VEGGIE GARDEN. Dr. Reynaldo Bonita, Rizal Provincial Agriculture Office head, examines a vegetable garden in Antipolo City on Friday (Dec. 3. 2021). The provincial government converted the capitol grounds into a vegetable garden, mainly for the benefit of medical front-liners and local government employees. (PNA photo by Rico H. Borja)

MANILA – More than aesthetics purposes, Rizal province has initiated planting of vegetables in areas surrounding the capitol grounds in Antipolo to aid in food security.

The local government’s “Yes to Green” program promotes the planting of vegetables amid the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of flower gardens.

The Rizal Provincial Agriculture Office (RPAO) spearheads the project which started in June.

“’Yung mga open spaces dito sa kapitolyo tinataniman natin ng mga gulay katulong natin yung mga empleyado dito sa pagme-maintain and ‘yung mga inaani dito basically ay pinamimigay natin sa mga empleyado ng Rizal provincial government, particularly sa ating mga front-liners sa lahat ng mga provincial hospital dito sa lalawigan (We plant vegetable in our open spaces with the help of our employees and the produce are distributed to the employees of the Rizal provincial government, particularly to frontliners in our provincial district hospitals),” said Reynaldo Bonita, officer-in-charge of the RPAO, in a recent interview.

RPAO also utilizes recycled containers to plant vegetable seedlings.

Layunin din nito na mapakita sa mga gustong sumunod o gumaya sa programa, pwede silang pumasyal dito at tingnan kung ano ‘yung mga ginagamit nating containers para ma-iwasan na rin natin ‘yung pagtatapon ng mga bagay na pwede pang pakinabangan (The goal of this program is to show to those who wants to emulate the program that they can come visit us and see the containers that we utilize so we can also avoid throwing things that may still be of use),” Bonita said.

He added they apply the organic method by avoiding commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

The “Yes to Green” program was launched in 2013 with three components – greening the environment, cleaning the environment, and recycling to address environmental issues of waste management, clogged water tributaries, deforested mountains and watersheds, and declining livelihood opportunities. (PNA)