Agriculture is the backbone of the Philippine economy and our dear farmers play the most vital role in providing the Filipinos sources of food. In the November 15 episode of Iba ‘Yan, host Angel Locsin met the farmers of Licab, Nueva Ecija and heard how they have been affected by the pandemic and the recent calamities.
In Barangay Sta. Maria, Licab, Nueva Ecija, farmers only rely on an old, under maintained hanging bridge in crossing the river. The livelihood of the farmers was greatly affected due to the travel restrictions set by the government because of the pandemic. And this led to oversupply which then resulted in a great loss of the farmers’ income. Angel met the organization of farmers in Licab and couple Ace and Andie Estrada, who help the farmers in selling their crops, and the owners of Rural Rising PH, a “social enterprise which aims to harnessing the potential of the countryside and fostering rural prosperity through agri-entrepreneurship.”
They shared that Rural Rising PH started in a Facebook post about the farmers in Benguet who couldn’t sell their produce. That post went viral and people became interested as to how they could help the farmers. And that’s when Ace and Andie started delivering half a basket of vegetables, until it became a calling for them - buying vegetables in the rural areas and selling it in Manila. There came a time when farmers were already contacting and asking them if they could buy their products. Andie and Ace have been to Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and now Nueva Ecija. Recently, they discovered the oversupply of squash in Licab. That’s why they helped the farmers by buying their crops. Iba ‘Yan team gave them a tent and monoblock furniture they can use for their talks in provinces, plus a push cart and a wheelbarrow.
Angel also met the president of the farmers’ cooperative, Catalina Dela Peña, who has been a farmer for 24 years. She admitted that the pandemic has immensely affected the livelihood of the farmers. Since people didn’t have enough money to buy their produce for their regular price, the farmers were forced to sell it at a much lower price. At the end of the day, they’re the ones affected. Iba ‘Yan team gave her groceries, vitamins, and maintenance medicines from ABS-CBN Integrated News and Public Affairs, and two domestic goats for farming.
Angel also got the chance to talk to one of the members of the cooperative, Ferdinand Santos, who also comes from a family of farmers. He said that natural disasters like typhoons are really a big problem for farmers because they lose their crops when typhoons hit them. Because of the crisis brought by the pandemic, Ferdinand and his wife were only able to send two of their three children to school. It was also very heart-rending for them to lose their youngest child because of heart failure. Because they’re financially incapable, their youngest child wasn't able to undergo a needed operation. Iba ‘Yan also gave Ferdinand groceries, vitamins, gasoline for the motorcycle he uses for delivery, and a brand new sidecar.
Angel last talked to Jhonny Panila who’s also one of the members of the farmers’ cooperative in Licab, Nueva Ecija. He also suffers the same challenges brought by the pandemic, but he still works very hard just so he can provide for his family and for the education of his five children. His wife and his daughter shared how blessed they are to have Jhonny as the head of their family as he is a very responsible and devoted father to his children. His children are currently facing challenges with online classes because they don’t have gadgets to use for their classes. Iba ‘Yan helped Jhonny and his family by giving him two domestic goats for farming, groceries, laptop and pocket wifi for his children, and vitamins for him.
Iba ‘Yan also visited Jinggoy Macabenta, one of the residents of Tondo. Last April, a residential area in Tondo was hit by fire and there was one striking photo that caught the attention of the netizens – it showed Jinggoy carrying his father while the fire was going on. He wasn’t able to save anything but he made sure that his father was safe with him. Iba ‘Yan team gave him groceries, ligtas bag, and a noche buena package for Christmas.
Iba ‘Yan gave the cooperative 40 relief bags, 40 ligtas bags and materials helpful for the farmers like natural fertilizers from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office III. They also distributed long sleeve uniforms, boots, hats, and towels. They also gave life, health and death insurance from the First Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines, and free training about biopesticides and natural farming for all the members of the cooperative. The team also would provide free training on integrated pest management and 500 pouches of seeds from East-West seed. TV Patrol main newscaster Noli De Castro also donated school bags and supplies for the children of the farmers.
Iba ‘Yan airs every Sunday at 6:45pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.
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Viewers outside of the Philippines can also catch it on The Filipino Channel on cable and IPTV.