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The Department of Education (DepEd) joins the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in promoting the value of rice to elementary and high school students.

In his talk during the recent 10th ceremonial harvesting at the rice garden in Rizal Park, Manila, Br. Armin A. Luistro, Department of Education secretary, said 13 schools in Manila will set up rice gardens, tentatively called Palayan sa Paaralan, for the kids and youth to appreciate and understand the production and development of rice.

“[Through these gardens], we could show our students how to plant and take good care of our rice,” Luistro said.

The education chief said the department is also considering the inclusion of rice science in its curriculum to introduce the art, science, technology of rice.

Luistro, who emphasized the value of not wasting rice through a ghost story involving an old woman condemned to collect the grains she had wasted in her lifetime, said the English translation of Magtanim ay Di Biro should also be corrected.

Supporting Luistro, Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim said, “We should correct the song’s English version. Instead of ‘Planting rice is never fun,’ [why not make it] when we have rice, we have something delicious to eat? With this, the students will learn to appreciate and conserve rice.”

Maintained by PhilRice based in Los Baños, the 300 square-meter rice garden was planted with NSIC Rc280, an inbred variety; Mestiso 20, hybrid rice; and Iniput-ipot, traditional variety.

The rice garden was established in 2001 for the urban dwellers and the youth to know more of the production stages of rice and its importance to the Philippine culture and heritage.

More than 400 students from 13 schools in Manila including Manila Science High School, H. Atienza Elementary School, F. Ma. Guerrero Elementary School, and Villamor High School had pledged to conserve rice during the half-day activity.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute