CAMALIG, ALBAY – With the start of classes for the new school year, the Gulayan Sa Paaralan Program (GPP) of the Department of Agriculture and Department of Education was again set into motion.  Over the week GPP was re-launched in this province in simple ceremonies at the Albay Farmers Bounty Village in this municipality.  It was attended by Governor Al Francis Bichara, over 220 school officials, teachers, officials from the DA, TESDA, and the Provincial Government and members of the local media. 

The event was highlighted by the distribution/ turn over of the vegetable seeds, fertilizers and sets of garden tools to the 125 schools represented in the occasion which came from the four schools divisions namely Albay, Legaspi City, Tabaco City and Ligao City.   The goods included plastic seedling trays, water sprinklers, wheel barrows, spades, hoes, rakes and plastic drums. Each set was worth P10,000. Before the distribution of the inputs and tools, Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez discussed the rationale, objectives and mechanics of the GPP.   She said that it is in support to the feeding activity of the DepEd for malnourished and indigent school children.  She added that program will provide income for the school and the children. Likewise, she underscored that this program is one way of developing children’s appreciation for farming   and recognizing the efforts of the people who produce our food.  She enjoined  the teachers  to help in  eradicating the negative things  or expression being alluded  to agricultural products like:   “Nangamote  sa klase or nangalabasa , parang nalantang gulay” when referring to poor performance in school or with  physical incapacity .

Governor Bichara in his message announced that with his fresh mandate as the re-elected governor he will give priority on agriculture citing the Albay Farmers Bounty Village which he is developing as a one-stop- shop for agriculture and fisheries activities is the best legacy he can leave behind for Albay farmers and fisherfok.  He explained that even if Albay has now a thriving touriism industry this will not be sustained if food production is not in step with tourism development.  Morever, he cited the GPP as one way of mitigating hunger especially this time that there is again an upward trend in the inflation rate in our country as a result of the occurrence of El Nino.  He announced that the provincial government as an incentive to the schools will be giving awards to the best implementer of the GPP.

Albay Provincial Agriculturist Cheryl O. Rebeta, acknowledged and commended the collaboration of the DA and the DepEd and other partners who have been helping the province especially the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist in its various programs and projects. Minerva Sarilla, a teacher from Sibujo Elementary School in Tiwi, Albay said that the Gulayan sa Paaralan is a very good project as it can provide additional income not only for the school but also for the community. “Most   importantly, the vegetables that we will be serving in the school and perhaps those which we will also sell in the community are fresh and safe “ (Emily B. Bordado DA-RAFIS V)