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'Libreng Serbisyo’ program makes farmers' lives easier in Sarangani

Farmers in Barangay Pag-asa, Alabel, in Sarangani expressed gratitude to the municipal government for the free use of a corn sheller, a machine that they use to remove corn kernels off the cob as part of the municipality's 'Libreng Serbisyo' program for its farmers in the far-flung areas. (Photo courtesy of Alabel Information Office)

Gone were the days when farmers in far-flung barangays in Alabel, Sarangani would have a hard time transporting their produce.

This is because the Libreng Serbisyo program of the municipal government of Alabel has become the “saving grace,” providing some hundreds of farmers in its 13 barangays with free access to corn shellers.

Corn sheller machines are strategically placed in the barangays of Spring, Kawas, Alegria, Pag-asa, New Canaan, Paraiso, and Brgy. Datal Anggas in Alabel for farmers to easily access.

Christopher Talino, chairperson of the Paraiso Integrated Farmers Association, asserted the accessibility and convenience of the program for farmers in their barangay, especially for their association, whose members are also corn sheller operators.

Tanan farmers sa Paraiso nagapa-sheller, tanan naka-avail sa libreng corn sheller. Gipalibre ni Mayor Vic Paul Salarda, sila ang naggasto sa tanang oil,” Talino told the Philippine Information Agency, emphasizing that the use of corn sheller is important to shell corn kernels off the cob, which can be used for feeding to livestock or for any other income-generating purposes.

[All farmers in Barangay Paraiso are into corn shelling; all are availing of the free corn sheller, which Mayor Vic Paul Salarda rendered free of charge. The municipal government also spent all the expenses on the oil used in the machines.]

To use the corn sheller for free, farmers have to present their Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) forms as proof of their farmer identification provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The RSBSA serves as a reference for the identification of farmers, fishermen, and agricultural laborers as eligible beneficiaries of various agricultural programs and services offered by the government.

Mayor Vic Paul Salarda addressed his farmer constituents, urging them to avail of the 'Libreng Serbisyo' of the municipal government, which caters to various needs of farmers. He said that aside from corn shellers, farmers can also use other farm machinery for free. (Photo courtesy of Alabel Information Office) 

Lauding the commitment and service of the corn sheller operators, Salarda credited their dedication as having played a crucial role in the initiative's success.

He disclosed that he had issued a directive to the corn sheller operators under the 5K Masaganang Alabel Program of the municipality, instructing them to make their services free of charge in keeping with Municipal Ordinance 13-2021-186, also known as “The Alabel Municipal Ordinance for Tractor Management and Operation of 2021."

Salarda pointed out that the free corn sheller service under the local government's Libreng Serbisyo initiative aims to provide genuine and efficient assistance to farmers who are in dire need of the program.

In addition to the services of corn sheller operators, the local government also provides fuel subsidies and maintains the corn sheller machines, including the facilities.

The official also took pride in the mobile corn shellers, which can reach farmers in various rural areas, ensuring accessibility to the services offered.

Mapasalamaton ako sa tanang mangunguma sa Alabel tungod sa ilahang dako nga pagsalig sa mga programa ug inisyatiba sa gobyerno,” Salarda conveyed.

[I am grateful to all the farmers in Alabel for their trust in government programs and initiatives.]

Aside from the free use of corn sheller, the municipal government also complemented it with the use of farm tractors and other farm machinery for farmers in different barangays who needed the agricultural motor vehicle.

Dakong tabang sa atong mga farmers ang maong programaha ug pinaagi usab sa suporta sa mga national government agency sama sa Department of Agriculture, natuman gayud kini,” he said on a Facebook post published by the Alabel Information Office.  

[This program is a great help to our farmers. And, through the support of national government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, we were able to succeed.]

A corn sheller operator gathered corn kernels after they were taken off corn cobs using the corn sheller machine. They will also be packing it for sale or using the kernels to feed the farm animals they are raising. (Photo courtesy of Alabel Information Office) 

Meanwhile, Lizaldy Villarin Wage, a 23-year-old farmer from Purok 1, Barangay Paraiso in Alabel, shared that they really had a hard time and spent a lot of money bringing their produce to the other barangays back when there was no free service of corn shellers.

"Para sa amo bilang mang-uuma dako gyud kaayo nang tabang ng libreng pa sheller kay sauna ng wala pa nang libreng sheller dad-on pa gyud namu sa ubos didto namo ipa-sheller sa Poblacion. Dak-an na kaayo mi kay sa trucking pa daan dako na kaayo,” he recounted.

[For us farmers, the free use of the sheller is really beneficial because there were no free corn shellers here in our barangay before. We take our produce to Poblacion, where there is an available sheller. It is expensive; trucking alone costs us too much money.]

Today, Wage is grateful to the municipal government for implementing the initiative, noting that the move has motivated the farmers to be more productive. "Halos tanan nga na barangay naa nay shelleran halos kada sitio na gani. Maong daghan kaayong salamat!”

[Almost every barangay has its own corn shellers; even sitios have them. So, thank you very much!]

Jericho Palawan, a 22-year-old local farmer and a corn sheller operator from Barangay Paraiso who used to manually shell his corns using his bare hands for seven years, remembered that ever since he started his own farm and planted corns at 15 years old, now is the time to feel happy because of a nearby corn sheller that he can conveniently go to every harvest.

"Maraming salamat po dahil may sheller dito sa amin. At maraming salamat din po dahil wala ring kaming bayad kung kami naman ay mag sheller,” Palawan said.

[Thank you very much because we have our own sheller here in our barangay. And thank you also, because we can use it for free if we shell our own corn.]

Recently, the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) in Region 12 under its Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) mechanization component handed over to the local government of Alabel different farm machinery, such as four-wheeled tractors, hand tractors, floating tillers, precision seeders, walk-behind transplanters, reapers, and combine harvesters for use by their farmers. (HJPF/CTA - PIA SarGen)

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Harlem Jude Ferolino

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