MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon (PIA)—Aimed to equip participants with technical knowledge as well as help develop their income-generating skills as they return to the mainstream society, 22 former rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) and some soldiers of the Philippine Army participated in a skills training on Mushroom Production (Phase I), Processing and Marketing (Phase II). The said training is a collaboration between the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center X (ATI-RTC X) and the 403rd “Peacemaker” Brigade, Philippine Army.
Aside from attaining peaceful coexistence and collaboration with the rebel returnees through farming, more technology and skills training will be given as well as after-training support such as growing of spawns of oyster mushrooms and straw mushrooms.
Straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea), a type of edible tropical mushroom, can be grown cheaply using rice straw or banana leaves as bedding material.
“Since most of them are former rebels, this training will help develop their skills as well as give them an alternative source of income,” said Colonel Ferdinand T. Barandon, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade.
He added that some of the participants were also trained in Organic Medicinal Herbs and Spices Production and Utilization last March 4-6, 2020. Col. Barandon is one of the pillars of the “From Arms to Farm” program of ATI and the Philippine Army when he was still a Battalion Commander assigned in Lanao del Norte.
OIC-Center Director Maria Lydia A. Echavez encouraged the participants to open their minds to the new knowledge, their hearts for the willingness to learn, and their hands to accept new skills. She also encouraged them to share what they have learned not only to their families but to others as well.
Echavez hopes that the training participants will help attain the Department of Agriculture’s twin goal on “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita.”
Former Center Director Angelito Y. Quirog, Ph.D; Mr. Pedro B. Mariquit; Mr. Numeriano O. Quemado III; Mr. Reynaldo Gil Lomarda (Datu Makadingding); Ms. Cristine A. Galupo; and Ms. Jisa T. Dulay served as resource persons.
The five-day training, with proper health protocols and social distancing, was held last August 31 to September 4, 2020, at Camp Osito D. Bahian, 403rd Brigade, 4ID, Philippine Army in Impalambong, Malaybalay. (ATI 10/PIA Bukidnon)