SOUTHERN LEYTE—It was just pure coincidence when Marcelino C. Lorona, a 64 year–old farmer residing at Brgy. Fatima, Liloan, Southern Leyte, found out about the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA). He was then walking towards his rented farm area when he heard from bystanders about the Program in their barangay. He wished to be part of it, but didn’t have the time to linger as he was in a hurry.
“Wa nako damha nga maapil ko aning SAAD. Sa dihang giadto kos Area Coordinator sa SAAD sa akong balay, apil man diay kos lista sa Municipal Agriculturist’s Office. Grabe jud akong pasalamat sa Ginoo sa ijang kamaajo kay gitagaan ko nija og oportunidad nga makatagamtam sa hinabang gikan sa gobyerno (I never thought I would be part of SAAD. When SAAD’s Area Coordinator went to my house, it turned out I was included in the MAO’s list. I truly thank God He gave me this opportunity to take part of the government’s assistance)”.
‘Nong Marcelino and his wife live in a modest nipa hut; their children having left them many years ago. To sustain their daily needs, they plant root crops and vegetables in empty containers. His wife works as janitress in the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Liloan. Most often, she is assigned to clean comfort rooms even at her old age.
Lorona earns less than Php 100.00 per day; thus, the family’s average monthly income is more or less Php 3,000.00, which is way below the monthly poverty threshold of Php 6,785.00 for a family of five in Southern Leyte.
As SAAD beneficiary, ‘Nong Marcelino received SAAD interventions, consisting of cassava planting materials that he planted in his quarter–hectare farm, and fertilizer supply. “Dako na ang matabang niani kanamo. Amo ning palambuon kay grasya ning gihatag sa amoa sa Ginoo pinaagi sa Department of Agriculture SAAD Program (This is already a big help to us. I will nurture and take good care of this gift given to us by the Lord, through the Department of Agriculture–SAAD Program)”.
Writer: Jocelyn A. Cabañas, PC, PPMSO Southern Leyte
Copy Editor: Ela Arciaga, SAAD NPMO PR & Communications Officer
Originally published on Peryodikit – Feature Story, Southern Leyte (Issue No. II, Volume No. II Series of 2018), Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development Program (DA-SAAD) Regional Field Office VIII Official Publication