Krav Maga and Gardening: Life Affirming Amidst Chaos

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CPT. Duldulao with his tomatoes in front of the camp

There is something soothing and life affirming when you see a seed grow and bear fruit amidst the chaos that surrounds it. This could very well be one of the motivations of CPT. Regidor Duldulao of the 1st Special Forces Batallion based in Mampayag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Despite a background in Electronics Communication Engineering and the Philippine Military Academy, Capt. Duldulao considers himself a farmer. He plants vegetables and flowers all over the Camp.
Knowing the danger that faces us we frequently travel due to our work, our office deemed it necessary for us to learn basic self defense. This is how I first met the charming Captain. He taught us basic defense using basic Krav Maga method. Krav Maga which has its origin in Israel integrates instinct based self-defense tactics with street fighting methods. He taught us techniques on how to defend ourselves from both armed and unarmed attackers. In the course of our discussion, during breaks, we told him about our partnership with another Army Unit, the 15th IB (Molave Warriors) in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte where the “From Arms to Farm Program” started. We talked also about our assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Marawi and neighboring municipalities.
This is where he told us that he is a farmer at heart. He has planted various vegetables all over the camp. He has tomatoes, beans, various vegetables, even strawberries and a special kind of sweet potato (camote) which he swears is very sweet. He also has various flowers and herbs. Aside from being a stress reliever, the garden serves as an inspiration for the “redirected”, a term he uses to refer to those who returned to the folds of the law.
Listening to him talk and seeing his plants which he produces organically, one would think that CPT. Duldulao is an agriculturist. It is farthest from the truth, the nearest is that he is a frustrated agriculturist. Still, he finds the joy in seeing his plants grow, and harvesting it for their consumption. He said a lot, is trial and error. He plants something in a small area, studies the planting distance, its growth and nutrition. After more or less learning the craft, he extends to a bigger area.
Infact, when you enter the camp, his very healthy tomatoes are the first things that you notice since it is planted in front, just beside the gate. The very amiable Captain says he takes care of production while another officer takes care of marketing.
In the pipeline will be collaborations between ATI and the SF Batallion as we extend organic farming to communities who are involved in rebellions against government. The SF has started with a project they called Mampayag (a tribute to the place they are located), Mamamayang Payapa, Yaman ay Gulay. School gardens are also being established. They also have a program that they call SF Cares Project.
As a parting shot, the SF believes that they can fight insurgency by changing the mindset of the people through farming or gardening. Kodus to the the 1st Special Forces Batallion, PA.