By John March Balagasay
Being physically challenged is never a hindrance to live a normal life and do the things you love. That is what I realized when I met Emelio Dadulla, husband of inter cropping beneficiary, Pacita Caadan from Barangay San Isidro, Giporlos.
Emelio has been a farmer all his life and living with blindness did not stop him from working in the field. He was a coco farmer before typhoon Yolanda but after the coconut industry has suffered, he now focuses on crops for a living.
He was originally registered as the beneficiary of Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Livelihoods Program. However, since our tranches are being coursed through Palawan Express that required several trips to the town center and signatures on various documents and for his convenience also, CRS decided to replace the beneficiary by his wife, Pacita. Emelio, however, continues to be an efficient partner of Pacita.
In one of the monitoring visits during the emergency phase, I found him working in the field singing while planting. I could see his passion and dedication towards what he was doing. He actually cleared, with the help of his wife, more or less 1,500 sq. meters of land which was five times the requirement and even larger compared to what most of the beneficiaries have accomplished.
During the second phase, he continues to amaze me with his farm planted with several crops. He is willing to adapt new technologies in farming to further improve his skills even as he and his wife are often challenged by the market to generate better income. Nevertheless, his farm, with the help of his wife, continuously supports the family’s basic needs.
The image of a farmer who is blind in both eyes working in the farm continues to linger in my mind. I can’t help but admire his resiliency for in spite of not having the chance to see the light, he continues to be an asset to the family. If he can be productive as a person with disability, how much more a normal person like you and me can.