Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. defended yesterday the P5 million given to the Wellness Program of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, which is being criticized by progressive organizations in the province.
The Negros First-Army Wellness Farm, with the 2.5-hectare pilot area first established within a military camp in Murcia, is now being replicated in Toboso town, and soon in the 5th and 6th district of Negros Occidental, Col. Jon Aying said.
Aying said the wellness farm is one of the non-traditional innovations implemented by the 303rd Infantry Brigade to win the peace in Negros Occidental, with former rebels among its primary beneficiaries.
Marañon said he anticipated the reaction of the progressive organizations in Negros Occidental, and asked them what good they have done for the people of the province.
The Wellness farm, which adopts an integrated organic farming system, produces organic vegetables and raises poultry and livestock.
“We want to capacitate former rebels by teaching them organic farming and other means of livelihood to ensure sustainable sources of income when they re-integrate to the community,” Aying said.
He added that the Wellness farms help ensure food security, basic income and sustainable livelihood for former rebels, threatened witnesses, CAFGU active auxiliary members and individuals and communities affected by armed conflict.
“The program recognizes economic capacity-building of the beneficiaries to become self-reliant and less vulnerable, with a projection towards their permanent settlement and production areas assured of protection from lawlessness and natural disasters,” Aying also said. *GPB
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