DAGUPAN CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Ilocos recognized the best bio-intensive garden (BIG) in the region in an awarding ceremony held recently at the Leisure Coast Resort in this city.
Now on its third year, BIG aims to address and augment daily needs in food and nutrition of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries and to assist them in their income while having an ecological sustainability.
Applying their learnings from their Family Development Session on BIG, these beneficiaries were able to successfully put up and sustain their communal vegetable garden with no commercial fertilizer applied and served as a source of additional revenue and nutritious food for their families.
Marcelo Nicomedes Castillo, regional director of DSWD in the Ilocos, said the search for Model BIG is not merely for the recognition but it seeks to ensure the positive impact of the government’s program on every Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary.
“Gusto ko na kayo ang maging daluyan ng kagandahan ng mga programa ng pamahalaan na hindi ito para sa inyo lamang kundi pwedeng ibahagi sa pamayanan dahil sa maunlad na pamayanan ay magdudulot ng positibong epekto sa bawat tahanan,” Castillo said.
He hopes that in the succeeding years, BIG will become BIG-GER (Growing to Enhance Resources) by incorporating livestock raising to communal gardening that can be a sustainable and viable source of food and income.
During the awarding ceremony, the Catuday Garden of Catuday village in Bolinao, Pangasinan was adjudged as this year’s champion in the search for Model BIG.
Other winners are: Hardin Ti Salukag of Brgy. Escoda in Marcos, Ilocos Norte as first runner-up; Hardin Ti Namnama of Brgy. Suksukit in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur as second runner-up; and Hardin Ti Nam-ay of Brgy. Pideg in Tubao, La Union as third runner-up.
Winners received plaques and cash prizes worth Php30,000 for champion; Php15,000 for first runner-up; Php10,000 for second runner-up; and Php5,000 for third runner-up.
In a victory speech, Elvira Capena, parent leader at Brgy. Catuday in Bolinao town, expressed her gratitude to the DSWD for the recognition and for introducing them to BIG.
Capena said that BIG has greatly helped the Pantawid Pamilya households and the villagers as they are able to grow their own food and they get to earn out of selling their produce.
Former regional winners of the search for Model BIG were Brgy. Mabileg in Sigay, Ilocos Sur in 2017 and Brgy. San Leon in Balungao, Pangasinan in 2018.