President Rodrigo Duterte, on Monday, Feb. 6, will lead in the first harvesting of lush vegetables grown in the Malacañang Park Garden developed jointly by the Presidential Security Group headed by Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista and the Tarlac Heritage Foundation headed by Dr. Isa Cojuangco Suntay.
The vegetables that include mustard, pechay, upland kangkong and okra took only 45 days from planting to be ready for harvesting. Part of the harvest will be donated to Hospicio de San Jose, the underprivileged residents in the surrounding community, and of course the soldiers and other staff who took care of the garden.
The main purpose of the garden is to showcase what can be grown even in the most unlikely places for food production. The place, exactly 628 square meters, was a vacant space that was full of stones, a buck hoe had to be employed to remove them. And then compost had to be incorporated in the planting beds to support the growth of the vegetables.
Dr. Isa Cojuangco Suntay was so proud to show the beautiful growth of the vegetables to media people in a press preview last February 3. The members of the PSG and office staff took turns in tending the vegetables with the technical assistance of Anthony Cortes, a Los Baños graduate who was formerly with a big seed company where he was in charge of seedling production.
Dr. Isa hoped that the idea of vegetable gardening in open spaces that are available will be pursued even by ordinary households so families can enjoy fresh vegetables in their daily diets. If undertaken even in a modest way, the extra production can be sold in the market to augment the income of the gardeners.
In a way, Dr. Isa said, the project is a means of helping the Duterte administration in achieving food sufficiency in the country. She is very thankful for the all-out cooperation of the PSG under Gen. Bautista.