Rice Farmers in Mamasapano Benefit from Bagong Pilipinas Program

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Farmers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao del Sur are experiencing a significant increase in their earnings as the price of palay, or unhusked rice, has gone up under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s “Bagong Pilipinas” program. This initiative has raised hopes of transforming the municipality from a war zone into a thriving rice-producing area, according to an official from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Previously, rice farmers in Mamasapano were selling their palay for P13 per kilogram. However, with the implementation of the “Bagong Pilipinas” program, they are now able to sell it for more than P22 per kilogram, almost double its earlier price. This increase in price has also resulted in a significant rise in volume. Farmers who used to earn only P65,000 per hectare at P13 per kilogram and 5 metric tons can now earn P248,000 per hectare at P22 per kilogram and 11.3 metric tons, representing a P183,000 improvement.

The success of the “Bagong Pilipinas” program can be attributed to the collaboration between a small farmers cooperative, Al-Rahman Farmers MPC FARM, and the Army’s 601st Infantry Unifier Brigade of the 6th Infantry ‘Kampilan’ Division, Philippine Army, with assistance from the 6th Civil-Military Operations ‘Kasangga’ Battalion, CMO Regiment, Philippine Army. Together, they have embarked on a humble effort to support the President’s food security program in the conflict-affected areas of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano, and Datu Salibo in southern Maguindanao, Central Mindanao.

Ricky Bunayog, a classmate of Suharto Ambolodto at the National Defense College of the Philippines, has confirmed the higher earnings of the farmers in Mamasapano. He believes that Mamasapano will now be known as a rice zone rather than a war zone.

The “Bagong Pilipinas” program is part of the broader agenda of the Marcos administration to achieve a robust agriculture sector in the Philippines. Under this program, the country witnessed its biggest harvest of 20.06 million metric tons of palay in 2023. This success also led to a reduction in rice imports by 300,000 metric tons.

President Marcos Jr. has reiterated the government’s commitment to provide stronger support to farmers during a visit to Candaba, Pampanga. The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have expressed their support for the “Bagong Pilipinas” campaign. Bangsamoro Government Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim emphasized the importance of protecting the gains of the peace process and supporting the current administration to maintain peace and civility in the region.

According to Suharto Ambolodto, under the “Bagong Pilipinas” campaign, peace and prosperity can be achieved through unity and stability. The Bangsamoro people have endured poverty and terror, but with the implementation of this program, the BTA has enacted priority legislations and intensified the delivery of services for the welfare of the Bangsamoro. As a result, most areas in the autonomous region have become more peaceful, with the threat of violent extremism significantly reduced.

The success of the “Bagong Pilipinas” program in Mamasapano serves as a testament to the positive impact that government initiatives can have on local communities. By supporting and empowering farmers, the program has not only improved their livelihoods but also contributed to the overall development and stability of the region.

Source: The Manila Times

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