By Niño Saavedra Manaog
University Extension Associate
Capiz State University
To help “uplift their socioeconomic status and be productive citizens,” the Capiz Parole and Probation Office, in collaboration with the Capiz State University (CapSU) Extension Institute (EI), led the conduct of Training on Fish Culture and Vegetable Gardening to some 27 parolees on October 27, 2010 at the CapSU Extension Institute in Poblacion, Mambusao, Capiz.
According to Supervising Probation and Parole Officer Ramonsito Canja, the initiative formed part of the Capiz Parole and Probation Office’s celebration of the National Correctional Consciousness Week (NACOCOW).
Led by its Extension Director Raul L. Ticar, CapSU EI lectured on fish culture and organic farming technologies to 27 parolees and five Volunteer Probation Aides coming from the towns of Sapian, Mambusao, Sigma, Jamindan, Dumalag and Tapaz, all of Capiz. Ticar lectured on how to raise pantat (catfish) and bio-intensive gardening while Technology Services Specialist Ceferino Lizada engaged the participants on backyard tilapiaraising.
Training Coordinator Eduardo Navarra introduced backyard farming to the former inmates using the concept of edible landscape by Mr. Ramon Peñalosa, Jr. of Negros Occidental. Navarra stressed on how farming and vegetable raising can be done using indigenous materials and those which can be found around the household. Navarra also echoed to the participants the technologies he learned from Agri-link 2010 in Manila, especially the organic practices by Laguna-based Gil Carandang, considered to be the father of natural and organic farming in the country.
After the lectures, the facilitators distributed to parolees seeds of vegetables like tomato, eggplant and pechay which they could use to start in their own backyard planting. Canja said the training sought to help facilitate the parolees’ vocational survival as part of the therapeutic mechanisms and interventions for them in consonance with their NACOCOW theme “Towards Justice that Moves Beyond Punishment.”
Thirty six-year-old Arnel Fajader, who is serving three years probation, said he understood the idea involved in fish culture and the little capital it needs for startup. Fajader lamented, however, that capital is his first consideration. The bamboo furniture maker from Barangay Consolacion in Dumalag town said he could share the ideas and technologies learned to his mother, and from which their family could get extra income.
Meanwhile, 53-year-old parolee Monina Lagla of Barangay Sto. Angel. Dumalag, Capiz cited the information shared to them, saying “Maayo [ang program] kay may makuahan kami sang impormasyon tungod sa pagtanom [The program is good because we are able to get information on gardening]. Lagla said she would plant the seeds in her own backyard but also said she would give the others to her children who have a bigger piece of land in Dumalag where they can raise the vegetables and start out similar sources of livelihood.
Sixty-year old farmer Rofoldo Gerapista from Barangay Initan, Tapaz, a father of seven children, considered the training helpful, saying, “Makabulig ini sa pangabuhi. Kun may capital makahimo gid kita sang buluhaton (It could help us; and if we have capital, we could start up something). Gerapista said he would also start planting the seeds given to them.