Monday, March 28, 2011

P-Noy attends to rice needs of IPs

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Department of Agriculture (DA) recently launched a new program intended to make indigenous peoples (IPs) living in hilly areas attain self-sufficiency in traditional rice varieties.
Felicitas Balmores of the Tabuk City Agricultural Services Office, one of the four agricultural technologists from the province who attended the training for facilitators for the Upland Rice-based Cropping Systems for Indigenous Peoples program in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon recently, said that the new activity under the Agri Pinoy Program of the new administration is exclusively for IPs.
“The focus is to help IPs increase the production of traditional rice varieties and at the same time attain food sufficiency,” Balmores said.
Balmores said that during the training, the 63 agricultural workers from the different provinces with IP populations and the resource speakers had agreed on the definition of upland as rice production areas with slopes ranging from 18 to 44 degrees with no dikes.
Balmores said that the participants and the resource speakers in the training do not recommend areas with steeper slopes due to the erosion of top soils during rains unless the farmers practice the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT).
Balmores said that during the seminar, they were taught how to conduct farmers’ field school (FFS) for upland rice technology following the growth stages of the rice plants.
She informed that there is yet no prescribed technology for the facilitators to follow but that this will depend on the results of the techno demo farms that will be established in pursuit of the program.
She said that the Kalinga delegation to the training plan to establish techno demo in Agbannawag and Balawag, both this city, to promote upland rice farming and make use of the idle grassy lands in the two barangays.
“The difference between the upland rice farming the program is promoting and the kaingin system is that the latter involves the cutting of trees while the first does not,” Balmores said.
Balmores said that for the project, the provincial government will provide the rent of the tractor and farm inputs, the Tabuk City LGU the technical assistance while the Agricultural Training Institute of the DA will bankroll expenses for the FFS including the travelling expense of the facilitators.
Balmores informed that during the training, the participants recommended to the DA that the government should also recognize IP farmers in upland areas who follow the SALT by adding a category in the DA’s Gawad Saka awards for them.
Balmores said that the participants all admitted kaingin farming exist in their areas.
In the case of Tabuk, kaingin farming is blamed for the disappearance of sources for irrigation and domestic water and likewise the scarcity of wood for construction purposes.

Binoburoy flares up; 4th year high school stude murdered

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The current clan war or binoburoy within the Lubo tribe of Tanudan is feared to further escalate after two members of one of the clans were murdered this week.
At 5:30 PM of March 21, Roger Cullapoy, 35, a resident of Bulanao, this city, was shot to death by two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle while he was driving his tricycle in Bulanao.
Three days later in Upper Lubo, Tanudan, Sallaya Condaya, 49, was gunned down inside his house.
Apparently, the gunmen took advantage of the fact that other men relatives of Condaya had left for Bulanao to attend the wake of Cullapoy.
It is widely believed here that the shooting to death of the two victims are connected with the existing clan war between the Wacnang and Angnganay families of the Lubo tribe as they both belong to the latter clan.
The clan war was triggered by the shooting to death of Gilbert Angnganay, 52, a former vice mayor of Tanudan, a resident of Bulanao, allegedly by Santos Wacnang, 52, a resident of Purok 4, Bulanao, in the Bulanao public market on July 20,2010.
The Angnganay clan allegedly retaliated by killing a relative of Wacnang in Lubo, Tanudan sometime later.
Meanwhile on March 21, the body of a fourth year high school student of Pasil National High School in Batongbuhay, Pasil, who has been missing for two days, was found buried in a shallow grave near the house of Leslie Alicog at sitio Biyog, Batongbuhay.
According to sources, the body of Kenneth Lunes, 17, a resident of Batongbuhay, bore signs of torture.
The police are preparing charges of murder against Alicog who was positively identified by witnesses as the assailant. Alicog is at large. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Tabuk cooperative arrives

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Albeit not yet in the league of Tabuk Multi-purpose Cooperative (TAMPCO) which has passed the half billion peso mark in assets, Tabuk Farmers’ Multi-purpose Cooperative (TAFAMULCO) is rising to the ranks of Cordillera cooperatives.
General Manager Emilio Dulnuan said that in the latest rankings, the cooperative which has P90M in assets as of the end of last year has already broken into the top 25 cooperatives in the region assets-wise.
Dulnuan said that their last assets amount represents a 22 percent growth over the total assets of 2009, the same percentage of growth the cooperative posted in the two preceding years.
He revealed that the share capital of the cooperative also increased by 22 percent in 2010. The cooperative has P30.1M share capital as of December 31, 2010 as compared to the P24.4M in the previous year.
Dulnuan said that in 2010, the membership of the cooperative also grew by 13 percent which translates to 309 new members bringing the total number of members to 2,674.
“TAFAMULCO is gathering strength as evidenced by the significant increase in membership. The coming in of more and more members shows that the cooperative is now established and has the confidence of the public,” Dulnuan said.
Dulnuan dates back the increased trust of the community to six years ago when the cooperative moved from its rented offices in the old Goodwill Hospital building in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines compound in barangay Magsaysay to its own building in a lot it procured in barangay Casigayan.
Dulnuan strongly believes that the P3.5M-worth two-storey building provided the proof that the cooperative is now strong and capable which the public was looking for.
Dulnuan also informed that the cooperative has no problems with liquidity.
“We have P36M in the bank. P20M of this could be considered as idle funds as the balance is reserved for any eventuality,” Dulnuan said.
Dulnuan said that this is a complete reversal of the situation from 1997 to 2001 when the devastation wrought by the El Nino phenomenon caused the delinquency rate to spiral from 6.52 percent to 37 percent thereby forcing the cooperative to borrow from various sources so it could continue serving its members.
TAFAMULCO was born on September 23,1985 when farmer members of the UCCP-Tabuk bonded themselves into the informal association Tabuk Farmers Inputs Loan Association with an initial membership of 66 all of whom were members of the church.
Later, however, the association threw its doors open to the whole community accepting members regardless of religion, tribe, social status and political color.
The initial seed money of the association consisted of the P150,000.00 grant from the Asean American Free Labor Institute.
On January 25,1990, the TAFILA was registered with the government as a cooperative and renamed as TAFAMULCO.**

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kalinga throws support behind geothermal project

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The provincial government here has declared its support for the geothermal project of the Chevron Kalinga Ltd. in the towns of Pasil, Lubuagan and Tinglayan in upper Kalinga.
In a resolution passed last Tuesday, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) said that it is supporting the project “in cognizance of its potential contribution to the development of the Province of Kalinga as well as the entire country.”
The resolution said that the support will take the form of assistance in the solution of problems that will arise during the exploration and guarantee of the cooperation of the stakeholders to ensure the safety and free access of proponents to the area covered by the geothermal contract service (GSC) to conduct their development activities without interference.
The resolution also stated that the provincial government “will institute measures to ensure the safe, responsible and sustainable development of the geothermal resources consistent with culture and heritage of the Kalinga people, and ensure that it advances and provides equitable benefits to the Kalinga people.”
Sangunian secretary Mathew Matbagan said that the resolution was in response to a request from the proponent for endorsement to the three barangays who still have not entered a memorandum of agreement (MOA) allowing proponents to explore in their respective ancestral domains.
Matbagan said the resolution was issued after Antonio Yee, president and general manager of Chevron Geothermal Philippine Holdings Inc. (CGPHI), Bernardo Lim, president and chief executive officer of Aragorn Power and Energy Corporation (APEC) and Ed Sevilla of CGPHI enlightened the SP on the geothermal project.
Magbagan said that it was necessary to summon the company officials because of allegations regarding the project coming from the affected communities including the suspicion that the project is just a camouflage for mining intentions and the fear that the project will trigger volcanic activity.
Yee assured the SP that the project is purely geothermal and that when it comes to volcanic activity, a geothermal project is even positive as it will serve as an outlet for heat inside the earth.
Matbagan said that the SP liked the policy of the company on mining and also its policy to prioritize residents in covered barangays in employment except for highly technical positions to which nobody in the barangays qualify.
Matbagan informed that the representatives did not give a clear answer when SP member Chester Alunday asked if the project could proceed if the three barangays which have not signed a MOA will continue to refuse to do so.
Matbagan said that according to the representatives, the joint venture contract of the three companies is now pending with the Department of Energy (DOE).
The joint venture of Guidance Management Corporation (GMC) and APEC are the holders of the GSC for the proposed geothermal project but that, according to the representatives, the two have merged with Chevron Kalinga of CGPHI to carry out the project.
Matbagan said that the representatives informed that after five years of exploration, Chevron Kalinga will be ready to develop the project which will initially generate 100 MW.
Last month the SP issued Resolution No. 2011-020 welcoming the “investments and operations of the Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings Incorporated (Chevron CGPHI) in the province” because the company “has proven its potential contribution to the development of the country through its various programs such as basic human needs, education and training, small and medium enterprise development, capacity building and geothermal projects.”
The officials have also seen the advantage of clean energy development here saying that “Chevron’s natural gas and geothermal projects reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuel through the use of clean, indigenous and reliable energy.”
Last February 13, 2011, Yee was invited to grace the opening day of the 2011 Ulllalim Festival and 16th Kalinga Founding Anniversary.
If pushed through, the project site would involve 17,580 hectares in the ancestral domains of Balatoc, Dalupa-Ableg, Dangtalan, Guina-ang and Culayo in Pasil; Uma in Lubuagan; and Sumadel, Bangad, Tulgao, Dananao and Tongrayan in Tinglayan.**
TABUK INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATION. These women of barangay Dagupan Centro were among several groups who exhibited their dancing prowess during the International Women’s Day celebration in Tabuk City on March 8. More or less 1,500 women attended the activity which celebrated women’s rights.** Photo by Estanislao Albano, Jr.

Supreme Court likens LCP to wicked siblings

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Almost half of the members of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) which are questioning the legality of the cityhood of the 16 new cities in the Supreme Court (SC) because, among others, they do not qualify under RA 9009 cannot satisfy the requirements of that law themselves if the same were to be applied to them.
This is just one of the things mentioned in the ruling of the SC granting the motion for reconsideration of the 16 new cities against the earlier decision of the court reverting to its original ruling that the conversion of the 16 erstwhile towns is unconstitutional.
RA 9009 which was passed in June 2001 while the bills converting the 16 towns into cities were already pending in Congress fixed P100,000,000.00 as the local income requirement for a town aspiring to become a city.
According to the ruling penned by Justice Lucas Bersamin, 59 of the 122 members of the LCP have local revenues lower than the minimum set by RA 9009 which, according to the resolution, only showed that a city could function even with a local income lower than P100,000,000.00.
About the amount of P100,000,000.00, the ruling commented that it was arbitrarily set and that it’s intention was purely to make it extremely difficult for towns to convert into cities.
To highlight what it calls the arbitrariness and absurdity of the imposition, the court pointed out that the annual income requirement for highly urbanized cities which rank higher than component cities is only P50,000,000.00.
The records of the proceedings in the Senate wherein Senator Aquilino Pimentel declared that Senate Bill 2157 if it becomes a law will not retroact to the cityhood bills then pending in Congress was also mentioned in the ruling.
The court also pointed out that there is no truth to the allegation of the LCP that there will be a substantial reduction of their internal revenue allotment (IRA) due to the entry of the 16 new cities because their IRAs even increased in 2008, the year after the conversion of the new cities.
Taking note of the LCP’s complaint about the effect of the conversion of the 16 new cities in their capacity to carry out projects and deliver services without giving any thought to the problems of the new cities arising from the obligations they entered into as component cities, the court likened the LCP into “elder siblings wanting to kill the newly-borns so that their inheritance would not be diminished.”
In a related development, in a full page ad in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Estelito Mendoza, the lead counsel of the 16 new cities, published in full his letter dated June 19, 2009 addressed to then Chief Justice Reynato Puno which the LCP allege as a “secret letter” and which had asked the court to uphold the constitutionality of the 16 new cities.
The letter requested that the motion for reconsideration of the respondent cities be considered and resolved with the participation of all members of the court in compliance with the constitutional requirement that constitutional questions be decided by the court en banc.
Mendoza claimed that there was nothing secret about the letter because it was officially filed with the office of the Chief Justice with each member of the court furnished a copy.
“Distortion of truth by the League of Cities must be exposed lest, as has been said, ‘when falsehood is repeated often enough, the lie becomes the truth.’” **

Monday, March 7, 2011

TAMPCO urged to create more impact on society

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.
 SENIOR TAMPCO MEMBERS. These senior citizens listen to the proceedings during the 39th General Assembly and 40th Founding Anniversary of the Tabuk Multi-purpose Cooperative last February 26.** Photo by Estanislao Albano, Jr. 

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – As it savors the sweet aroma of success, the Tabuk Multi-purpose Cooperative (TAMPCO) should set its eyes on increasing its impact on the socioeconomic and political life of the community it serves and on increasing its contributions to human development.
This was the gist of the message of Anglican bishop and outgoing TAMPCO Board Chairman Renato Abibico during the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the coop which coincided with its 39th General Assembly on February 26.
Abibico who was Board chairman of TAMPCO in the last four years recalled that in March 14,1971, the cooperative was organized with 33 members and a total capital of P1,235.00 but that 40 years later, the assets of the cooperative has passed the half billion peso mark at P514,700,346.10 as of the end of 2010.
He commented that “the life story of TAMPCO is a good lesson to us that anything that is sown in wisdom, or anything that is established with good intentions, do merit God’s grace and approval.”
However, Abibico continued that TAMPCO should not rest on its laurels but aim for greater things. Citing Dr. M.M. Coady of Canada, he said that the “ultimate goal of the cooperative is to transform human beings from mere shopkeepers, whose thoughts are only limited to money and material things, into something more lofty, and that is to become creative.”
He said that TAMPCO has already embarked in this direction with the establishment of its training-inn-restaurant center, Pi water refilling and distribution service, the funeral care service and lately, the automatic teller machine (ATM) service all of which, according to him, are creating greater impact on the socioeconomic aspect of the community.
Abibico said that the establishment and operation of these new services of the cooperative are in accord with the principles being advocated by the cooperative movement namely the following: the people are the owners of development; the people are the prime movers of development; the people are the direct beneficiaries of the fruits of development; and democratic space for decision-making.
Referring to the financially rewarding operations of the cooperative in 2010, Abibico urged the members not to just pat themselves on the back but “rather set their eyes to more wonderful things that we could make as cooperative in creating more impacts on the socioeconomic and political life of our society.”
“Our mission is to continue to share in the whole process of development that would bring about abundant life not only for our members but for the wider community as well,” Abibico said.
The present asset figure of TAMPCO represent a growth of P57M from that of the previous year.
Within the same period, the membership of the cooperative also increased by 602 bringing the total members of the cooperative to 9,145.
In the elections conducted during the assembly, directors Josephine Doctor and Jefferson Wandag were reelected while Orlando Banatao, Patricia Abibico, Gilbert Cawis and Eddie Rodriguez were elected. They join incumbent directors Valentina Attolba, Pastor de Jesus, Fr. June Inbentan and Fr. Claudio Bagano.
The budget of the cooperative for 2011 with total revenue and net surplus targets of P58,409,894.83 and P25,108,848.05, respectively, and estimated operating expense of P33,301,046.78 was approved by the General Assembly.
The matter that elicited the most questions during the assembly was the usage of the Community Development Fund (CDF) which is three percent of the net income mandated by law to be set aside for community development purposes.
Abibico had reported that P500,000.00 from the CDF was used for the purchase of a dump truck donated to the Tabuk City LGU for waste disposal purposes while Chief Executive Officer Petra Baguiwen stated in her report that several medical missions were conducted and two entities were assisted using money from the CDF.
Under questioning from the members, Abibico said that the donation of the dump truck to the Tabuk City LGU was not covered by a Memorandum of Agreement as it was only responding to a solicitation letter and Chief Executive Officer Petra Baguiwen revealed the amounts given to the beneficiaries. It was decided that in the future, donations will be covered by MOAs and that the amounts given beneficiaries of the CDF will be stated in reports.**