Palawan farmworkers to run for fellow farmers

Published: September 11, 2019 11:22am | PHILIPPINES


A farm tourism destination in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is organizing a run-for a-cause In an effort to help farmers suffering over plummeting palay prices, with proceeds to be used for buying palay above farm gate price and giving the rice back to them.

The sorry state of rice farmers in the Philippines brought about by plummeting farm gate prices of palay is the centerpiece of a run for a cause to be organized by Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan on Sept. 28. Proceeds of the event will be used to buy palay from farmers in Narra town, Palawan well above the prevailing prices and redistribute the milled rice back to them.



Dubbed “Takbo para sa mga Magsasaka (Run for the Farmers)”, the five-kilometer run also aims to raise funds to help a non-government organization and a farmer’s group in Palawan, said Hope Alas, tourism officer of Yamang Bukid Farm. “This is for the farmers all over the Philippines. We have been running for other causes but we haven’t had one for our farmers who have toiled so much so we can put food on our tables,” Alas said.

The event coincides with Yamang Bukid Farm’s 5th Agros Farmers’ Festival which will be held at Barangay Bacungan on Sept. 28.
Proceeds of the run will go to the Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technology (PCART) and a farmers’ association in the southern town of Narra, Palawan’s rice granary where palay farm gate prices have plunged to as low as P7/kilo, Alas said. Alas said the farm destination, which has been supportive of advocacies for sustainable agriculture, will make the fun run an annual event.

The 42-hectare tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan has been known for employing former illegal loggers as farm workers, teaching them sustainable agriculture and environmental protection and conservation.
The run will start from Bacungan proper, traversing an uphill paved road that ends at the Yamang Bukid Farm welcome marker in Purok (Community) Candes III.
Each ticket costs P350, inclusive of singlet and race bib.
Alas said the race which seeks to enlist at least 1,000 runners will not be exclusive only to Bacungan and Puerto Princesa City residents.
“Other well-meaning individuals who love to help our farmers are also encouraged to buy tickets and we will find someone else to run in their behalf. They can send their registration fees to us through wire or money transfer or other means,” said Alas. The city council, where Alas sought an audience to bring home the advocacy campaign has vowed support for the initiative.

During a break in the council’s session Tuesday, Yamang Bukid Farm’s tourism manager teared up as she appealed help for the farmers.
Upon hearing Alas’s impassioned talk, several spectators watching inside the legislative hall also turned emotional, with a woman weeping openly and asking the farm’s executive assistant Mauin Bumanlag how she can buy tickets.
City councilor Jimmy Carbonell bought some P10,000 worth of tickets.
Alas hoped the event will snowball into “something big” and further raise awareness into the sorry state of Philippine farmers.
She said the event will also be participated by Yamang Bukid farmer-employees, with “farmers helping their fellow farmers.”
“We started out as a place to help former tree poachers become farmers and environment protectors. We want to do something more than that,” she said. For registration and ticket inquiries, interested runners and partners may call mobile phone numbers 0907-237-7258 or 0967-544-3928 or email yamangbukidfarm@gmail.com
Registration fees may also be deposited in these accounts:

BPI Account:
Mauin D. Bumanlag
8879-0345-67

BDO Account:
MAUIN DIAZ BUMANLAG
011950052085
(JL)


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  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—-After drawing over a quarter of a million tourists last year, Yamang Bukid Farm is setting its sights on becoming a prime destination for agriculture learning, with its hosting of a gathering of dozens of agriculture executives in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region late this month.

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    Some 40 executives from Department of Agriculture are scheduled to hold a live-in summit at the 20-hectare farm tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan on Feb. 24-28, according to Elaine Durian, Yamang Bukid Farm executive assistant.

    The four-day gathering will also include the participation of various stakeholders of the learning sites and practical agriculture institutions in the region, said Durian.

    “We will give them the utmost hospitality the Yamang Bukid Farm way,” said Durian, adding the Farm will provide the venue, food, accommodations and some training facilities to summit participants.

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    A new convention hall made of mixed materials and can accommodate over 50 people is now being built near the farm’s entrance. The building is expected to have been completed and ready for use before the summit begins.

    In pitching Yamang Bukid Farm as host for agriculture training and meetings, Durian said the farm has a vast area where sustainable agriculture and good farming practices are being done and which can give an excellent immersive experience for training participants.

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    “We have agriculturists and technicians who are well-trained by DA’s Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI) and farmers who can give hands-on lessons and experience,” she said.

    Yamang Bukid Farm has consultants who can also give scientific inputs about agriculture and the Farm’s farming methods, Durian added.

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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.
    Most of the hundreds of participants strived to reach and run past the end marker.
    “I struggled but this is my first time to join a run so I really tried to finish the entire distance,” Carlo Dapitan, 51, a Yamang Bukid farmer-employee, said in Cebuano. Fifty-six year old Vivencio Arcilla, another farmer agreed.

    “I run because this is for my fellow farmers,” Arcilla said. Scrowston, the Englishwoman, said she was awed when friends told her the run she was about to take part was aimed at raising awareness about the sorry economic state of most Filipino farmers.

    “I’m elated there are many people who want to help the Filipino farmers. After all they are the ones working in the fields so people can have something to eat,” she added. With the proceeds, Alas said they would buy palay from Narra farmers at P20 per kilo, have these milled and the rice given back to the farmers themselves for free.

    The run was followed by a zumba exercise and short program, with farm guests and other visitors gyrating and shaking their extra calories off to the tune of modern dance music.
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