Muslim lass is ‘child’ to Christian co-workers at Yamang Bukid

Published: August 11, 2019 04:22pm | Palawan


To the farmers and adult co-workers, she is their anak (child). To her younger co-workers, Radzma is a reliable and friendly fellow.

Also known as Radz to friends and colleagues, Radzma Sabturani is a Muslim girl working in a predominantly Christian company, Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI).

Despite the difference, it did not hinder her to work with co-employees and interact with people having a different faith from hers. “I was overwhelmed. They treated me fairly even if they are Christians,” Radzma recalled.

The 21-year old lass from the Pangutaran tribe is among the handful of Muslim employees of YBHPI and its subsidiary, Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan, joining the over 1 billion Muslims around the world celebrating Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). Radome, who has a degree in hospitality management, said her fears of being discriminated against for being of different faith evaporated when she was warmly accepted by fellow employees, almost all of whom Christians.

“I was overwhelmed; everyone treated me as an equal. I quickly became friends with them,” she said.

The young Muslim girl was also happy her parents did not object to her working in a “Christian company.”

A former scholar of Yamang Bukid and assigned as accounting staff at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Palawan, Radzma is currently doing administrative duties at the YBHPI national office in Quezon City.

“Our relationship among employees and the management is tight. Here, we are not just employees. We are a family,” she said.

The company has been known to foster religious and cultural diversity, supporting and embracing employees from various cultures and with different religious beliefs.


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  • PUERTO PRINCESA—For Freya Scrowston, a five-kilometer run is a breeze despite the steep climbs and drops of the trail. More so when she knew she was doing it to raise a point and funds to help impoverished farmers in a country over 10,000 miles away from hers.

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    “We were five friends who agreed to join. But they were not able to get up on time. I went ahead and left,” Scrowston, a tourist from the United Kingdom, said. Over 500 others like Scrowston opted to defy their morning schedules to rise early, put on their running shoes and white sleeveless shirt to join the Takbo Para sa mga Magsasaka (Run for the Farmers) by this city’s fast-rising farm tourism destination, Yamang Bukid Farm.

    The run, organized as part of the events to coincide with Yamang Bukid Farm’s second anniversary, was participated in by different groups and organizations, both local and abroad.

    “I usually run for five kilometers back home. This is a minimal distance to me but the terrain’s just challenging, with the steep climbs and drops,” said the English girl. She said she admired the place as well as how enthusiastic her fellow participants were.

    “The place’s so amazing. The hills are lush and green, and the people are warm,” the foreigner said.
    Saturday’s run for a cause was also meant to raise awareness about the plight of farmers in the country, with the focus on those agricultural workers affected by the plummeting farm gate price of palay, according to Hope Alas, Yamang Bukid Farm tourism officer.

    With each ticket costing P350, organizers had hoped to attract at least 1,000 runners said Alas.
    Massive promotions and other activities to hype the activity led to the tickets being sold out a week before the charity run, prompting organizers to reprint new tickets that were also gobbled up by the public.

    Majority of those who bought the tickets hailed the event as a noble act that could influence others to care for the farmers.
    Among them was 86-year old Nuevo Umambong, a wheelchair-bound great-grandad from the southern Palawan town of Batarraza.

    “I wanted to run but my wife and our children did not let me,” said Umambong, his remaining teeth glinting in the afternoon sun as he smiled.
    Umambong said he was a farmer nearly all his life so he felt the pain of the farmers who had to endure because of low palay prices.

    “I’ve been a farmer since I was 20. I only stopped working in the farm five years ago. I’m inspired because I was told by my granddaughter this was meant to help the farmers. They really need our help,” said the octogenarian, whose first ambition was to become a teacher but was forced to shift to farming following World War II.

    Race organizers said the run’s proceeds are set to be used to help a community-based non-government organization (NGO) helping farmers—the Palawan Center for Agriculture Research and Technology (PCART)—and a farmers’ association in the town of Narra, Palawan’s so-called rice granary which has been battered by the plunging prices of palay, with farm gate prices nosediving to P7 per kilo.

    The run started at 4 a.m., with the first runners sprinting past the finish line at the Farm’s huge marker at Sitio (Sub-village) Candes III some 30 minutes after gunstart.
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