“We are using this economic development as primary tool in fixing problems on poverty and criminality, including insurgency,” said Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla last Tuesday. Since the program’s launch, the enrolled villages have seen a dramatic economic development through major infrastructure improvements and food production increases.
The most successful is Villaconzoilo, a village near Jaro, Leyte. Not only was it one of the most impoverished areas in the province, but the village was also affected by insurgency. Now it has evolved into a top farm-tourism destination in the province. The organization managed to raise PHP 20 million in assets (€310,000) with more than PHP 4 million (€62,000) cash in the bank, and cultivates 20-hectares of farmland.
The farm produces lettuce, broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, radish, asparagus, onions and strawberries, supplying groceries and hotels in the province. The success of Villaconzoilo resulted in the reduction of poverty incidence, early pregnancy and school dropout rates, Governor Petilla told sunstar.com.