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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Saturday, June 20, 2020
Top fans and sharers of Gov. Gwen Garcia’s virtual presser received a basketful of assorted seeds and grafted kalamansi to show appreciation for the support they have given to the Capitol. (Lito Tecson)

Grafted kalamansi, vegetable seeds and turmeric were given as a reward to avid followers of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s regular livestream report dubbed as “Ang Probinsyana”.

Earlier, the Capitol already distributed these to different towns and cities of Cebu Province who participated in the “SUGBUSOG (Sugbuanong Luwas, Busog ug Himsog),” a backyard farming contest of the Provincial Government.

The program aimed to encourage the public to grow vegetables and sustain food productivity while staying at home while Cebu is placed under a community quarantine status. 

As requests for free seedlings started pouring in the Facebook pages of the Capitol and Sugbo News, Garcia pointed out in past virtual pressers that constituents of Cebu Province will be the priority. Residents of Cebu City who expressed interest in urban gardening will also be given seeds at a later time.

Garcia recognized on Friday, June 19, the efforts of Top Sharers Ray Vincent Ruiz of Minglanilla, Jonas Maratas Mulato of Barangay Lahug, Cebu City; Reynard Bello of Dalaguete but currently residing in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City; and Darwin Isoto of Consolacion. 

The Top Fans are Karen Umpad Gestopa-Dahunan of Liloan, Norman Jo Camay Natial of Bogo City, Janet Bataclan Pestano of San Remigio, Alma Saldua of Barangay San Antonio, Cebu City; Orville Cabanog, Jr. of Toledo City currently residing in Barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City; Celso Magallanes of Alcantara now staying in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City; Jaque Mae Manlegro of Mandaue City, Roland Sedon of Argao, and Kent Jim Daez of Barangay Banawa, Cebu City.

They received their basketful of premium vegetable seeds, turmeric, grafted kalamansi seedlings, as well as sacks of vermicast fertilizer as rewards from Garcia, Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Roldan Saragena, and 7th District Provincial Board Member Christopher “Dong” Baricuatro.

The grafted kalamansi is expected to yield around two months from planting. Turmeric is propagated through its rhizome sections. The vegetable seeds were cucumber, eggplant, lady fingers (okra), cherry tomatoes, bitter gourd (ampalaya), sponge gourd, and (sikwa), among others. 

As Facebook has an algorithm of determining the number of times a follower or subscriber shares a post, a story, or a video, the governor announced in one of her daily pressers that subscribers with Top Fan and Top Sharer badges issued by FB are set to receive free seedlings.

The Top Fan or Top Sharer badges are automatically given by Facebook to those accounts who are the most active and engaged in a page based on their set algorithm.

Promotion of local products

Garcia said that because of the valuable support and respect accorded by the Top Fans and Sharers to Capitol’s initiatives, she gives back by sharing a segment of the virtual presser for them who are also budding entrepreneurs to showcase their products.

Kent Jim Daez of “Rugged Kusinero” shared that he got into culinary after he was retrenched because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As he has to provide bread on the table, Daez decided to develop bottled chili garlic, a condiment to pork dumplings or siomai, a favorite among Cebuanos. 

In less than a month, he sold 200 bottles at P90 each. He considered this a feat since he just started manufacturing last June 3. 

“Wala sad ko magtuo, Gov, nga maka-200 bottles ko in two weeks ug karon naa ko dinhi sa Live nag-promote sa product, thank you kaayo,” Daez said.

Chicken adobo quesadilla is the next product that Daez will launch. The products may be checked through his Facebook account or the Rugged Kusinero  Facebook page.

Roland Sedon of Argao presented his “Sukarap (suka na masarap)” and “Sulirap (suka-sili sarap)” vinegar products with coconut wine (tuba) as base and a variety of spices added. 

He said that he developed the products back in 2014 but only pushed for the products’ intensive marketing after he resigned from his day job.

“Ang Sulirap mao ni mas intense nga flavor, kadtong mga tawo nga mas hilig og halang,” Sedon said. These bottled products are already available in grocery stores and supermarkets.

As for Jaque Mae Manlegro of “Juice District,” she showcased her bottled tapioca milk drink with fresh and pure avocado, mango, and strawberry.

“Wala ni sugar, wala sad ni water additive to retain the freshness of fruit juices,” Manlegro said.

For retailers, Manlegro said that she can sell the mango and avocado flavored products from P120 for 350-millliter bottle to just P100 for 10 bottles. Strawberry juice will be sold at P180 per bottle because of the fruits’ higher price.

It is hoped that Garcia’s call to develop more agricultural products to increase food production and manufacturing in Cebu Province for self-sufficiency will inspire more local entrepreneurs. 

“Tabangan sad nato ning mga nanghimo og produkto. Kita gyung mga Sugbuanon we will prevail kay mangita man gyud ta’g mga pamaagi nga mo-prevail. Mao nga ato gyud ni silang tabangan kay kinsa pa may laing magtinabangay. Kitang mga Sugbuanon tabangan nato atong kaubang Sugbuanon,” Garcia urged. (Eleanor Valeros)