Iloilo City Government entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Department of Agriculture for Urban Gardening – Pagkain para sa Masa Program in a ceremony at the City Hall Penthouse July 23.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III and Atty. Hansel Didulo, DA Assistant Secretary for the Visayas signed the MOA.
Espinosa encouraged beneficiaries to maximize the assistance to be given to them starting July 25.
Iloilo City is the pilot project site in Western Visayas where DA will provide technical expertise, seeds, fertilizers, equipment, and garden tools.
The City Government will provide the venue, jetmatic pumps, and prizes for successful growers.
The initiative will showcase a contest involving the city’s seven districts. It is intended to encourage recipients to engage into gardening, most specifically in producing their own vegetables.
The rationale is to teach the people on how to produce their own food, empower them to earn extra income from the product they will have and for them to have food safety.
“I am very happy of the notable partnership between the local and national government. In fact, all of us know that no matter how we say that there is industrialization in our country, we are still basically an agricultural country because our livelihood is still based on agriculture,” Espinosa said.
“With the help from the national government, it can only not give us good food but also we can be in our way to become self-sufficient in terms of food production,” he added.
Espinosa said Ilonggos should try to adapt or copy from other countries like Singapore and Israel because even if they are just small city states, they have urban gardening even on top of their buildings.
“Thank you President Duterte, for making and seeing to it that your people will have food security. We are very happy for this opportunity that we can provide food to our people,” Espinosa added.
Didulo said the President promised that it is his moral obligation to provide affordable and available food to the people.
“It is my wish that this will be sustainable even after the contest because our target for this program is for our people to be aware of what is urban gardening. The people should never stop planting with or without contest for I believe in the saying ‘kung merong itinanim, may aanihin’ (if you plant, you will have something to eat),” Didulo said. (Roger Paul Timothy Lacuarta/Iloilo City PIO)