South Cotabato mom helps farmers in her community get crop insurance

Joy Maluyo
South Cotabato mom helps farmers in her community get crop insurance
'A mother always wants the best for children. Serving the barangay is just like serving my own family', says 41-year-old Evangeline Marfil

MANILA, Philippines – Evangeline Marfil was content being a housewife before becoming a public servant.

“When you feel that there is something more that you can do, you have to respond to the call. No matter how old you are or what status in life you are in, or even when you feel afraid that you have nothing to contribute,” she said.

She was 41 when she became a barangay councilor in Katipunan in Sto Niño, South Cotabato, where she serves more than 3,500 people.

When Marfil was starting, she was only armed with the desire to help, but she understood it wasn’t enough. 

“I joined different trainings. I asked questions, I read. I had to be honest about the things I didn’t know so others can help me grow.”

One of the things she’s most grateful of is learning how to link with other government agencies. She learned how to establish relationships, get information on available help, and be on the lookout on how she can better partner with other organizations.

Disaster risk reduction champion

Ask her community and most farmers will tell you about the crop insurance she helped them with. 

In 2015, after a small tornado damaged most of the farms in her community, 81 farmers were able to access a P1.2-million insurance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Company (PCIC). 

As the disaster risk reduction (DRR) committee chair in the community, she records and reports the damages caused by disasters. She also takes the initiative of linking farmers to PCIC, helping them document their activities from the land preparation to harvesting. 

With the onslaught of El Niño, Marfil also gathered farmers together with agriculture technicians before the cropping season started to determine how they can cope with its impact.

IRRIGATION. Evangeline Marfil is instrumental in helping her village mitigate climate risks, making sure that projects like this irrigation system are implemented

From planting rice, farmers have shifted earlier to corn which required less water to grow but reduced the planting area from 80 to 30 hectares, using only the areas that have enough water supply and soil moisture.

Having sound technical advice spared their village farmers from heavy losses. In the January 2016 report of the provincial agriculture office in South Cotabato, there were more than P60 million losses in agricultural crops, affecting more than 1000 farmers. 

Hail to the chief

Marfil has been commended for her efficient leadership.

“Only few barangays with very limited Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) are able to set up an operation center with established organizational structure based on the incident command system. On top of that, most of the local leaders in their barangay are already trained emergency responders,” shared Vina Meñez, World Vision DRR specialist for Mindanao.

Marfil’s barangay has won the provincial level Gawad Kalasag award for two consecutive years. The Gawad Kalasag is the highest award given annually by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). 

When asked what keeps her going, Marfil said: “A mother always wants the best for children. Serving the barangay is just like serving my own family.”

“A responsibility, no matter how small it may seem, can create a big impact if done properly,” the proud moher and barangay leader added.

In March, Marfil is set to replace the village chief who is running for higher office. She said she’s prepared to take on her new role in the community. –

Joy Maluyo is World Vision’s emergency communications specialist. World Vision has been doing advocacy and development work in Evangeline Marfil’s barangay for 15 years. 



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