To discuss the agricultural issues, concerns and interventions in the province of Lanao del Sur, the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG), convened the Municipal Agriculture Officers (MAOs) from different municipalities on July 9, 2019.

Among the attendees were Mr. Pangalian Balindong, Jr., the Provincial Agriculture Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Mr. Abdulsalam S. Batao, the OIC-Provincial Agriculturist of Lanao del Sur, Ms. Mamole Pangandaman of the United States Agency for International Development-SURGE and Captain Ron Villarosa, Jr. of the Joint Task Group Haribon.

The activity aims to impart knowledge on the possible interventions to be implemented in conflict areas as this shall promote economic growth and reduce the vulnerability of the people in the community to violent extremism.

On the issue of distribution, the Municipal Agriculture Officer of this province led by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and Provincial Agriculture Officer is requested to align effort for the agricultural revitalization of vulnerable areas in the whole Lanao del Sur (LDS).

With the support of the Provincial Local Government Unit, the members of MAO are gaining milestones, especially in those areas where violence prevailed. In fact, it was“Army Vision: By 2028, a world-class Army that is a source of national pride”the first time for the Sultan Dumalundong area to have agriculture visits. It was confirmed that frontloading resources from national agencies to the most vulnerable areas is still a challenge and that some of the areas in LDS were previously denied of services due to security risks.

OIC-Provincial Agriculturist, Mr. Batao said: “The main thrust of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist is to increase the real income of marginal farmers who are considered most depressed sector of the society. To achieve this noble objective, appropriate interventions through government assistance and technology transfer need to be delivered. This will help families mobilize their farm resources into a viable and productive opportunity for sustained agricultural growth. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop and strengthen the capability-building potentials of the OPAG staff and personnel and its clientele-farmers as partners and agents of change”. The SL agritech also have initial talks to have a demonstration farm in Butig for Rice production.

Governor Mamintal Bombit Alonto Adiong, Jr. has made it his priority to achieve economic recovery and development in Lanao del Sur. He instructed all offices in the Provincial Capitol to work towards this goal.

The AFP’s efforts are geared towards encouraging every agriculturist of Lano del Sur to plant trees and seeds instead of bombs so we can sow fruits of economic growth including peace that rejects violent extremism and terrorism.

Truly,we can embody whatMother Teresa said, “We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.”