By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — Fourty-nine percent or 196,094 hectares from Abra’s total land area of 397,555 hectares is covered by mining applications of local and large mining corporations.
Based on the data from the regional office of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB-DENR-CAR), the area could even be bigger as three Exploration Permit Applications (EPA) and two Financial and Technical Assistance Applications (FTAA) covered Abra and the nearby provinces of the Cordillera Adminstrative Region and Region 1. These applications are not included in the 196,094 hectares covered by applications that are entirely within Abra.
From the said mining applications in Abra, 82.65 percent are covered by Exploration Permits, 8.89 percent for FTAA, and 8.44 percent for Mineral Production Sharing Applications (MPSA). The applications cover all the 27 towns of Abra where most of the applicants are corporations, both foreign and local, and few individuals.
Three MPSA applications are approved and registered, the MGB-CAR data stated. The Jabel Corporation owned the two applications which cover the town of Baay-Licuan with a combined hectares of 1,051 hectares while the Abra Mining and Industrial Corp. had the single application which cover 673 hectares.
From the MGB-CAR data, three applications from three mining companies with 14,997 hectares were rejected while three FTAA applications from two corporations with a total covered hectares of 160,839 hectares were withdrawn by the aplicants.
Most of the listed minerals targetted by the mining applicants are gold and copper.
The 196,094 hectares covered by the applications in Abra is almost 18 percent from the 1,111,995.4351 hectares total mining applications in the Cordillera region.
Mine applications in Cordillera
Meanwhile, the total mine applications in the region which is 1,111,995.4351 hectares is almost 61 percent of the region’s land area of 1,829,368 hectares.
The MGB-CAR data show that the mine applications in the region are distributed as follows: 6.89 percent MPSA, 27.21 percent EPA, 65.38 percent FTAA, and the other remaining for sand and gravel, among others. The approved applications, according to the data, merely cover 26,507.67 while those under process covers 1,085,486.7615.
In the national level, the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamayan ng Pilipinas cited that MGB data where more than 1,046,349 hectares of lands in the country are covered by mining interests.
Eighty-four percent or 880,653 hectares of these (1,046,349 hecatres) are located in the ancestral domains of indigenous peoples.
MGBs mine applications’ cleansing
National media also reported that MGBfs Leo Jasareno claimed that they had rejected 1,150 applications which is 53 percent of the 2,180 pending applications at the end of February 2011. Jasareno claimed that their move is to reform the industry.
The MGB “cleansing” on the mine applications is criticized by indigenous and environmental groups as a move to facilitate the exploitation of the natural resources.
As the present mining law is exploitative, the KAMP support the people’s mining bill where mining should ensure the benefit the Filipino people, including the indigenous peoples, Pia Malayao said. # nordis.net
By ADELA DEYAEN
BAGUIO CITY — Isang progresibong prosisyon at paggunita ang isinagawa ng mga progresibong grupo bago ang araw ng Seman Santa, ika-20 ng Abril, Miyerkules.
Sabi ni Gerry Cacho ng Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili iti Syudad (ORNUS), kanilang isinagawa ang prosisyon ng crucifixion of Jesus dahil patuloy din umanong dinadala ng sambayanang Pilipino ang paghihirap mula sa mga mapang-aping estado at naghaharing uri. Aniya, ang mga isyu ng lipunan na siyang kinasasadlakan ng mga Pilipino ay nararapat lamang talakayin sa 7 estasyon ng prusisyon.
Ayon sa Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) at ORNUS patuloy ang paghihirap ng samba-yanang Pilipino hangga’t di sila pinakikinggan ng gobyerno. Dahil sa patuloy na pagsa-sawalang bahala ng gob-yernong pakinggan ang mga hinaing ng mga mahihirap na mamamayan, patuloy na lumalala ang pagsasamantala at pang-aapi, dagdag pa nila.
Ang mga isyu ay tinalakay ng mga iba’t ibang sektor ng syudad.
Ang tuloy-tuloy na pag-taas ng presyo ng langis, ayon sa pangulo ng Pinag-kaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) Metro Baguio Carlito Wayas, ang siyang dahilan ng pagtaas ng mga pangunahing pangangailan at serbisyo publiko.
Aniya ang huling pagtaas ng pamasahe ay walang silbi dahil namumulubi parin ang mga tsuper sa walang humpay na pagsirit ng presyo ng langis. Dagdag pa niya, hindi sapat ang subsidiyang isinusubo ng Pangulong Benigno Aquino III sa mga pampasaherong traysekel at dyip. “Ang kailangan ng mga tsuper ay pangmatagalang solusyon at hindi pang isang buwan lamang,” aniya.
Kailangang isabansa ang industriya ng langis at tanggalin ang Extended Value Added Tax sa presyo ng anumang produkto ng langis. Ayon sa kanya, ito ay solusyong maaaring maka-tulong sa papalalang kalagayan ng mga tsuper. Sinusuportahan umano ng PISTON ang House Bill 4355 na isinalang sa kongreso ni Bayang Muna Representative Teddy Casiño.
Kabilang din ang mga manggagawang pangkalusugan sa mga nagbahagi ng kanilang isyu. Nanawagan ang Community Health Education Services and Training in the Cordillera Region (CHESTCORE) na itigil na ang patuloy na panliligalig sa mga boluntaryong mga manggagawang pangkalusugan sa Cordillera.
Ayon sa CHESTCORE, ilan sa kanilang mga miyembro ang nakatanggap ng death threats sa kanilang mga cellphones mula sa mga di kilalang numero.
Binigyang diin ng CHESTCORE na patuloy pa rin silang magbibigay ng training sa mga komunidad lalong lalo na sa mga lugar na hindi inaabot ng mga serbisyo ng gobyerno.
Ayon kay Cacho ang mga manggagawa ng gobyerno ay natratraydor rin sa kanilang mga paggawa. Aniya kulang na kulang ang sahod ng mga manggagawa lalo pa at patuloy ang pagtaas ng mga bilihin.
Ang Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) ay kaisa din sa panawagan ng KMU sa paghingi ng dagdag sahod ng mga manggagawa.
Tinalakay din sa prusisyon ang mga isyu ng kapaligiran, pandarambong sa mga rekurso at ang patuloy na paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao at extrajudicial killings. Malaki rin ang epekto ng mga isyung ito sa mga kabataan, ani Cacho.
Nagbibigay ng kalbaryo ang mga ganitong isyu sa mga Pilipinong naghihikahos sa hirap, ani Cacho. Dagdag niya nagpapatuloy ang mga isyung ito dahil sa mga ganid sa gobyerno at mga mapag-samantalang tao.
Iniugnay rin ni Cacho ang pahayag ni Kristo “Ama, bakit mo ako tinalikdan?” sa pagsa-sawalang bahala ng gobyerno sa kanyang mamamayan. Katulad ni Kristo, uhaw pa rin sa demokrasya, katarungan at kapayapaan ang mga mama-mayan, dagdag pa ni Cacho.
Ani Cacho ang mga subsidhiya ng gobyerno ay di sapat at pantawid gutom lamang ito. Aniya kung pakikinggan ng gobyerno ang kanilang mga hinaing, magkakaroon ng seguridad ang bawat mama-mayan dahil ito ay pangmata-galang solusyon.
Ang aktibidad na ito ay pampaniit lamang sa mas malaking pambansang pagkilos sa Araw ng Paggawa sa Mayo Uno, ani Cacho. Magpapatuloy pa rin sila aniya sa pagprotesta hanggat magkaroon ng tunay at makabayang gobyerno. # nordis.net
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, (April 19) — Members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of this town who are facing charges of graft and corrupt practices posted bail today at Branch 62 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) here.
Respondents Romeo Salda, Jim Botiwey. Henry Kipas, Arthur Shontogan, Roderick Awingan, Horacio Ramos JR., Estrella Adeban, Francis Lee, Von Ryan Tauli, and Robert Namoro paid P15,000 each, a total of P150,000.
Vice Mayor Salda said in an interview that they did not wait for the warrant of arrest to arrive.
They voluntarily went to the RTC and requested the bail bond be lowered which was approved. Originally he said, the bail bond was P30,000 each but it was decreased by 50%.
Salda added that the money they used for the bail came from their personal funds. “The receipt were given individually,” he said.
This writer asked his opinion regarding the case, he said “Anyway, it is already in court, we will just wait for its deliberation.”
On March 31, the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause on the graft and corrupt practices case filed by Jimmy Laking, a writer and columnist of a regional paper against them.
Laking on December 21 last year was declared persona non grata in the SB hall through a resolution unanimously approved on 1st reading by the council. This was because of the allegation of the SB that Laking “violated media ethics and standards.”
Laking, according to them misquoted members of the council on several occasions. Moreover, they said, “propagated misleading information and mistrust, discord and chaos among the members of he council and the general public because of his repeated infidelity to his profession”.
Moreover, the said resolution was published at the expense of the SB in the Baguio Midland Courier.
Prosecutor’s office then considered Laking’s claims that “the actions of the SB has accused, convicted and sentenced him to be persona non grata with out even informing him’. Moreover, he asserts that his reputation, record, goodwill and the name as a journalist and a resident of La Trinidad were destroyed”. # nordis.net
By NERISSA JANE P. FONSECA, ANGELA RICA ARCE and PIA REPORTS
BAGUIO CITY — Kabataan Partylist-Ilocos region urged the youth of the first district of Ilocos Sur to vote wisely in the upcoming special elections for Congressional representative slated on May 28 in Vigan City.
“Una sa lahat, nananawagan tayo sa mga kapwa natin kabataan na bumoto at makilahok sa gaganaping special elections,” (First of all we encourage all our fellow youth to participate in the upcoming special elections) said Lee Biscarra, ang Ilocos Sur Coordinator ng Kabataan Partylist.
Biscara further called on the youth to be discerning. He added that the youth should study the platform of government and programs of the candidates and choose the one whose platform would really serve the interest of the people.
He also pointed out that the programs of the candidates for the youth should also be considered.
“Partikular sa mga kabataan at estudyante, mahalagang tignan kung sino sa mga kandidato ang mayroong programa na seryosong sasagot sa krisis sa edukasyon at kawalan ng disente at akmang trabaho, lalo na at marami tayong mga bagong graduates at dumadami ang mga nagsisipagtapos na walang trabaho,” ( Particular to the youth and students, it is important to study who among the candidates has a program that would seriously address the education crisis and lack of decent and fit jobs, especially that there are many new graduates and a growing number of them who are unemployed.) Biscarra stressed.
Ilocos Sur’s Provincial Election Supervisor Marino Salas said last April 7 that the special election period will start on April 28, 2011 until June 7, 2011.
The holding of a special election is to fill up the congressional post vacated by former Congressman Ronald Singson who resigned as lawmaker after the Hongkong court sentenced him to 18 months in jail in connection with a drug trafficking case.
Salas said the following acts are prohibited during the election period: alteration of territory of a new polling precinct and establishment of a new precinct; carrying of firearms; transfer or detail of officers and employees in government offices, including public school teachers; and the use of bodyguards or security personnel by candidates whether or not they are members of the police, the military and other law enforcement agencies.
According to Salas, the filing of certificate of candidacy for those who want to vie for the position will start on May 9 up to 13, while the campaign period will start on May 14 and ends on the 26.
Salas said manual counting of votes will be done for the special polls.
The 1st District of Ilocos Sur which has 161, 975 registered voters is composed of 10 towns and 1 city namely: Sinait, Cabugao, San Juan, Magsingal, Santo Domingo, San Ildefonso, San Vicente, Bantay, Santa Catalina and Caoayan; and Vigan City. # nordis.net
By SUCCESS MIA A. PADAONG
BAGUIO CITY — The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the government is just a band aid solution to poverty, Gerry Cacho of the Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili iti Syudad (ORNUS) said.
“The people need a long term solution that would address poverty. The government’s solution is very temporary,” she said.
Instead of this program, Cacho said that the budget could have been used in a more useful and pro-people project. She said that this program of the government will not pull poor families out of the quagmire of poverty. “What we need are secure jobs with just wages,” she said.
Cacho said this dole out program of the government only teaches the people to be dependent and does not encourage poor families to be self-supporting, independent. She added that this program is not sustainable.
Moreover, she said that nationalization of the agriculture industry would support, not only the farmers but the Filipino people. If there would be support to our agricultural industry, then the importation of rice would stop. She pointed out that majority of the land of the country is devoted to agriculture thus, government should invest in it, in what the country has.
Jason Verzola, chairperson of Anakbayan in University of the Philippines Diliman said that the cash grants given to poor households would not guarantee and secure a quality life and education for the children.
He explained that sending the children beneficiaries to school does not mean that they will have proper and quality education. He said that most of the schools in the country lack in facilities like books, chairs and tables, laboratory equipment and instruments and even teachers.
Verzola added, instead of giving them (beneficiaries of CCT) a cash grant, why don’t they just give them jobs or employment.
According to John Eric B. Escalante, information officer of Social Marketing Unit of the DSWD, the 4Ps is a national government program that provides cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their education, health and nutrition particularly to children ages 0-14.
According to Escalante there are 23,189 estimated beneficiaries from 42 municipalities of CAR as of March 29, 2010 and the registration for indigents is still going on.
The DSWD selects the beneficiaries through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) program where assessment surveys of households in the selected municipalities are conducted to determine who and where the poor are.
The poorest households are selected through a Proxy-Means test. The test determines the socio-economic category of the families by looking at certain proxy variables such as ownership of assets, type of housing, education of household head, livelihood and the access of water and sanitation facilities.
The 4Ps provides a conditional cash grant to beneficiaries. Funds allotted are: P6,000 a year or P500 per month per household for health and nutrition expenses and P300 per month per child for education or P3,000 for one year (grant for education is for three qualified children). The household receives a subsidy of P1,400 monthly during the school year or P15,000 annually if they comply with the conditions.
There is P15 billion budget per year allotted for the program per 1 Million family beneficiaries. The budget increases accordingly to cover additional beneficiaries. CAR has 3% of the P15 Billion budget for pinpointed beneficiaries. # nordis.net
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The Provincial Consultative Body (PCB) of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Benguet in a resolution requests the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s (SP) assistance in the formulation of guidelines for the mandatory representation of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in legislative bodies.
The resolution states that in section 16 of the Republic Act 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), “IPs/Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) have the right to participate fully, if they choose, at all levels of decision making in matters which may affect their rights, lives, destinies through procedures determined by them as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous political structures and consequently, the State shall ensure that the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other legislative bodies”.
In order to operationalize the said provision, the PCB and the Chairpersons of the Ancestral Domain – Indigenous Peoples Organizations, different ancestral domains in Benguet sat in a meeting and considered the formulation of local guidelines for the said mandatory representation of IPs in legislative bodies.
According to the resolution, during the meeting of the PCB and the AD-IPO last month, it was a consensus decision that they will ask the assistance of the SP in creating the selection processes and mechnisms for the IPs/ICCs to provide for the mandatory representation.
Moreover, it was also decided that the chairman of the head the committee on IP will head the drafting team. Representatives from PCB, AD – IPOs and the NCIP provincial office will also be part of the drafting team. # nordis.net
By STELLA GASPAR
BAGUIO CITY — Public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide Metro Baguio (PISTON MB) President Carlito Wayas are still not confident with the oil subsidy of the government.
In an interview, Wayas said, “ Ang tingin ng PISTON MB (sa oil subsidy) ay parang salamat at hindi salamat. Salamat dahil kahit papaano ay may ibibigay ang gobyerno na subsidy para sa mga drayber; Alam naman natin na patuloy na tumataas ang presyo ng langis. Hindi salamat dahil papaano naman ang mga drayber pagkatapos ng isang buwan? Ang pagkaalam namin ay isang buwan lang yo’ng ibibigay na subsidy.”
According to Wayas, the subsidy will only be for short term because after one month, the dilemma of drivers on oil price hikes will be sustained as it is.
Wayas also pointed out the existence of the Oil Deregulation Law, which worsened the oil price hikes. “Mula nung naimplement ang Oil Deregulation Law ay wala ng control ang gobyerno (sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis) kundi ibinigay na sa kartel ng langis ang control na itaas ang presyo ng kanilang mga produkto, na kanila namang sinasamantala,” he added.
Republic Act (RA) No. 8479 of 1998, the Oil Deregulation Law, was enacted during the Ramos administration. It aims “to ensure a truly competitive market under a regime of fair prices, adequate and continuous supply of environmentally-clean and high quality petroleum products.” The Congress ruled to deregulate oil trade inside the country to favor free market competition among oil companies in the country.
This prohibition of the interference of the government on the oil industry paved the way for the filing of the House Bill (HB) 4355, according to Wayas. “Hinihingi namin ang pagbasura ng Oil Deregulation Law upang muling hawakan ng gobyerno ang industriya ng langis. Ang House Bill 4355 ay nagnanais na ibalik sa gobyerno ang kanyang power na i-kontrol ang industrya ng langis,” he said.
Aside from the HB 4355, another alternative that Wayas cited is the retraction of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT). “Alisin ang EVAT sa langis kung saan ay pitong piso ang awtomatik na maaalis sa prevailing price (ng presyo ng langis) ngayon. Malaking bagay yo’n sa mga drayber at opereytor. At malaking bagay din yo’n sa mga mamamayan,” Wayas stated.
It was in late March when PNoy signed the executive order on fuel subsidy for PUVs like jeepneys and tricycles. The estimated cost of the government for this project is P500M. “Smart cards” will be given to PUV franchisees to pay fuel at any gas stations; the cards are consumable for one month.
Meanwhile, Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) drivers in the province have voiced out their views on the oil subsidy.
“Kulang yun (isang buwan). Mas makakatulong yung pagtataas ng pasahe,” said Dario Bucahan, a Baguio-Taloy route jeepney driver.
Another driver of the same route, Reynaldo Gonzales said, “Yung subsidy na iyan ay para sa mga short trip lang. Paano naman kaming mga pang long trip.”
While other PUJ drivers are still hopeful that the oil subsidy will really push through.
“Maganda rin, makakatipid sa krudo. Pero mas maganda pa rin kung pati fare increase maipatupad. Sana mapatupad nga iyang oil subsidy,” said Edison Balangitan, a Baguio-Balacbac route driver.
A Baguio-Badiwan route PUJ driver named Auxie Salibad is hopeful of the implementation of the oil subsidy. “Sana maipatupad iyang oil subsidy. Mas maganda kung maipapatupad yan para hindi lang puro pamumulitika,” Salibad stated.
Taxi drivers, who are not part of the oil subsidy, believe that the oil subsidy is not the primary answer to the problems of PUV drivers when it comes to dealing with oil price hike. “Hindi naman kasi gobyerno ang makikinabang d’yan. Hindi rin mga drayber. Kundi mga oil companies. Dapat ang pinagtutuunan ng pansin ay y’ong kung papaano kokontrolin ng gobyerno y’ong pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” said a taxi driver who wished to keep his name private.
Taxi driver Lucer Gimeno is positive about the oil subsidy if it would be implemented. “Maganda iyan kung totoo,” Gimeno said.
The regional office of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC CAR) is still waiting for the finalized Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the oil subsidy, according to Regional Director Celina Claver.
“Ipinangako ni PNoy iyang oil subsidy noon pang Marso, hanggang ngayon ay wala pa naman. Ang sabi niya ay ibibigay na nila sa May first. Kung saan ay nakaamba na naman ang protesta ng mga progressive groups tulad ng PISTON MB na kundinahin muli ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at ang paghingi ng dagdag na sahod para sa mga manggagawa,” Wayas said.
PISTON MB is continuously asking for the support of the people for the approval of HB 4355. # nordis.net
By MAY ANN R. AGCAOILI
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Most of the associations in the current trading post raised economic concerns regarding the proposed Agri- Pinoy trading center particularly regarding the new trading post.
Mayor Greg Abalos said that if the Agri-Pinoy trading center can accommodate all the ,traders, disposers and truckers most probably, there will be a transition. The existing trading post will just be a retailing area for vegetables and fruits which trading post associations reacted upon.
In an interview, Evelyn Buccat, officer of Cordillera Trading Post Traders Association (CTPTA) said her disapproval of the Agri-Pinoy Trading Center. “Maghahanap na lang kami ng ibang Trading Post baka mas mahal pa ang babayaran namin doon. Ang mga farmer naman matutuwa dahil mayroong post harvest facility doon,”she said.
According to Rey Docles, farmer, it is hard for them and for the buyers to adjust. He explained that they prefer to stay at the existing trading post due its proximity to the Business Central District.
Vice Chairman of Packers Association, Mary Bell Lusadan is against the transfer of the Trading Center because she feels that it will just increase the fees. She added that the existing trading post is nearer and more accessible than that of the the Agri- Pinoy.
“Okay lang naman sa amin na may bagong ipapatayong Trading Post. Ang tanong lang namin sa kanila(Government) ay kung papaano ba iyong pamamalakad,mas higher ba iyong rental ng stalls o may gagawin kaya sa mga gulay namin? At kung paano kami papasok doon,may requirements ba?”said Lorna Peloloc,(CTPTA) Manager.
However, Letty Tomas, cabbage disposer, said that if the government will oblige them to transfer,they will do so but if not, it’s better because the existing trading post is their comfort zone.
According to Corazon Baliqued,disposer, the idea is good but she is afraid that their profit will decrease and their retailers will be lost. She also said that the removal of middlemen in Agri-Pinoy project will just increase the rate of unemployment because in some ways they were able to help individuals who are not being helped by the government.
On the other hand there are those people who are looking on the brighter side of having a new trading post especially the packers and truckers.
The Disposers association officer, Edna Dionisio, pinpoints that building a new trading post is a good idea and it would be better if they will put up an outlet of vegetables to avoid congestion and to control the price. Norman Abaya, packer, said that the idea of having another trading post will lessen the congestion.
Rover Paiking, said that building a new trading post is a good idea as they have noticed the wish of farmers fora new and wide trading post and a wider space for parking vehicles that will minimize traffic.
On the other hand,truckers were relieved when they heard about the trading post. Herculano Cabante from Tarlac said that he was glad to know that they (Govenment and DA) will build a trading post in strawberry farm. “Maganda iyan para papalapit naman kami kasi ang hirap makapasok dito(trading post) kailangan pang magpark doon at kumuha ng number bago makapasok dito,he said.”# nordis.net
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Agriculture, Apolinario Camsol in an interview reiterated the need to classify chicken dung being sold in the province.
In the proposed ordinance governing and regulating the sale and delivery of chicken dung proposed by Camsol, one of its highlight is the need to classify it.
He explained that there have been complaints that dung sold today are of poor quality, adulterated or with mixtures. He added that fresh and wet dung are being transported emitting foul odor.
He said there is a need to identify and list the source of adulterated dung.
“We are encouraging the farmers to list the source of adulterated dung for them to be penalized,” he added. He further said that farmers are forced to buy poor quality dung.
First class dung as stipulated in the proposed ordinance refers to chicken dung that are pure (no mixture), composed and clean; 2nd class refers to dung that are dry with some rice hulls or feathers; and rejects refers to dung with soil or dirt mixtures, adulterated, very odorous, watery and heavy.
Moreover, all persons transporting the dung from its origin or poultry must secure a handlers and livestock transport carrier license from the Bureau of Animal Industry – Marketing Development Division (BPI-MDD).
Also, trucks hauling dung must be road worthy, equipped and properly fixed to prevent the contents from dropping, sifting or leaking while in transit. The truck according to the proposed ordinance must carry disinfectant at all times.
Camsol said, should the proposed ordinance be approved, there will be a basis for inspection in the trading and selling areas of the dung. Moreover, a collection area of tax per municipality will be set. # nordis.net
DOLE to hold jobs fair
By Charmie J. Acio
BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will conduct a job and livelihood fair for the new graduates in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
According to George G. Lubin, Local Employment Officer III of DOLE, the forum will be held on May 1 at the Convention Center to explain the different available jobs. He added that the forum hopes to help mitigate the ballooning number of unemployed through the conduct of job and career employment coaching. #
* * * * *
CHD warns public on summer diseases
By Lito Dar/PIA-CAR
BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Health is reminding the public of possible health risks and diseases that comes with summer season.
City Health Services Office Medical Officer IV Dr. Donna Bel Tubera, affirmed that with the onset of the summer weather, diseases usually associated with heat usually appear which include food and water borne diseases – like food poisoning and typhoid. Other summer diseases she mentioned were measles, malaria, sore eyes, chicken pox, skin diseases (rashes, heat rash), and boils.
Heat stroke is another risk although there is no recorded case yet in the city but Tubera advised the people to be wary of this occurrence. #
* * * * *
Rain gauges to serve as early warning devices
By Lito Dar/PIA-CAR
BAGUIO CITY — In line with the government’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) effort, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), in coordination with the city government, led the installation of a DOST- designed and donated rain gauge in at Lourdes Extension Barangay, here last Monday.
The said rain gauge serves as an Early Warning System (EWS) for the city during the rainy season. If such equipment collects 150mm of water within 24 hours, it is a basis to call for forced evacuation.
The group is set to install another rain gauge in the city. DOST also donated rain gauges to all provincial governments in the region. #
Itogon enacts additional business permit requirement
By May Ann Agcaoili
La Trinidad, Benguet — The Itogon resolution enacted as an ordinance has been approved on its 2nd and final reading, April 18.
The ordinance is entitled Requiring Business Applicants applying or renewing their business permits to secure a Certificate of Employer Registration from Pag- Ibig Fund.
This is a pre-requisite to the issuance of business permits in the Municipality. According to the Vice Mayor Noel Ngolob, the effectivity of the ordinance is based on the local government code especially if the ordinance did not state the specific date of effectivity. #
* * * * *
Agrarian funds for infra projects to help raise incomes of farmers
By Dan B. Codamon/PIA-CAR
HINGYON,Ifugao — The Department of Agrarian Reform-Cordillera Administrative Region (DAR-CAR) recently assured the beneficiaries of this community of forthcoming funds for agrarian projects.
DAR CAR regional director Renato R. Navata, allayed fears of the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) of the Hingyon Special Tribal Reform Community (STARC) that there are funds for the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Project (ARISP).
Navata explained that under ARISP III funded by the Japanese government, P22 million has been allotted for the barangays of Poblacion-Cababuyan farm-to-market road; P11,924,000 for the Anao and Umalbong irrigation system; and P1.5 million for post harvest facility with a capacity of 3,500 cavans. #
* * * * *
Police trains women cops on gender issues
By Maritess B. Beñas/PIA-CAR
BANGUED, Abra — Around 28 policewomen from the provincial police offices (PPOs) of Abra and Apayao underwent a gender and development (GAD) seminar at Camp Juan Villamor, here in continuing efforts to equip the police force in effectively dealing with women who are victims of social injustice and violence.
Police Senior Inspector Perlita Tacio of the PRO-COR’s Family Juvenile Gender and Development (FJGAD) Office served as the main speaker.
Tacio emphasized the need for the policewomen to take special consideration of the emotional and psychological implications of the sad experiences of the women who are victims of social injustices such as sexual abuse, discrimination and violence in all forms. #
Earth Day reveled in Ilocos Norte
By Stella Gaspar
BANGUI, Ilocos Norte — The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) conducted a thanksgiving for the Earth Day celebration on April 19 at the Bangui windmills.
Communication and Media Office (CMO) Department Head June Arvin Gudoy said the event was a “Panagyaman” (thanksgiving) to the Creator for saving Ilocos Norte from natural disasters, especially from the recent tsunami scare in Japan.
He added that a commitment towards renewable energy, green technology, solid waste management and water reservation management was signed between all town mayors in the province, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and the Department Of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Ilocos Norte in the same event. #
* * * * *
5.3 magnitude earthquake shakes Laoag
By Cristina Arzadon/PIA Ilocos Norte
LAOAG CITY — A 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook Laoag and nearby towns at 1:30 PM, April 19 but caused no damage to property or injury to persons, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
Ernesto Agnir, Sr., Science Research Specialist of Philvocs based in Pasuquin town, said the tremor was located 128 kilometers northeast of Laoag City. It was felt at intensity 2 in Laoag, Batac City, and the towns of Pasuquin and Sarrat. It was also felt at intensity 5 in Calayan in Cagayan and intensity 3 in Claveria in Cagayan.The tremor was tectonic in origin with a depth of 15 kilometers.
It was the second temblor that hit Laoag in five days. A 3.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the city and nearby towns on April 13. #
* * * * *
NPA yields to Pangasinan police officer
By Freddie G. Lazaro/PIA 1 Ilocos Sur
NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur — A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating along Cordillera mountains voluntarily surrendered to a police officer assigned in Pangasinan police provincial office, it was reported here Monday, April 18.
Police identified the NPA as Froilan Culang, aka “Ka John,” 23, from Kalinga province and a member of “Kilusang Larangang Guerilla” (KLG) Bagkas, operating in Kalinga province.
Culang reportedly agreed to surrender to Chief Inspector Froilan Lopez, head of the Investigation Division of the Pangasinan police office when Lopez promised to help him continue his studies.
Lopez added that Culang is presently under tactical interrogation at the provincial police office while his benefits as a surrenderee are being processed. #
Easter is usually a long holiday and vacation time for the whole family among Filipinos. Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday are nonworking days nationwide in observance of the Holy Week. This year it is April 21 to the 24th.
Christendom celebrates Easter, the renewal of life as symbolized by the ressurection of the Christ. Jesus who rose from death is taken as Truth of God’s power. The Truth that renews life of a people, of a nation. Christ’s passion and death is observed by the faithful and then the end of the Lenten season is celebrated on Easter Sunday (today) with its message of hope and deliverance as witnessed by the Christ’s resurrection.
Also, from April 19 to 26th is the observance of the Passover by the Jews. The family eat and observe this together with stories to commemmorate the deliverance of Israel from slavery under King Rameses the II of Egypt.
Both weeks are observed by nations as an achievement of deliverance, freedom from persecution and slavery. It is particularly important in the observance that the people reflect on a history. For the Christians, they reflect on Christ’s life and resurection; the Jews reflect on their ancestors’ battles and flight for freedom and deliverance.
On this Holy Week, as followers of Christ and as citizens, have we reflected on the state of our nation? On our people? On our history? On our contributions to ensure a better community?
Let us reflect: are we part of anti-people activities? Do we condone these acts against our neighbors? Do we hold our silence when we witness a crime being commited? Do we recognize the Golden Rule? Or are we part of solving these problems? # nordis.net
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
It is summer. And it is at its height. Even in Baguio City, known for its cool weather, is at its hottest. As it is holy week and with a long vacation, adventurers and climbers are exploring to visit Mount Pulag, Mount Kalawitan, Mount Amuyao, Mount Ugo, other mountains in the region.
With the scorching weather, it is good to know the condition of the forests cover in the country. And the easiest way is through the internet. The present total forest cover in the country is 7,162,000 hectares or 24 percent of the total national land area of 115,830 square miles (300,000 sq. Kms.). Reports show that the forest loss since the 1990s is 3,412,000 hectares.
But the forest loss did not only start in 1990 but earlier. Reportedly, forest loss was on its height just after World War II where timber was saleable overseas.
In the Cordillera, the climate was very cold. I remember our younger days, we felt the coldest temperatures when we travel via the Halsema Highway where we needed thick jackets to warm ourselves. That area was once covered with very thick forests. But with the advent of large scale logging – yes legal logging through the state issued Timber License Agreement, the thick forests in that area was substantially reduced, particularly after World War II. The timber from the Cordillera were exported to Japan for its rebuilding. The logging company, and the state, gained much from the profits from the sale of the forest resources there. But not the people, who are now burdened to suffer the effects of logging in that area. I never heard of the company’s social responsibility to plant trees as a consequence of their logging in that area.
Of course, the vegetable garden expansions, kaingin and small logging had contributed to deforestation in that area. But the effects – environmental or else – was not as substantial compared to the large scale logging.
Back to the issue on forest cover, experts proved that deforestation is actually traced from the conduit state and corporate interests exploitation of the natural resources, particularly large scale logging and mining. The state-blessed large scale resource utilization turned our forest cover way below the ideal 40 percent cover in order to have a balanced ecology. In fact our forest is among the most endangered and critical condition worldwide, pointed out environmental experts. They added that with the present condition of our forests, the Philippines’ forest cover should be 54 percent of the land area in order to be ecologically sound and to sustain its ecosystems. And in order to help in addressing the problem on climate change, we need to adopt measures to salvage our remaining forests. We must push the government to adopt a moratorium on large scale logging and mining.
Indigenous and environmental organizations nationwide launched systematic campaigns for environmental conservation. They should be lauded for being in the forefront of this inter-generational issue of environmental conservation. They had been raising the effects of large scale mining on environmental degradation. The Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) said that 84 percent or 880,653 hectares of land from the MGB recorded mining interests of 1,046,349 hectares are found in the indigenous peoples’ ancestral domains. Such mine interests threaten these areas where forests have been maintained through their (indigenous peoples) resource use management system – scientifically proven to be sustainable.
In the Cordillera, villages in the mining communities have witnessed the culprit on environmental destruction that is large scale mining. They are at the forefront of the anti-mining campaigns to share their experiences as new mining applications covers 60 percent or 1,111,995.4351 hectares of the region’s total land area of 1,829,370 hectares. IPs proved that mining companies raked profits from their resources and left their communities destroyed. Such experiences heightened their opposition to large scale mining. And as we also witnessed the effect of deteriorating forests cover and mining such as floods, the siltation in major rivers and dams, reduced rainfall, depleted water sources, pollutions, and extinction of species, we need to learn from the indigenous peoples – the real stewards of Mother Earth. # nordis.net
By MARY LOU O. MARIGZA
This Sunday we will travel to Lacub for Cordillera Day 2011. It is with great anticipation that I join the throng to Lacub to commemorate the struggles of the Cordillera people of the past and the present and to the promises of the future.
It was twenty-four years ago when I first stepped on Lacub soil. I was with a group of human rights and health workers who joined Atty. Benesa for a fact-finding and medical-relief mission to the town. A nun from Manila who worked with the Task Force Detainees joined our group and we teased her no end on her first experience to ride a horse in the Cordillera mountains at that. She had to deprive somebody from the town of supplies from Bangued since the horse was supposed to carry the goods purchased from the capital, and the horse had to make another trip the next day to ferry the goods left at the junction where the jeeps stopped.
This was the mode of transportation then. And the mode of delivery was via DZPA and the jeeps and the horses. The relatives in Bangued would purchase the goods, send it through the driver or a relative to be met by relatives with the horses in Lacub. How many horses to be sent ga sumabath depended on the volume of goods purchased. So if the public service at DZPA called for three horses, you can be sure the agaw-awag has a store in the barrio. Awan pay ti cellphone idi. DZPA provided a lot of these public service calls and nobody missed listening ta baka adda bilin dagiti taga-Bangued ken tagasurong. If one did not hear the public service, the neighbors are sure to tell them of the message. DZPA had proven to be the most reliable messenger in Abra.
The jeeps I remember only travelled once a week from Bangued to the town but not to the sentro itself as there were no roads reaching the sentro then. I heard jeeps now can reach the sentro during summer. The trails we trekked were cool since pine trees and the bush provided a canopy for the hikers. And we were carrying medicines and our stuff for the medical mission spearheaded by Chestcore – yes, the same Chestcore that is now being harrassed and receiving death threats!
Also with the group was a young doctor who was working for the provincial hospital whose first time it was to reach Lacub, which he described as between earth and heaven. He was invited by Atty. Benesa and Mayor Vic Barona. He had his share of load of medicines but he joined the banter with the sister who was so cool in her horse.
I also remember Cooper Resabal of Malaya was with us in this trip. Cooper gamely carried his cameras since he was afraid the horses might drop or damage them if they slipped on the road. Hindi pa DSLR noon, may film pa ang mga camera. On the jeep to Lacub, a young priest who was newly assigned to Lacub rode with us and he must have been so amused at our naivety but admired our daring. Of course, he trekked ahead since we were so slow walking. He offered the use of the clinic of the parish for the medical mission and the use of the medicines for the people. There was no government clinic in Lacub then. It was only the parish that had a clinic and that had the means to bring very sick people for treatment to Bangued. That young priest is now the president of Divine Word College in Laoag City, Fr. Boboy Jimenez. Thank you again Father for the help you extended to our group.
We slept late since we had to meet for the tasking of the group in as much as we were to be divided into medical-relief and documentation teams. Cooper was on his own for he had to interview the people for his paper. I remember Atty Benesa sleeping late because the elders wanted to talk to him about problems in the area. Some of us were already snoring but the old folks were still talking over hot cups of mountain coffee. Part of their stories were tales of their struggle against the Marcos project of logging Abra pines for Cellophil Resources Corporation.
We stayed three days only because there was an announcement on the radio the next day after we arrived that a storm was coming. They had to call again for the horses to ferry us back so we can go faster down to the junction for the jeep ride. The doctors and the nurses had to work overtime for there were a lot of people who came for treatment. Some of the documentors had to help them later since they needed help with registration and putting medicines and prescriptions so the people will not forget how many times they have to take their medicines.
I cannot now remember what was the most prevalent sickness then. What I remember vividly is one old man who was sick and had to be carried on a hammock so he can get treatment. One of the young nurses of Chestcore could not help but cry at the lack of medical care for the interior municipalities then. I also remember how our group had to move to the school since the parish clinic became too small for the people who badly needed the care of health workers. One of the nurses had to conduct a dialogue with the mothers on the proper care and nutrition for babies, a task we did not anticipate we had to do when we planned the mission. But the Chestcore nurses ably accomplished the additional work.
Now, for the trek down on horseback. I am used to horses having ridden several of the Wright park variety. But I have never ridden a horse on wet and slippery mountain slopes. Our nun companion complained that her buttocks was still sore but we could not do anything for the rain was now pouring with the entry of the storm on the Phil area of responsibility. The poor horses slipped, slid and slid and we had to hold on for dear life with rain covering our bodies and eyes, which was a blessing since we could not see the ‘rangkish on the side. All I can see are the skid marks of the horses’ hoofs. But those horses were real mountain hardy ones. Not one horse dropped. They got us all safe and sound to the jeep. The jeepney ride was also dangerous since the roads have also become slippery. There were water spouts all around. The government doctor said he will treat us all to ice-drop if we reach Bangued. He marvelled at the sister as she said this was not even a dangerous mission. She had been to more difficult ones in more difficult circumstances.
Of course, we had our ice-drop and we had more – blisters all around and pain all over the body for trying to brake with the horses. Atty Benesa and Atty Astudillo (brave human rights lawyers of Abra) and their families treated us to a sumptous dinner in Atty Benesa’s house. Nobody wanted to take a bath as soon as we reached the staff house of the Task Force Detainees in Bangued. All we wanted was to sleep the pain away and dream of the nice place in the mountain sky with sturdy, warm and loving people who welcomed us as their own.
The trip to Lacub this year would make this Cordillera Day for me more memorable. Would I still see the plentiful and sweet-smelling pine trees? Is the road now more friendly to travellers? Do they now have a health center and a full-time nurse if not a doctor? Is the school where we held the medical mission now bigger? What would happen if the foreign capitalist mining companies would exploit the area? Will the people again fight like they struggled against the logging of Cellophil? Will it happen again? # nordis.net
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
He was a board of trustee of the Philippine Press Institute when I first met Jose L. Pavia in one of PPI’s writers workshop. In a conversation over a meal, my curiousity got the better of me, I wondered if he was related to the now late Dr. Pavia who was then married to a relative in Baguio. He laughed and said yes, they were cousins and he went on to tell his story of growing-up in Baguio where he went to high school at the Saint Louis Boys High School, and going home to Ambuklao where his father worked as an engineer. He left when he had to go to college in Manila then later settled to raise his family and get into media work.
The next twenty years, he worked on his advocacies for the skills development of the community based media under the PPI. He would stand up for press freedom, and lobbied for policies to protect the independence of the Philippine press, and even the Asian press. We would cross paths for a warm hello, and updates in this chosen field of work. Now, he had to move-up to take his seat by the Great Editor. We will miss his mentorship but never forget the lessons he passed us in his lifetime.
It surprised me that Baguio was crowded on Palm Sunday. The bumper to bumper traffic and the market was packed with tiger grass broom toting, noisy and large plastic bag lugging shoppers. I thought the Holy Week crowd of tourists would arrive only by Maundy Thursday. Well, they made it earlier, good for them. I hope the water supply would be enough until they leave on Easter.
While in other places, the Holy Week usually finds the crowd in the churches and penitence retreat temples, in Baguio they are all over the parks, markets, hotels, restaurants, shrines and even the malls. Local business and entrepreneur traditionally prepare for this annual crowd. Even the local media organization (Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club) chooses and hosts the annual Lucky Summer Visitor this time of the year. Presidents of the land and their family since the colonial American governor generals usually spend the Holy Week here. Baguio people usually keep close to their homes to avoid jostling or being jostled in the city’s business district.
Around this time, the Sengeg ni Ibadoy have their annual reunion. That means, so there goes our fasting from meat if we do or did fast as Igorots from afag, as we celebrate our ancestors and renew ties with our clans.
We were informed that all 10 of our La Trinidad honorables had to post bail, Tuesday, to keep out of jail for a case of graft and corruption filed against them by one of Baguio’s journalists. Horrorable? LT Mayor Greg must have been worried his council would go on forced leave. He just must have checked to make sure he would not be left without a council to serve the fast growing town.
My kids already found out rabbits do not lay Easter eggs so the Easter egg hunt in the family compound has remained cancelled since they realized they’re grown, Happy Easter! # nordis.net
By STELLA GASPAR, SUCCESS MIA PADAOANG and CHARMI ACIO
Patuloy pa ring nagiging matunog ang issue hingil sa K12 na programa ng administrasyon ni PNoy.
Ang pangunahing adhikain ng K12 Program ng gobyerno ay ang pag aangat ng kalidad ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas. Ngunit ito nga ba ay praktikal? Ito nga ba ang tunay na solusyon sa naghihikahos na estado ng edukasyon sa ating bansa?
Maraming beses na nating narinig ang punto ng gobyerno; ngayon ay pakingggan naman natin ang boses ng mamamayang Pilipino sa isyung pagdadagdag ng dalawang taon sa regular na sampung taon sa siklo ng edukasyon.
Si Marylyn Palitayan na taga Baguio City ay mayroong anak na kakatapos lamang sa elementarya at mayroon pang anak na nasa ikalawang antas ng elementarya. “Dagdag gastos na naman iyan (K12 Program). At dagdag pahirap sa mga estudyante,” wika niya.
Sabi ni Jermie Ferrer, taga-Pangasinan, sa programang ito ng gobyerno, “Panibagong gastos na naman”. Ang kanyang asawa naman na si Edwin Ferrer ay may iba ring negatibong pananaw sa isyung ito, “Parehas rin lang naman. Kung daragdagan ng dalawang taon, dapat magbigay ang gobyerno ng sapat na suporta lalung lalo na sa mga school supplies.” Si Jermie at Edwin Ferrer ay mayroong isang anak na nasa ikatlong antas ng elementarya at may isa ring nasa ika anim na antas.
Bagaman walang sariling anak na maaaring maapektuhan ng K12 program ng gobyerno, si Clyde Nayosan na taga-Benguet ay hindi pa rin panatag sa programang ito. “Adding years will not help, because it is the education (system) itself that is degrading,” wika ni Nayosan.
Si Janice na may dalawang anak ay umaapila dahil ito daw ay dagdag gastos lamang at nakatapos naman sila kahit wala pa noon ang K12. Dagdag pa niya ito ay magiging “burden” sa mga magulang at pati narin ang mga bata.
Ang saloobin naman ni Jason Verzola bukod sa dagdag gastos at dagdag baon sa mga bata, hindi ito nakakatulong o hindi kinakailangan dahil ano ba yung kurikulum na pinapalooban nito. Dagdag pa niya hindi sapat yung dalawang taon lang, pagkatapos ng 12 taon ang kalalabasan lang ay “semi-skilled workers” na hindi kinakailangan ng ating bansa kung di kailangan ng ibang bansa. Sabi pa niya dapat ang pagtuunan ng pansin ng gobyerno ay mga sweldo ng mga guro at pag-aaral ng mga estudyante sa kulang-kulang na facilities at guro sa mga eskwelahan.
“Maganda, kung maipapatupad ng gobyerno ito at kung makapagbibigyan ng sapat na pondo,” wika ni Diego Tongson ng Zambales, guro sa isang pampublikong paaralan sa kanilang lugar. Dagdag pa niya, kailangan talagang ma-attain ang quality education.”
Bukod pa sa mga magulang at nakatatanda, dininig din naming ang saloobin ng mga kabataan na maaaring maapektuhan sa programang ito. Tulad ni Marvin Salom, 11 ng Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, “Haan ko kayat. Nabayag to unayen.” Ganoon din ang wika ni Andrea Suarez, 9 taong gulang na taga Dagupan, “Ayaw ko po. Matagal.”
Sa kabilang dako naman ay may mga naniniwala pa rin na ang K12 ng gobyerno ay makakatulong nga sa pag aangat ng kalidad ng edukasyon sa ating bansa.
Wika nga ni Alice Carolino at may isang anak “okay programang ito (K12) para matuto ang mga bata ng mabuti at para madagdagan pa ang laman ng brain nila”. Dagdag pa niya ito daw ay makakatulong sa kanyang nag-iisang anak.
Dagdag din ni Shara Borac na taga-Baguio “kahit hahaba yung years pwede pa rin at least mas magiging matalino sila, pero un nga lang magastos”. Ika niya rin kahit na magastos kung ito yung makakatulong sa kanilang mga anak pwede na.
“Gusto ko rin madagdagan yung knowledge ko” sabi ni Franz Gonzalez na isang grade five pupil. Wika rin ni Ira Sanchez na grade six pupil “okay po, dahil marami pong matututunan yung mga batang tulad namin.
May kasabihan nga na, “There is no harm in trying” ngunit kaya ba nating mga Pilipino na ilagay sa walang kasiguraduhang sitwasyon ang mga kabataang Pilipino? Ayon nga kay Gat. Jose Rizal, “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan”. Kaya ba ng gobyerno na ilagay sa alanganin na posisyon ang mga pag-asa ng ating bansa?
Kung kalidad ng edukasyon ang problema sa ating bansa, karapat-dapat lamang na iyon mismo ang pagtuunan ng pansin. # nordis.net
By CORDILLERA HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE
“Happy 50th birthday James. Wherever you may be, we keep the hope that you are still alive. We want you to know that we love you and we are waiting for you to come home. You’ve turned 50 today and we, Nonette, Winston, the whole family and your friends miss you so much.
To the State, the military and its agents, stop enforced disappearances. We want our loved ones brought back to us.”
– Joni Balao, youngest sister of James Balao
Today, April 19, James Balao’s 50th birthday marks the 942nd day when he was abducted by five heavily armed members of the State security forces in Tomay, La Trinidad.
Since that day of his enforced disappearance, we have joined his family, friends and colleagues in the search for him. Not a day has passed that we do not remember him and call on the State for his surfacing and freedom.
We do so especially now that more light has been shed on the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos. A month ago, the Commission on Human Rights investigation led by Commissioner Jose Mamauag stated in its report that the abduction and enforced disappearance of Jonas is “not a simple case of kidnapping done by some individuals within the military, but is, in fact, a part of the entire counter-insurgency program of the past administration wherein both military and police forces played a crucial role in its enforcement.”
James like Jonas became a victim of enforced disappearance because of his political beliefs and service to the people. The Cordillera Peoples Alliance, of which James is a founding member has been unjustly labeled by the State as a sectoral front of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New Peoples Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and thus has been among the targets of the State security forces in the implementation of Operation Plan Bantay Laya (Operation Plan Freedomwatch). There have been 205 cases of enforced disappearances under the Arroyo regime, all marked with impunity as no perpetrator has been held accountable to date.
The tagging of members and leaders of people’s organizations as sectoral fronts of revolutionary organizations continue to this day under President Benigno Aquino III’s Operation Plan Bayanihan which is patterned after the United States Counter-insurgency Guide. Since July, there have already been 5 cases of enforced disappearances.
We strongly assert that this policy has to be immediately abandoned by the government if it were sincere in upholding and respecting the rights of the people. Aquino has to pay heed to the call of the people for the delivery of justice.
We call on the Aquino government to surface James Balao, and other victims of enforced disappearance and see to it that the perpetrators of human rights violations, including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are brought to the bars of justice.
James has always been steadfast in the defense and assertion of human rights. The search for him, 942 days after his enforced disappearance is arduous but we will not cease. We owe it to him, his family and the people he served to continue the search, hold the State accountable, seek for justice and build a society where no one will be taken from one’s family because of one’s principles and service to the people. # nordis.net
By NESTOR BURGOS
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines mourns the passing of veteran journalist and staunch press freedom advocate Jose L. Pavia.
Joe as everyone calls him, died at 5:25am of complications from lung cancer this morning at the UERM Hospital. He was 72 years old.
The NUJP salutes Joe who has always worked with a big heart for the cause of community newspapers as he was one of their own. Joe was the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Bulacan-based Mabuhay news weekly. He has also worked for various news organizations including SunStar Pampanga. He was also the executive director of the Philippine Press Institute up to his death.
The NUJP will forever remember Joe as a staunch press freedom advocate. He not only served as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists or FFFJ but he was also its anti-impunity project coordinator.
As it is, Joe was particularly outspoken against violations versus press freedom. The NUJP has always counted on his presence in major gatherings and activities on press freedom issues. Despite his failing health lately, Joe never hesitated to speak against the enemies of press freedom in the country.
He was also indefatigable in the campaign against the killings of journalists, never failing to attend to the court hearings of the cases against the killers and their masterminds.
Joe was also a founding member of the November 23 Movement which was formed after the Ampatuan Massacre on November 23, 2009.
His death leaves a gnawing void in the community of press freedom lovers that have been fighting against the culture of impunity in the killings of journalists in the Philippines since 1986.
The NUJP offers its prayers to Joe and his family. We enjoin his friends, colleagues, NUJP members and all press freedom lovers to pay our last respects to Joe at his wake in Arlington Chapel in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City. # nordis.net
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.” — Mathew 13:23
Last of three parts
Students as Thorny Soil
Furthermore, in yet another way, God’s Word is heard. It sinks into the life of a student or a person who has heard it. That Word means something; its message is living and vital and relevant. But, like some seeds in the Parable, it falls among thorny bushes and vigorous weeds, which choke the plant to prevent healthy growth and harvest. Jesus describes these thorns as worries and riches and pleasures. They are the weeds which so vigorously and quickly choke out God’s Word.
We all have worries: the concerns of family, of health and of the future; the difficulties of coping with the demands and pressures of life; the so many problems affecting the church and society, our OFW’s in Libya trapped in a civil war; our compatriots in New Zealand trapped in the ravage of a devastating earthquake. How easily such worries can take over the center of our lives, choking out God’s Word with all its promises, so that there is no more growth and fruits.
Then, there is the matter of riches: We need money to live; its purchasing power enables us to enjoy many wonderful things in life. But all too subtly we can begin to focus our energies on accumulating wealth.
In our extension class in Tabuk, Kalinga, some of our students said that one of the main reasons why very few young people enter the Christian ministry is because of the very small financial support that pastors received from the church.
Similarly, in the recently concluded seminar-workshop we conducted in Umingan, Pangasinan, at least three former deaconesses testified that they shifted to teaching in the public schools because of the very low salary in the church. Of course, there are also those people who made use of religion to become millionaires or even billionaires.
Riches then become a curse. They can become such an obsession and take up so much of our time and thinking that they choke God’s Word and stifle our joy in our true and eternal treasures in life. The prevalence of graft and corruption in our government as well as church institutions testifies to this fact. As a result, there is no growth or fruit in our Christian life.
Pleasures also can be a problem. We all like to be happy; we all need rest and recreation, and holidays are often necessary. We would like to enjoy ourselves while studying in the Seminary. Sometimes we would like to do here in the Seminary what we cannot do in our church assignment. Sometimes we enjoy our vices, and thus, we are no longer fit to listen and to receive God’s Word through our teachers and mentors.
Jesus’ Parable of the Soil calls us to do some serious self-introspection so that worries, riches and pleasures – natural and good though many of them are – do not crowd out God’s Word and its potential for a good and fruitful ministry.
Student as Fertile Soil
Finally, we can say that Jesus’ Parable of the Soil is a story of wastage. Though the Sower faithfully does his sowing, and though the seeds fall on the ground, many seeds do no bear fruit or bring a good harvest. One could hardly blame the Sower if he became disillusioned and gave up sowing.
But this is precisely the miracle and message of the Parable: Though there is much wastage, the Sower continues to sow because he knows that there is always some fertile soil. Though there are students who quit in their studies, which may be a waste of time, efforts, and resources, still we continue to teach and preach God’s Word; still we continue to equip students for the ministry, because we know for sure that there are always students who are like the fertile soil.
Much of God’s Word falls on infertile and unfruitful soil, where many things work against it and prevent it from being effective. Yet God’s Word continues to be taught and proclaimed because here and there, now and then, God finds fertile soil. Just as seeds in good soil grow up and produce grain, God’s Word that is heard by some is retained in a good and obedient heart and produces the desired fruit.
That’s what fertile soil is: a good and obedient heart. That’s what God wants us to have, and that’s what we need to pray for. We need to have a good and obedient heart, a heart in which there is no deceit, which is genuine, which wants to be right with God, and therefore longs to receive God’s Word of love.
God’s Word must be obeyed. It is not enough to hear it and learn it; we must also do it. Jesus said: Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. And James also said: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. By God’s grace, may we have the courage and persistence to live God’s Word, to put it into practice, and to do what it says. Then there will be fruit-bearing. Slowly but surely, God’s Word will produce the fruits of faith.
And so, how do we assess ourselves after this whole year of listening to God’s Word being taught and proclaimed, equipping ourselves for the ministry. What kind of students are we? What kind of soil are we? Are we the footpath, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, or the fertile soil?
It is our hope and prayer that all of us should aspire to be like the fertile soil, receiving God’s Word and retaining it in our good and obedient heart. And let it grow and bear fruits in our Christian life and ministry. And may God bless us all. Amen. # nordis.net
By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT-QUITASOL
Have you heard the story of King Midas, the king who because of his greed wished that everything he would touch turn into gold?In the beginning King Midas was so happy he could turn everything in his castle into gold. But when he could not drink or eat because the moment he touched the glass of water and food all turned into gold. He was even more devastated when he turned his beloved daughter into a golden statue. Luckily when the fairy saw that King Midas has truly learned his lesson she gave him a magic pitcher and told him to fetch water from the spring to sprinkle on those that he touched and turned into gold.
Just like in King Midas, many are bedazzled by the radiant yellow glow of gold. Unfortunately not many have realized that there are things far more precious than gold. So the influx of large mining companies in Benguet lured by the high grade gold ore locked in its mountains. In their want to extract more gold they have overmined and unearthed the ill effects of their operations to only destroy sources of the most basic needs for people to sustain life.
The experience of the Benguet people proves that commercial and large scale mining operations adversely affect the environment, the water, earth and air and ultimately threatening the very existence of people.
The Ibalois of Loakan, Baguio City have learned this from the stories of their ancestors.
According to Vicky Macay, an elder and member of ASPULAN, an Ibaloi organization in Baguio, there used to be a river flowing from the present export processing zone that splits at the present airport area. One tributary falls where the Kennon Road is and the other goes towards Kias.
Macay said that due to mining explorations in the early 1900s the river dried up and the community could no longer plant rice because the source of irrigation was gone.
She added that there used to be ricefields where the Baguio airport is right now. She explained that the ricefields were their primary source of food and that cattle raising was their main source of meat and cash back then.
Some decades ago the colonial government then approved a resolution banning mining with in the boundaries of the city but by then the Demonstration mines, Black Mountain and Benguet Exploration was operational in the fringes of Loakan. The Airport and the Philippine Military Academy was also built. The river was diverted, their lands were expropriated without due process. The Ibalois were pushed to the edge. .
Itogon and Mankayan
Indigenous people (IP) of Itogon and Mankayan continue to suffer from the irreversible effects of large scale mining. The Benguet Corporation Incorporated (BCI), Atok Bigwedge (AB) and Itogon-Suyoc Mines (ISM) are all in the town of Itogon and BCInc. has operated since 1903 as a mining company.
According to Vergel Aniceto of the Itogon Inter Barangay Alliance (IIBA), the conventional tunneling method of the operating mining companies hit the water table causing it to subside. He explained that because of mine tunneling the water table drops deeper and finds other outlets depleting the host community’s water supply.
Earlier interviews with mine workers revealed that mine tunnels could be as big as a regular bedroom or a church.
“We are in constant fear of subsidence as our community has been mined out yet mining activities disguised as small scale continue. But we have no where else to go,” he stressed.
At present, small scale mining (SSM) activities exists within the mining claims of the said companies. Most of the SSMs are under contracts with the mining companies. Despite closing down in the late 1990s, the mining claims of these multi national companies remain.
Aniceto revealed that the contract lease scheme started in 2008. He said SSMs sign the contract as mining companies insist that they still own the areas. He added that most of the SSM in the area are commercialized and employ harmful chemicals such as cyanide.
He stressed that Itogon residents are forced to engage in SSM to sustain their family because the soil is no longer fit for agriculture and due to the scarce water supply brought about by destructive mining operations.
He also pointed out that Itogon’s river systems has become acidic due to mine wastes dumped by the mines. He added that the ill effects of mine wastes dumped since the 1900’s in Itogon’s river systems continue to haunt the community even after the BCI, AB and ISM closed down over a decade ago.
He further said conventional underground mine operations also require the cutting down of timber as these are used as posts for the tunnels. He stressed that for over a century of operations these large mining companies have denuded majority of the forest cover of Benguet. He added that by the time these mining companies closed down the forest cover of the province was already devastated.
In the 1980s, after employing the aged timbering mining method, BC employed the open pit mining method at their Antamok Gold Mine Concession that removed whole mountains and entire villages from the land surface to recover the minutest gold content of the land. At present the open pit area is abandoned.
The Balatoc and Acupan Mine Concession had to close shop due to unviable continuation of underground mining for deeper levels reaching below the sea level and due to the drastic fall of gold prices. While holding on to their mining claim over the Ibaloi lands, BC converted their profitable ventures into tourism enclaves, real estate development and contractual SSM activities where the mined ore is solely bought by the company at a low price and the sharing of the produce is favored for BCI.
IIB-A continues to call on all Benguet folk to move as one in addressing the problem on mining. The group calls on all concerned to revert back to the traditional way of extracting and processing gold. At the same time they demand that the mining claims of the three large scale mining companies in Itogon be revoked and that the government return the ownership and management of these land areas back to the IPs.
The said three mining companies including the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) in Mankayan, Benguet were established by the Americans when they took over the country and eventually the mining claims of the Spanish conquistadores in the 1900s. Unlike the other three, LCMCo’s large scale operations continues and it is even expanding.
Mankayan residents and other affected communities downstream the Abra River have reported alarming environmental impacts of the more than 70 years of LCMCo operations. They complained of agricultural and fishing yield, loss of plant life, death of wild domestic animals and various health complaints.
An environmental investigatory mission (EIM) conducted by the Save the Abra River Movement (STARM) in 2002 revealed that the mine waste of LCMCo in its tailings dam 5A contain high levels of cyanide and acids. This was contrary to the company’s claim that they are discharging clean water.
STARM findings also explained a phenomenon affecting all mines whether underground tunneling or open pit mines, the acid mine drainage (AMD). AMD happens when large amount of soil is dug up and exposed to the surface prompting chemical reactions and produce acids. These acids eventually wash into the rivers. The acids then melt chemical in the rocks. These acids kill off plants and fishes in the river.
The group also noted that silt have destroyed ricefields downstream the Abra River. It also found high amounts of total suspended solids (TSS) and total dissolved solids (TDS) at the mine’s carbon in pulp (CIP) mill outlet and tailings dam 5A.
According to Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) data, along the 25 kilometer stretch of the Abra River, some 465 hectares of riceland has been washed out. It further pointed out that the high level of TSS and TSD from the CIP mill and dam 5A indicates that the silt in the river comes from LCMCo’s operation.
Water pollution and siltation largely contributed to the deteriorating agricultural yield in downstream communities. Rice farmers in Cervantes, Quirino, Ilocos Sur complained that their ricefields along the riverbank were cemented by silt while their animals get sick and die from drinking from the river.
Aside from polluting the Abra River, LCMCo’s operations also endangers Mankayan folk from massive land movement such as sinking and subsidence.
In August 1998, several houses were destroyed along Aurora St., after the area sunk by more than three meters. Parts of the Mankayan Central School (MCS) collapsed and was buried then.
The same year, five houses, many farms and portions of the Mankayan-Cervantes Road was washed-out after the sinking of about 14 hectares near the catchment basin of Lepanto’s mine tailings dam 5A, CPA records showed.
The next year, the MCS two-storey building collapsed entirely and 50 more houses were destroyed. In the year 2000, ground subsidence which affected more communities including Tupdak, Bulalacao and Sapid. Large ground cracks formed continuously on the Mankayan-Cervantes Road.
Last 2008, a portion of the slaughter house in Barangay Poblacion sunk after a large crack on the ground occurred.
On June 5, 2009, at least 10 meters of land sunk near the premises of St. Joseph Parish and the main grounds of the Mankayan National High School affecting at least 10 houses. The Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-MGB) later declared the sinking area in Mankayan a “danger zone”.
The air is not spared from the LCMCo operations. In the 1980s, residents complained of withering of plants, death of animals and high incidence of respiratory illness due to the copper ore drier exhaust. In 2000 the residents again complained of the same problems due to the Tohking exhaust.
These affected communities have staged protest actions, signed petition papers and lobbied to concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs) for the stoppage of LCMCo operations but to no avail.
The national government is bent on pursuing its mining revitalization plan despite of the strong opposition of various IP groups and supporters. In line with the government policy of export oriented and import dependent economic strategy, it has again opened up the countries natural resources for extraction and gargantuan profit earning for joint big comprador and multi-national mining corporations at the expense of the IPs.
Unfortunately, in the real world there is no fairy godmother to would provide a magic pitcher to reverse the environmental degradation brought about by the incessant hunger for gold and other minerals. King Midas learned his lesson only after he was famished and lost his daughter.
Aniceto asked, “must we wait for the day when there is no water to drink, no fertile soil to plant on? What kind of environment would the next generation inherit? …There is still hope, all it takes is a unified and concerted action to reclaim the people’s sovereignty over gold.” # nordis.net
By LEONARD CABLOY/CDPC
The gravitational gold concentrator is the Cordillera Non-Government Organizations’ and Peoples’ Organizations’ alternative to cyanide and mercury gold processing for small-scale mining.The Cordillera region of the Philippines is endowed with rich natural resources and one of which is gold.
Prior to the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, indigenous peoples were already engaged in extracting and processing of the gold deposits in their communities to barter for goods with other communities. In the Cordillera in particular, especially those from the province of Benguet, small-scale mining has been a long time source of livelihood aside from agriculture. They barter gold for other goods they need with people from the lowlands like salt, tobacco, etc. They extract and process the gold ore in a very sustainable way through their indigenous knowledge and cultural practices.
Although Spanish colonizers were able to take control of the mining areas in Mankayan, Benguet by expropriating mining lands in 1856 to Spanish corporations that started a copper mining operations, it was only during the American colonial period when large-scale extraction of gold and copper with the use of heavy equipments and hi-technology machines and hazardous chemicals started in the Cordillera, especially in the province of Benguet. The Americans were able to operate freely by enacting several lands and mining laws to dispossessed the Indigenous peoples and deprived them of their ancestral lands.
Since then, despite aggressive operations of large-scale mining companies in the region, indigenous peoples still persist to engage in small-scale mining activities through sustainable and indigenous method at least up to the early 1980s.
However, starting early 1980s to the present, small-scale mining activities in the Cordillera is now a full blown occupation by most indigenous peoples in most part of the Cordillera for both livelihood and profit, and it has gone beyond subsistence and sustainable approach of extraction and processing gold.
Initially, the push for a shift from sustainable to irresponsible extraction and use of chemicals in the processing of gold was attributed to the loss of farmlands due to the operations of large-scale mining and logging especially in the province of Benguet.
Recent developments however show that lack of socio-economic services from the government, pushed the entry of middle men, the control of some government officials over small-scale mining areas for their personal gain.
The lack of information and knowledge among most small-scale miners on the effect of their activities upon the environment, poor implementation of government programs for environment protection and management, and the increasing impact of climate change to agriculture are the reasons for the increasingly wide-scale unregulated small-scale mining activities in all parts of the Cordillera region.
In view of the negative developments in small-scale mining areas in most parts of the Cordillera, and because there are still few small-scale mining areas that still practice sustainable method, the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera network in cooperation with various peoples’ organization under the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance has started in the early 1990s to conceptualize an environmental friendly and chemical-free extraction and processing of gold.
This technology search goes along with the push for small-scale mining controlled by the communities as an alternative to large-scale mining that is controlled by a few elite in the government and by foreign corporations.
Various researches for appropriate technologies; participation to national and international conferences on large-scale and small-scale mining, environmental issues and solutions; a series of consultations among NGOs, POs, Church, academe has been done to finally came up with a concrete program to respond to the environmental issues specific to small-scale mining activities.
The program was called “Clean Gold” because it will not use chemicals to process gold, as well as promote and campaign for responsible extraction of gold in small-scale mining areas.
Part of this program is the development and fabrication of the chemical-free appropriate technology “Gravitational Concentrator”. This will be tried and tested in small-scale areas in the the Cordillera. Naturally if it is successful it will be promoted for use.
After 9 months of testing and development according to the standard set, the gravitational concentrator is now in use at the small-scale community of Ucab, Itogon in the province of Benguet. The plan of replicating the same technology in other SSM areas in the Cordillera has started as well. # nordis.net