DARAGA , ALBAY –     The Basud National High School  in Camarines Norte bagged  the grand prize of P30,000 cash prize  and P50,000 worth agricultural inputs  for  being adjudged as the  top winner in Implementing the Gulayan sa Paaralan  Program (GPP) jointly  implemented by  the Department of Education (DepED) and Department of Agriculture. All this was accompanied by marketing and media with professional marketingmyway.com support.  

Adjudged as second best implementer was the Alejandro de los Reyes  School from Masbate  which was  given    a cash prize   of P20,000 and agricultural inputs worth P30,000. The  Ragay National High school  placed  third and was   awarded a cash prize of  P10,000 and agricultural inputs worth P20,000.

The cash awards were  provided by the DepEd while the agricultural inputs were provided by the DA.  The awarding ceremonies was held at Casa Lorenzo of this town on January 30 this year and was attended by DepEd and DA officials and  school heads .

Dr. Jessie L. Amin , Schools Division Superintendent and Officer-in-charge  of the Office of the assistant Regional Director represented  Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad  during the awarding ceremonies.  He said that the  GPP is one of the  neglected programs of their agency because of  its meager budget .   But he acknowledged the  support now being given by the DA and other partners  which  made possible the  sustained implementation of the program.  He laments that “we are producing  mere consumers  as children do not appreciate planting and producing food”.      He thus, underscored   the importance of teaching gardening to the students and inculcating the  value and dignity of labor.

For her part, Luz Marcelino, newly appointed Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension of the DA who also represented Regional Executive Director’ Rodel P. Tornilla  shared  that the Gulayan sa Paaralan program is  aligned  with the  thrusts and Paradigms  of the  DA  to engage the youth in agriculture and develop  them to become young  agri – entrepreneurs.  She suggested that the GPP should focus on planting  indigenous  vegetables.    She  announced  that the  DA targets a total of 3,885 schools  in 3 years time (2018 to 2021) to participate in the GPP.

The GPP aims to promote vegetable production in public elementary and secondary schools.  It was started  by the DA and DepEd in 2007 but its implementation was  intensified and strengthened in 2016.  According to Dr. Mary Grace DP Rodriguez, chief of the Operations Division  of the DA Bicol regional office and focal person of the GPP this program also aims  to support the feeding  activity of the DepEd  for malnourished  for malnourished and indigent school children. It can also provide income for the school and the children.  Moreover, Rodriguez said “this is one way of developing  children’s appreciation for farming and in the future, there will be younger generations serving as farmeers and agricultural workers”.

Schools which participated in the GPP  were provided by the DA with assorted vegetable seeds, set of garden tools, eedling trays, drums  and other inputs worth P10,000 each.   The  teachers involved in the program also underwent training  on vegetable production and urban gardening. (Emily B.Bordado)