Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has launched today the Bayong-All-You-Can in the Senate and distributed 2.5 tons of rescue produce through Rural Rising Philippines. RuRi is a non-profit organization founded by spouses Ace and Andie Estrada from Baguio City. They help Filipino farmers by doing ‘rescue buys’ in areas where there are over-production of fruits and vegetables.
As early as 8:00 in the morning, the Senate employees already filled the Senate covered court where they lined-up to register for the event. One of the female participants said, “Ang galing ng naisip ni Sen. Legarda para sa birthday celebration niya. Malaking tulong ito dahil ang mahal ng gulay ngayon!”
A male personnel from the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms (OSAA) had a comment apt for February, “Ang bulaklak, after three days tinatapon na, [Ang] puso ng saging, kinabukasan puwedeng lutuin.”
More than 200 employees, including the Senate media who participated in the event were given one bayong each, which they filled with free fruits and vegetables rescued from distressed farmers. Everyone got an average of 10 kilos each, with vegetables bulging out and filling their arms.
Among the crops distributed are corn, carrots, puso ng saging, banana, red and white camote, guyabano, cabbage, chico, celery, wombok, onion leeks, raddish, sayote, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, eggplant, and lettuce.
“Nagsanib-puwersa kami ng RuRi upang iparating sa Senado ang aming adbokasiya at misyon. Nakita ko sila sa social media at nalaman ko na tinutulungan nila ang mga magsasaka sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Pilipinas lalo na sa Norte. May isang pangyayari na iyong mga pananim ay tinambak na lamang at nabulok. I was so touched noong nalaman ko ang istoryang iyan noong pandemya lalo pa’t marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nagugutom,” she said.
“Walang dahilan para magutom ang mga tao at hindi ako naniniwalang walang pagkain sa Pilipinas – sobra ang pagkain. Kaya inilunsad ko itong Bayong-All-You-Can para maintindihan natin ang kahalagahan ng pagkain at nang hindi na masayang ang mga pananim,” she furthered.
Last January 6, 2022, Legarda bought one ton of cauliflowers through RuRi from the farmers of Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur. These were distributed to the Tatalon Nanay Power, a women’s organization in Brgy. Tatalon, Quezon City. She visited the RuRi House located at UP Village after the ‘Paglalakbay Kontra Gutom’ event, where she was dubbed as the first Senator-Founding Member of RuRi.
“Our partnership with Sen. Legarda has given us so much encouragement to continue what we are doing to help distressed farmers within our limited reach. We are thrilled by her promise to make our accidental advocacy more impactful not just on the lives of Luzon farmers but those in the Visayas and Mindanao, as well. If that happens, she would have fulfilled the fervent dream of not only a simple couple, but that of the 36,000 members of our group. She has honored us deeply by her presence when she visited us. She is a senator for the farmers,” Andie Estrada said.
Legarda hopes to continue partnering with RuRi to help the distressed Filipino farmers get back on their feet and feed the nation with pride. They are proving that farm-to-table should not be a high society fad but a way of life that should reach all Filipinos.
“Tayo ay patuloy na gumagawa ng mga malikhaing paraan upang makatulong at magkaroon ng ugnayan ang ating mga magsasaka sa mga konsumer sa bansa. Maraming salamat, Rural Rising PH at sa mga empleyado ng Senado na sumuporta sa kauna-unahang Senate-Bayong-All-You-Can. Asahan po ninyong tayo ay magsasagawa ng mas marami pang activities na tulad nito,” said Legarda.