073021 3

by Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol

Chairman, MinDA

"We could climb mountains, cross deep rivers and walk the rugged roads to chase the dream of a better life for our people."

This is the battlecry which I have always embraced since I joined public service as Mayor of my birthplace, Mlang, Cotabato in 1995 and the governance mindset which I had shared with those who worked with me since that time up to when I was Governor, Secretary of Agriculture and now, Chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority.

As a team leader, I am very pleased that many of those who joined me in government shared this passion of walking an extra kilometer to serve.

The other day, I was touched by photos which showed a MinDA team led by Director Joey Recimilla in a motorboat which brought them from the main town of Pagalungan in Maguindanao Sur Provijce to a riverside village, Layog.

The team engaged the town of Pagalungan in staging the first MinDA Vegetable Derby in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Pagalungan Mayor Salik Mamasabulod had asked MinDA to consider his town as the site of the MinDA Vegetable Derby, a season-long on-site demonstration and technology transfer of modern vegetable farming.

Pagalungan, one of the oldest towns in Central Mindanao, is the ancestral home of Cotabato's most beloved Governor, the late Datu Udtog Matalam, who governed an Empire Province which has now been divided into six provinces - North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, Maguindanao Norte and Maguindanao Sur.

What makes Pagalungan historically significant is the fact that it was in the town where the Mindanao Independence Movement was organized by Governor Matalam a few months after the Jabidah Massacre in 1968.

The MIM is believed to have influenced the organization of the Moro National Liberation Front with Nur Misuari as one of the prominent rebel leaders.

Pagalungan is also the hometown of the late Ustadz Hashim Salamat, founder of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which split from the MNLF and recently forged a peace agreement with the government.

The soil of Pagalungan is alluvial and very fertile but the farming system has remained primitive with farmers suffering from the perrenial flooding due to the backflow of water from the marsh during the rainy season.

Layog is inhabited by a mix of native Maguindanaos and Ilocano settlers some of whom came to the area before World War II.

Next month, August, the country's top vegetable seed companies will gather in Layog for the season-long MinDA Vegetable Derby.

The vegetable varieties which would be propagated during the activity belong to the so-called "Pinakbet" Group which includes Eggplants, Okra, Stringbeans, Squash, Tomatos and other low-land vegetables.

At the end of the Vegetable Derby, outstanding farmers will be awarded with prizes along with their partner seed companies while buyers of the "Pinakbet" vegetables will be invited to forge marketing agreements with the farmers.

The modern-day Pagalungan could yet prove to be the base of a new brand of revolution, one which would transform the town into a model of science-based farming system which could address poverty and improve productivity.

This is all because there are workers of government who could cross rivers, climb mountains and walk the long rugged roads just to serve.

  • No comments found

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0 / 300 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-300 characters
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.