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Survival garden, mental health program SouthCot’s response to COVID-19 crisis

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)—In fighting the adverse effects of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19, Tampakan town in South Cotabato initiated the Survival Garden for food security, and the ‘You Matter Program’ to care for the mental health of the local government’s employees.

During the daily Network Briefing with Communications Sec. Martin Andanar, August 12, Tampakan Mayor Leonard Escobillo said their Survival Garden, which is also used on Agricultural Research Facility for High Valued Crops, originated in the initial phase of COVID-19 where purchase of food was difficult. 

The local farmers were tapped but their produce is still not enough. Escobillo said they prompted the LGUs to convert five areas in the municipality for vegetable production to augment their produce.

Through the Survival Garden, the mayor said they were able to augment the income of their farmers as well as they were able to find ways on acquiring pest control means. 

Aside from the said garden, Tampakan is named to be one of the earliest municipalities that have established prevention protocols against COVID-19 and isolation units. 

Escobillo said the LGU sees to it that everybody will take part in the disease prevention through having the sectoral approach where actions are not only centered on the government. 

The church, business and other sectors were tapped to help in enforcing protocols, “Mas efficient kasi sila mismo (this is more efficient since they) are investing their own resources,” the mayor added. 

To care for their employees’ mental health, Escobillo said they implemented the ‘You Matter Program’ to help not only the frontliners but also their ordinary employees cope with the challenges at work and in their homes amid COVID-19 contagion. 

This, after noting that more people are now coming out of their houses, risking their lives just to make both ends meet in this time of crisis.

Gardening programs in R10

In region 10, various interventions are also implemented by the LGUs to respond to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and these include the Urban Container Household Gardening program of CDO LGU, which now aids over 900 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.

The Department of Agriculture (DA)-10 also continuously provides vegetable seeds to companies, schools and government offices to enforce their Plant, Plant, Plant Program. 

To date, the agency has already utilized P3.3 million for the provision of vegetable seeds of which 877.092 kgs or 23,508 packets have been provided to clients. (RTP/PIA10)

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