Farming has become a beacon of hope for Cebuanos whose lives and livelihood are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A testament to this are the bountiful harvests of the SUGBUsog gardens around Cebu Province which brought food to the tables of the program participants and income from selling the excess vegetables.
This was what Governor Gwendolyn Garcia hoped for when she created the SUGBUsog Vegetable Gardening Program when Cebu was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine in April. She hoped that with the program, Cebuanos will have a reason to believe, have faith, and courage to rise every day.
"Ug taliwala niining tanan akong nakita, labi na sa akong mabasa nga mga mensahe nga nagkaanam pagkawala ang paglaum, nangahadlok na ang tanan. Unsa may maabot og duna pa bay mapaabot pa. Tungod niini atong gimugna ang SUGBUsog,” she said.
“Basin nalang nga aduna silay rason nga mubangon matag adlaw kay aron ilang tan-awon nitubo na ba, aron ilang tubigan ug aron makita nila nga gikan sa labing una nga dahon, nisunod ang mga bulak og unya ni porma na ang kamatis, ang talong, ang okra, ang upo. Ug basin nalang niining adlaw-adlaw nilang pagtan-aw sa bunga sa ilang kakugi, magpabilin ang paglaum sa tagsa-tagsa ka kasing-kasing sa mga Sugbuanon,” the governor added.
Garcia couldn't hide her happiness seeing Cebuanos' creativity and hard work showcased in their respective SUGBUsog gardens during the first round of awarding ceremony held in each of the seven districts of Cebu.
On its 4th day, SUGBUsog municipal, district, and provincial winners from the 1st and 2nd Districts were awarded on Friday, August 28 in Sibonga and Dalaguete towns.
Mario Manaban, 62, a resident of Valladolid, Carcar City, won third place in the household backyard category for the municipal level and first place for the same category in the district level.
He expressed his gratitude to the governor for creating and implementing the SUGBUsog program that made him a businessman.
Joining the program, he said, gave him hope and perseverance to continue living and see a brighter future amidst the pandemic.
Manaban added that planting vegetables encouraged him to push forwarde despite having a discouraging start when he learned that other participants in the municipal level were already harvesting their plants while he was still growing his.
“Na late ko'g sugod. Na-discourage ko kay ang uban nang harvest na pero naningkamot gihapon ko. Wa ko nag-expect nga makadaog ko sa district level, mao dako akong pasalamat,” he said, adding that the cash prize he received will be used as capital for his vegetable business.
“Ako ning gamiton para puhunon sa pagpalambo sa akong garden kay naa na may Bagsakan Center ang Carcar City para sa mga abot,” he said.
In Sibonga town, Purok Tambis of Barangay Banlot landed the first place in the purok containerized category for all levels. Purok President Avelina Sarsona said their cash prize will be used as savings for their purok which has 30 members.
Ira Jane Jalalon, daughter of one of the purok members and the artist behind their entry, said the frontliners, family, and different kinds of vegetables drawn in the containers symbolized hope and teamwork.
Garcia also learned that the SUGBUsog program has sparked children's interests diverting their attention from mobile games and devices.
“Usa sa mga mananaog, niingon siya ang akong mga anak kaniadto ang nahibaw-an mag atubang rag cellphone, magduwa ra anang mga games, magsige og chat-chat. Karon kay kuyog na nako, tabang nako sa pag-amuma sa mga tanom, na-ganahan na sab og tanom,” the governor shared.
She hoped that the program helped improve not just the livelihood of the Cebuanos but their homes and families as well.
“Ako nanghinaot nga sulod niining upat o lima ka bulan kung diin inyong nakita usab nga nausab, na-transform ang tagsa-tagsa ninyo ka balay, backyard ba o containerized duna nay tanom. Na-transform gayud ang tagsa tagsa ninyo ka panimalay,” she said.
The governor said because of the positive outcome of the program, the Cebu Provincial Government will allocate P500,000 to each municipality and component city to initiate the SUGBUsog program to their respective barangays and another P500,000 to put-up nurseries for the propagation of grafted lemonsito, turmeric and others to be distributed to their respective constituents.
The Capitol will also allocate P100,000 to each barangay for the implementation of the SUGBUsog program down to the purok level.
SUGBUsog winners received cash prizes and plaque while a plaque of appreciation were given to each of the district evaluators. First District winners also got additional cash prize from Congressman Eduardo Gullas. (Mylen Manto)