The Negros First–Army Wellness Farm program of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, that aims to “win the peace” in Negros Occidental, whose beneficiaries are mostly rebel returnees, may be replicated by other Armed Forces of the Philippines and Army units nationwide.
The Institute for Solidarity in Asia, a non-government organization that advocates making good governance a shared responsibility, said in its letter to Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri, that “the creation of a Wellness farm that benefits local communities affected by the armed conflict is a shining example of what could happen when the tenets of Bayanihan are imbibed to winning the peace”.
Dr. Jesus Estanislao, ISA chairman, said, initiatives like this are imperative to the success of the Philippine Army.
The program is designed to ensure food security, generate basic income and sustainability, especially for former New People’s Army rebels and their families, who had abandoned the armed struggle to live a peaceful life, Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.
The first Army Wellness Farm, implemented in the 2.5-hectare lot inside Camp Major Nelson Gerona in Brgy.
successful in producing organic products, like vegetables, livestock and poultry. Minoyan,
The 303rd Infantry Brigade is therefore expanding it to three of the six districts of Negros Occidental and it is being supported by the provincial government led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.
Estanislao called on Lt. Gen. Iriberri to explore the sharing of what he described as “best practices” to other Infantry brigade units, or even to the Unified Commands of the Armed Forces of the
“Please let your troops, especially the brigade of Col. Aying, know that we applaud their efforts in nation building,” Estanislao said in his letter to Iriberri, a copy of which was secured by the DAILY STAR.
ISA was founded in December 2000 by a group led by Estanislao to raise the standards of public governance in the country. To achieve this, Estanislao said, ISA teaches and implements the Performance Governance System – the official Philippine adaptation of the Balanced Scorecard of the
– in national government agencies, local government units, sectoral
associations and universities. Harvard Business School
Aying said organic farming is one of their non-traditional innovations in addressing the insurgency problem in Negros Occidental, without using guns.
He also said that 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.