Reigning Miss Earth Philippines, Roxanne Allison Baeyens, lauded the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Plant Plant Plant Program (PPPP) in its efforts to secure sufficient food for urban families in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic during DA Cordillera’s (DA-CAR) promotion of highland agriculture activity at the Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center (BABRC) in Dontogan, Baguio City on September 3.

In her speech, Baeyens stressed the critical role of the agriculture sector in the fight against COVID-19. She emphasized that “PPPP will give a sense of security that all will not get hungry. So, there are a lot of potentials of urban agriculture not only would it provide food security but help mother earth in general.”

As an advocate of urban agriculture, the Igorota beauty queen stated that “the DA’s Plant Plant Plant Program or Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) laban sa COVID 19 is a good means of inspiring and giving hope to many in their down moments by educating and assisting them with a startup in planting.” Furthermore, the Baguio Pride also encouraged the youth specifically her Miss Earth 2020 elemental queens to use their platforms in creating an impact by “joining the crusade of giving hope to farmers and people affected during the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, DA-CAR distributed farm inputs to frontline workers, indigent families, farmer groups, and Local Government Units (LGU’s). As face of the campaign, Baeyens together with DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey, facilitated the turnover of 1,500 bottles of BABRC produced milk for front liners in Baguio and Benguet. One Thousand (1000) bottles of milk were also given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

Further, 50 native pigs were also awarded to the Benguet Provincial Veterinary Office for African Swine Fever (ASF) affected farmers. Sixty (60) heads of ready-to-lay chicken were also provided to JTMB Builders, a construction company in Pacdal, Baguio City with workers displaced by the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. Three Hundred (300) 21-day old chicks were likewise turned over to Gibraltar Baguio City as start-up.

“We are thankful to DA for assisting our construction workers struggling since the start of the community quarantine. These will surely be a way for us to help them start other means of providing for their families,” expressed Theodora Botis, JTMB Builders representative.

La Trinidad Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan, National Dairy Authority (NDA) Deputy Administrator II Farrell Benjelix Magtoto, Pastor John Bagalawis, City Veterinarian Brigit Piok, and DA-CAR staff together with Miss Earth were also immersed into farming activities such as Arabica Coffee, Lemon, and vegetable planting and milking demonstration as part of DA-CAR’s Promoting Highland Agriculture. //MJ Dacillo//