Blind Soldier Instrumental for 1st Learning Site on Livestock-based Diversified Farming in Guimaras province

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A young blind army officer wrote to ATI-RTC VI requesting for agricultural livelihood interventions for his hometown in Buenavista, Guimaras. 1Lt Jerome J Jacuba suffered total blindness after the tragic incident in a battle in Maguindanao in 2016. Lt Jacuba had sought several agricultural livelihood interventions for the wounded-in-action soldiers and their families. Though he lost his eyesight, Lt Jacuba, has a very clear vision not only for his fellow soldiers who are physically impaired, but also for the people in his hometown.

With the support of Dr. Enrico P. Garzon, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Livestock-Department of Agriculture and the ATI-RTC VI under the leadership of Center Director, Dr. Eden DLR. Bautista, the Training on Diversified Livestock-based Farming Systems was conducted in July 20-22, 2018 in Brgy. Getulio, Buenavista, Guimaras. A total of 29 trainees from the locality participated in the training. Then, ATI-RTC VI provided post-training support through the establishment of Jacob’s Farm that will showcase livestock-based diversified farming system. Initial animal stocks such as ready-to-breed goats, gilts, itik pinas; forages and vegetables with facilities support were already established in the farm. Free-range chickens will also be provided.

In September 22, 2018, the farm interventions in Jacob’s Farm were officially handover to Lt. Jacuba’s family and to the graduates of the training. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Enrico P. Garzon, Jr. Assistant Secretary for Livestock; Dr. Eden DLR. Bautista, ATI-RTC VI Center Director and DA Region 6 personnel, the local officials and Lt Jacuba.

Lt Jacuba shared his vision to the trained participants for Jacob’s Farm, that it will become a learning site for farmers to learn and avail starter kit to initially establish their own livelihood in the future. “In the midst of darkness, I have a clear vision for my life. Thank God for the second chance to live, that my handicap has a purpose. I got blind to have a clear vision not only for my life, but also for others.”, Jacuba said in his speech during the handover ceremony.

ASec Garzon commended the ATI-RTC VI, DA-RFO VI, MLGU Buenavista and the AgRiDOCs of MLGUs from Mambusao, Capiz and Pototan and Dingle of Iloilo province who forged a strong partnership for the provision of agricultural interventions for the people of Buenavista. He urged the various agencies to continue such strong alliance to further agricultural development in the countryside by encouraging farmers to go back to the basics. “Go back to the basics” is the battle cry of the Department of Agriculture, a strategy focused on staple food production for food security and addressing poverty. Its main goal is to make sure that food is available and affordable to every Filipino family.

Furthermore, ASec Garzon urged the trained participants to love and value any interventions that the government provides to get the best benefits not only for their generation but for the generations to come. He emphasized that the government is much willing to provide interventions, but it’s the major responsibility of the recipients to keep it in a highly productive and sustainable level to expand benefits for many people.

On the other hand, Dr. Eden DLR. Bautista, Center Director of ATI-RTC VI, had declared that Jacob’s Farm will be accredited by the ATI as learning site, the 1st learning site for livestock-based diversified farming system in Guimaras province. The Jacob’s Farm as learning site will serve as model to showcase applicable agricultural technologies, venue for practicum and hands-on learning to complement classroom learning and field visit area for farmers.

Through the National Livestock Program funds and the DA-RFO VI breeder farms, additional animal stocks and other interventions will be provided to expands benefits to other trained farmers who are qualified as next in line recipients