Volunteers eye SMU model village for Iloilo

ILOILO – Granting the failures of the past, five volunteers, who underwent a rigid training in South Korea, are determined to build a Saemaul Undong (SMU) model village in one of the poorest municipalities here – Badiangan.

These volunteers are Audie Abordaje of Badiangan Organic Farmer’s Association, Felina Grace Basco of Provincial Agriculture’s Office, Janice Dalida of CenterPhil Montessori Learning Center, Marvin Saladar of Bingawan Tourism Office and Jezza Nepomoceno of the Governor’s Office.

Starting this April, the five will organize and mobilize the members of Badiangan Organic Farmer’s Association in preparation for the establishment an Integrated and Diversified Farming System in their town.

The action plan encompasses five small projects which will be implemented in a yearly basis.

These are the Organic Rice and High Value Crops Production for 2015, Forage and Corn Production and Vermiculture for 2016, Livestock Raising for 2017, Freshwater Aquaculture for 2018 and Agri-Tourism and Technology Development for 2019.

To ensure its effective implementation and sustainability, these projects will be anchored on SMU’s principle of “diligence, self-help, and cooperation” – the guiding spirit that helped South Korea become a progressive country today.

According to Saladar, the establishment of the integrated and diversified farming system aims to transform the farmers from being a consumer to producer to entrepreneur and eventually a supplier in the future.

The association has 20 active members who are mostly farmers and retired teachers at present.

The Department of Labor and Employment under the Bureau of Rural Workers also recognized or accredited the group in 1997.

Since its formation, the members have undergone trainings on basic leadership skills and chicken production.

“We will first introduce SMU to them and awaken the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ (cooperation) in their hearts. They must develop a ‘can do’ attitude and self-reliance for us all to succeed in this plan,” Basco said.

The provincial government will also play a big role in this project granting that the technical assistance (e.g. resource persons) and materials (e.g. fingerlings, seeds) may come from them, she said.

The group is confident that these projects will gain the support of Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., who is presently the honorary chairman of Philippine SMU Center and a farmer himself.

Saemaul Undong or New Village Movement is a comprehensive approach in developing rural villages. Founded and institutionalized by late Korean President Park Chung Hee in 1970s, the movement is responsible in transforming South Korea from an aid-recipient to a donor country.

It is likewise recognized by the United Nations as the model for poverty eradication in developing countries. In the case of Philippines, SMU has been in Bingawan, Iloilo since 1992.

In 2001, SMU was introduced to eight villages in four municipalities – Brgys. San Geronimo, San Francisco and La Fortuna in Barotac Viejo; Brgy. San Antonio in Ajuy, Brgy. Catubig in Badiangan and Brgys. Balcon Maravilla, San Miguel and Sta. Teresa in Jordan, Guimaras.

The villagers in these areas practiced barangay road clearing and road expansion as well as livestock raising (e.g. pig and carabao). University students from South Korea are also visiting these areas to conduct volunteer work. (Jezza A. Nepomoceno/Capitol News)


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