Remote Siargao island to launch communal farming soon

CORREGIDOR, Dapa, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 02 August) – Residents of this remote island are the recipients of organic agricultural products from a community-driven communal farming project that will soon be launched here.

A collaboration of the Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others (PUSO) Foundation and Hardin Ng Pagbabago and some volunteers took part in the humanitarian effort on July 31 to provide rice and farm products to160 families in this island accessible via a 35-minute ride on a pumpboat.

Hardin Ng Pagbabago, a community-driven initiative project promoting peace and sustainability through organic farming was introduced to the island dwellers prior to the distribution of the relief goods.

Model and actress Katarina Rodriguez, Miss World-Philippines 2018, who resides in Siargao, has a new title, as ambassadress of Hardin Ng Pagbabago. She told residents of Corregidor that they should come together to work for common goal: to produce healthy food to help others.

Model-actress Katarina Rodriguez, Miss World Philippines 2018, has a new title. Rodriguez, who now resides in Siargo, Surigao del Norte, is the ambassadress of Hardin ng Pagbabago, a community-driven initiative for organic farming. Rodriguez speaks before the crowd during the distribution of relief goods and agricultural products in Barangay Corregidor, Dapa, Siargao Island on 31 July 2020.
MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

“Aside from rice, these agricultural products are from farmers of Harding ng Pagbabago and we want you to produce your own food here by doing organic gardening as a start. Corregidor is my most favorite island in Siargao simply because this island is endowed with natural wonders and good people,” Rodriguez said.

Farm produce such as squash, string beans and spices were donated by the Kababajinhan Nan Espoir in Gawad Kalinga Village in Barangay Lobogon in Del Carmen town.

Captain Wise Vicente Panuelos of General Luna Police Station, founder of this initiative, said: “What we really want is to attain a food-secure island. We highly encourage the youth sector in this village to be part of this initiative so it will run and sustain by itself. We will not allow young people to just sit and do nothing. We want everyone on this island to have a sense of ownership of our initiative project,” Panuelos said.

Corregidor village chair Rommel Porpayas who witnessed the distribution of relief goods, vowed to his constituents that they would establish a communal farm on the island.

Porpayas lamented that Corregidor and the rest of the 29 villages of Dapa get the majority source of agricultural products from other provinces in Mindanao.

“We envy other villages in Siargao organized by Hardin ng Pagbabago. We really want to have the same project here. Since there will be a cash-for-work program from the Department of Social Welfare and Development which is underway and we plan to use these resources for communal farm to jumpstart the project,” Porpayas said, adding they are thinking of ways to pool other resources and make collaboration work with both public and private stakeholders,

Several land owners on this island are throwing support behind the project.

Tony Adapon, a worker at the Dapa Municipal Government, offered a few hectares of  his land for communal farming.

“No rent. I would be happy to see my idle land become productive for the people,” said Adapon, who owns private cottages here.

Adapon added the project has sparked not just interest but also hope to the residents who learned about the bumper harvest of farmers in other villages and towns across Siargao Island.

Gregory Love, an American expat volunteer, said Hardin ng Pagbabago is a “ray of hope for the island to be self-sustainable.”  (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)