By Manila Standard


Atimonan, Quezon—With no choice but to stay indoors, many have turned to “plantitos” and “plantitas”—a new term for those now into the gardening craze.

What if more people start growing herbs with natural health benefits? The insulin plant (Costus Igneus), an herb originating from India is used to lower sugar-levels of people with diabetes. The fresh leaves are boiled to create herbal tea, or can be chewed directly by diabetics.


Healthier lifestyle

“The pandemic emphasized the need for a healthier lifestyle,” explained Litz Santana, VP and head for external affairs of Meralco PowerGen. “As a way of empowering the community, we partnered with the Atimonan LGU, the Barangay Health Workers Association and the Senior Citizens Affairs Office to distribute insulin seedlings to senior citizens and households with diabetics.”

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, lower limb amputation and stroke. Its prevalence is widespread especially in low to middle-income countries like the Philippines. The Rural Health Unit of Atimonan estimates that there is around 2,500 diabetics in Atimonan.

OSCA’s president Mr. Pedrito Reynoso said he will encourage the members of his organization to grow the insulin plants, and other medicinal herbs.


Big win for community

The Atimonan local government, meanwhile, helped in the delivery of the plants to nine health stations in Barangays Balubad, Caridad Ibaba, San Isidro, Malinao Ilaya, Malusak, San Rafael, Lubi, San Andres Labak and Poblacion

The project was also a win for the New Carinay Homeowners Association (NCHAI) farmers group who propagated and delivered the plants. A1E bought the seedlings as a form of livelihood support to the group.

A1E is the developer of the proposed 1,200-megawatt high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power plant in Barangay Villa Ibaba, Atimonan, Quezon. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen Corporation (MGen), the power generation arm of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).