ON A center island along the road in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia, Mandaue City, are patches of healthy-looking vegetables. Rows of kamunggay (moringa), lemongrass, eggplants, spinach, sweet potatoes (camote), Chinese cabbage (pechay) and tomatoes line the middle of the street called G. Ouano Extension.
They are for anyone’s picking — provided that permission is sought from the village.
Ibabao-Estancia Barangay Capt. Romulo Echavez Jr. explained that the project began after a fire hit the area on Feb. 29, 2020 and before community quarantines were imposed in Mandaue City due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The vegetables are for sharing among constituents to promote a healthy lifestyle, said Echavez.
Used to eating canned goods, Echavez noted that with the vegetables they harvest, his constituents can now have healthy meals.
Each center island, along the stretch of G. Ouano Extension, is assigned to a sitio that will take care of the vegetables with the assistance of the barangay’s staff.
Echavez said he realized that it was better to plant vegetables, rather than flowers, to help a lot of his constituents survive the Covid-19 crisis.
The vegetables will be given out for free, added Echavez.
Residents in the area only need to seek barangay assistance in harvesting the plants to avoid harming them if picked forcibly.
People who harvest the vegetables without the Barangay’s permission will be reprimanded by residents in the area assigned to protect the plants.
According to Echavez, almost all the residents of Barangay Ibabao-Estancia have already been able to benefit from the project.
Those from other barangays who want a share of their vegetables only have to make a request, Echavez told SunStar Cebu.
Echavez plans to expand the project using the center island along A.C. Cortes Avenue.
However, he still has to seek clearance from the City.
He also plans to provide Ibabao residents with seedlings so they can grow different vegetables in their backyards and share their harvests with neighbors.
This way, the residents will not have to rely on the vegetables planted on the center islands, he said. A donor has promised to provide unused water gallons for the project which will be used as pots for the new plants.