the Philippine government to the peace process. Spotted during the awarding ceremony were: DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Alternate National Steering Committee Chair Atty. Ranibai D. Dilangalen; NCI National Focal Person Dir. Silvino Q. Tejada, CESO III; BSWM XII Technical Assistant in ARMM Engr. Leolito Siase who represented BSWM OIC Dir. Angel E. Enriquez; DA-ARMM Organic Agriculture Focal Person Jamer Guimba; OIC Chair of the GPH on the Cessation of Hostilities Philippine Army Major Carlos Sol; and MILF Camp Commanders/ Representatives of Badr, Omar, Rajamuda, Abubakar, Bilal and Busra.

“This event doesn’t only symbolize the sincere commitment of the government to the peace process but also their campaign to promote a sustainable rural development by providing livelihood to the beneficiaries that will eventually transform their lives”, says Mr. Muhammad Saleh, Camp Coordinator of Joint Task Force on Camp Transformation. He received the six (6) units of SSCFs with an estimated value of P1.8M (P 300,000 per unit) in behalf of the beneficiaries and the MILF Project Board.

 

In his speech, former BSWM Director Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada said: “The BSWM considers vermicast as a high quality source of nutrients and a good contributor in the improvement of soil physical condition and biodiversity.” He further added, “Crop production is highly dependent to the health of our soils. It is the basis for healthy food production. Healthy soil means healthy food. Thankfully, through the awarding of these composting facilities, we can improve the structure of the soil and increase the organic content so that the soil is more capable of holding nutrients and moisture.”

Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns and NCI Alternate Steering Committee Chair Atty. Dilangalen’s message was loud and clear, it is the right time to put down the arms and turn to farming in order to address the mandate of the Agriculture Chief Emmanuel F. Piñol in ensuring food affordability and sufficiency.

On this matter, Dir. Tejada supplemented by saying “The DA-DAR-DENR-DILG National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (DA NCI-SRD) and the DA BSWM will double their efforts in providing hands-on-training and seminars so that the SSCFs recipients will learn about proper management, operations and maintenance of the facility.

Focal Person Guimba, in behalf of DA-ARMM Secretary Alexander G. Alonto, in closing said, “We are teaching you how to fish, and not just giving you the fish to consume later and afterwards none to feed your family. This facility will come a long way with your cooperation and determination. We are one on the road of recovery, transformation and development. we will provide you with interventions to help you improve and provide income for the community.”

The awarding ceremony culminated with the demonstration on the proper operation of the Shredding Machine, Preparation of Substrates for the African Night Crawler/Vermicomposting.