SOLDIERS will now have additional means of income as the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the City of San Fernando launched the “Sundalo na, Magsasaka pa” program during the signing of a memorandum of agreement at Camp General Sevillano Aquino in Tarlac City.

The activity is an extension project for the soldiers and families of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).

NolCom Deputy Commander Brigadier General Milfredo Megrito thanked Senator Cynthia Villar through the DA and Agricultural Training Institute for implementing the project in the Nolcom.

“This is not just beneficial to our soldiers and their families but also to the nation as well. Rest assured that the Nolcom is ‘armed to farm.’ Thank you for your support to this program,” Megrito said.

During the project overview, ATI RTC III Center Director Veronica Concepcion Esguerra presented the Ambisyon 2040, which is a Philippine Development Plan from 2017 to 2022.

“This is a vision of every Filipino that 'the Philippines by 2040 is matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay.' The country is a prosperous middle-class society where no one is poor. People live long and healthy lives and are smart and innovative. The Philippines is a high-trust society where families thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse, and resilient communities,” said Esguerra.

“The project aims to produce safe food for local consumption and provide additional income to the soldiers and their families residing inside the camp of the Northern Luzon Command,” Esguerra added.

“Napakagandang convergence program ito sa NolCom. Previously, we have partnered with our soldiers. Example, in Fort Magsaysay, we have a convergence project for their additional income through farming. Additionally, during the avian flu outbreak in Central Luzon, we mobilized soldiers to prevent the disease from spreading in the area. Moreso, another initiative of our Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is to identify 25 camps and put up a farm outlet inside these camps. We believe in the dedication of our soldiers and we look forward for this project that it will expand and we may be able to share to other camps in Central Luzon if not the country,” DA-RFO-Central Luzon Executive Director Roy Abaya said.

Villar, for her part, pledged to support the project.

“Agriculture is the one most important components of our country. Two thirds of our country is directly and indirectly reliable in agriculture. Natutuwa rin ako na kasama ninyo ang inyong mga pamilya sa proyekto dahil alam niyo ba ang mga family farmers ay napaka importante. In fact, sa buong mundo, experts have acknowledged that it will be family farmers that will feed the world,” Villar said.

Villar is also the chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food.

The event was also attended by Tarlac Governor Susan Yap, Tarlac City Mayor Maria Cristina Angeles, Tarlac Board Member Harmes Sembrano, Tarlac Agricultural University President Dr. Max P. Guillermo, and ATI Executive Director Luz Taposok.