Monday, October 31, 2005


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The Filipinos’ Well-Being

The Philippines’ richest provinces are compared to Africa’s progressive countries like Jamaica and Turkmenistan. The last 10 poorest provinces are “comparable to the world’s poorest countries in Africa such as Niger, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad.”
That is the finding of the United Nations sponsored study which gave the analogy. The study ranked the “top and Bottom 10” provinces in terms of their Human Development Index (HDI). HDI is a measure of well-being based on life expectancy, literacy enrollment ratio and per capita income.
Life expectancy is just the average span of life of the people living in a community, province, region or country. Literacy is the number of years the people studied in school and its functionality. Enrollment ratio is the number of people of school age attending schools in proportion to those out of schools. While the per capita income is the average annual income of each Filipino.
And here are the top 10 provinces as to well-being from the highest to the lowest: are Benguet, Laguna, Batanes, Rizal, Cavite, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan and Ilocos Norte.
The last top 10 of the list in its descending order are Lanao del Norte, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte, Masbate, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Sulu.
The Philippines Human Development Report (PHDR) is a 150 page report Human Development Network prepared. This is a non-profit organization the United Nations Development Programme and the New Zealand Agency for International Development supported in the preparation of the PHDR.
The HDI ranking included the 77 provinces in the Philippines Since Metro Manila is a group of adjacent cities, Metro Manila is not included in the ranking. Moreover, Metro Manila is the city of the Philippines’ political and economic powers.
This is the fifth PHDR the Human Development Network has undertaken since 1994. And the latest findings are consistent with the previous findings. The Philippines’ poorest provinces were at the same time the “most conflict-ridden” in Mindanao.
According to the United Nations, human development is the “process of enabling people to have wider choices”. So that highly literate individuals or individuals with fairly high income get several alternative choices on matters concerning them.
According to Toby Monsod, HDN Coordinator, “HDI measures an areas living standard not by its visible urbanity, growth of factories or commercial centers…but by how much the people enjoy public goods like health and education.”
A good example is Benguet – a mountainous province with mining and agricultural based economy which enjoys a high “well-being”. Benguet outscored provinces like, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Pampanga which have sprawling urban centers, industrial parks and factories. “A province may have a high income level, but may still have low HDI if the money is not translated into investments in health or education,” Monsod pointed out.
The UN – adopted measure of HDI ranges from zero (0) to one (1). Any province closer to 1, has a better well-being. Areas that score between 0 and .49 are categorized as having “low human development”. Those between .50 and .79 belong to “medium” and those having .8 to 1 are in the “high” bracket.
“Using the range, the poorest province, Sulu, got .30 and the best performing Benguet scored 0.74”. Where does Aklan belong? It is neither a province with “high” well-being nor it belongs to a poorest province.
But our best performing province, Benguet matches the not so well-off country in Africa, Jamaica. The Philippines and the Filipinos can do more than that and greatly improve their well –being. Maybe Filipinos has chosen to be poor even if they can be riched.
The Philippines is endowed with much natural resources. Her oceans, lakes and rivers are so productive of fishes, shells and other marine lives. Yet, what are we doing with it? Exterminate them by illegal fishing with explosives, pesticides. Our mountains are rich with mineral resources, of sauna and fauna, trees. Yet we are destroying them. Our agricultural lands are fertile with favorable weather and climatic conditions. But Filipinos are developing these to their advantage? Water are unutilized, draining to the sea.
Yes, Filipinos are rich, yet they have chosen to be poor.
Are we complacent? So that our resources are going to waste? What do we do with the Philippine coconuts? Water in our rivers systems? Trees? Yes, we Filipinos can be rich, have wide choices, high well-being. But we are viewed by foreigners as a “happy-go-lucky” people, easily pleased (napaka babaw ang kaligayahan). Are you? We are just happy as a people. We even smile in the face of adversity. We are surviving.
Really, Filipinos can be GREAT. If we can only take good care of resources, both natural and personal, we can be a people of high WELL-BEING. /MP


Sugar Planters have more reasons to smile these days after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased its sugar export quota allocation for the Philippines from the previous crop year’s 137,353 MT to 151,667 MT beginning Oct. 1, 2005. This represents a 10 percent increase from last year’s quota that the Philippines was able to fill up according to the Department of Agriculture.
The Philippines is the third largest export quota holder of sugar in the United States and gets a 13.5 percent of its total quota allocation. The DA said the Philippines has been exporting sugar to the United States under a program in which it buys the sweetener from developing countries at a price much higher than those in the world market.
The DA said, “the increase in the US quota prompted the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to increase the sugar allocation for “A” US export sugar from last crop year’s 4 percent to 7 percent for CY 2005-2006. This is expected to benefit all sugar producers, particularly the small planters as the “A” sugar commands a premium price over the other sugar classifications.”
The SRA expects that this year’s crop will be around 2,018,000 MT and sees a balance of supply with domestic demand, and with no surplus to dispose, farm gate prices should be at level which would be profitable to farmers. By 2007, the SRA expects the next production upswing and any production excess should be available for ethanol, a co-product of sugarcane. This, SRA said should ensure the stability and sustainability of the industry.
It will be recalled that a consultative committee on the ethanol program was formed by the sugar industry to look into the production and utilization of ethanol from sugarcane as an alternative fuel headed by SRA administrator James Ledesma. A technical working group is studying the possibility of sourcing ethanol from sugarcane to be used as fuel blend to protect the environment against pollution in compliance with the Clean Air Act mandating reduction of green house gas emissions in the country. This will also help attain energy security and displace imported petroleum to save on foreign exchange. (PIA6)

Philippines Poverty Figures Drop

Government Critics will probably not believe it, but based on the latest SWS survey results, the proportion of households heads reporting themselves as “mahirap” went down to 49 percent in August 2005 from 57 percent in May 2005.

The Self-Rated Poor is at 52 percent in the National Capital Region, 44 percent in the Balance of Luzon, and 55 percent in the Visayas, all of which are lower than last May. Self-Rated Poverty stayed at 52 percent in Mindanao.
The median self-rated poverty threshold, or the median monthly budget in peso-terms that poor households say they need to escape poverty, stayed at P7, 000 in the Balance of Luzon, P6, 000 in the Visayas, and P5, 000 in Mindanao. In Metro Manila, it went up to P12, 000 in August 2005, from P10, 000 in May.
Such money-value thresholds were already reached as early as 5 years ago, even though the cost of living rose greatly every year. The failure of the thresholds to increase despite so much inflation is a sign that the poor are actually lowering their real living standards.
The drop could be due to the stepped up implementation of the Kapit Bisig Laban Sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS, a community-based poverty reduction project which targets depressed and poor areas and now covers some 42 provinces and 1000 barangays.

The eight (8) percent decline in poverty is consistent with 4.8 percent growth in the second quarter gross domestic product recorded. This is also supported by unemployment figures of 7.7 percent in July down from 8.3 percent figures in April of this year.

The figure also finds support in Tourism data that show that 1.5 million tourists visited the country in the first seven months of 2005 compared to the 1.3 million tourists for the same period last year. Likewise, a 47 percent growth in foreign direct investment has been noted due to investment promotions and the lowering of business costs. $2 billion dollar investments have also been recorded in the stock market for 2005. To top it all, the country experienced a three-month budget surplus.

Government’s plan to develop two million hectares of land for agribusiness has so far created 130,000 jobs with hectarage developed in areas like SOCSARGEN, ARMM and the Ilocos Region.

Jobs generation program through micro finance services has also benefited about 2.1
million households and was also made possible through micro, small and medium enterprises. (PIA6)

Mirant Global Welcomes DAR Raps On Illegal Land Conversion

By Recto I. Vidal
Mirant Global expressed its willingness to face charges filed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) provincial office here after the latter last week filed a joint complaint affidavit against the former for its "premature conversion of a 2.8 hectare orchard farm as a site for their diesel-fed 5 megawatt power plant in Barangay Mabilo, New Washington, Aklan. "We're willing to abide with the processes so that the issues confronting Mirant Global will be threshed out in the proper forum," said Greggy Romualdez, Mirant public affairs manager, during a recent phone interview. Romualdez said that Mirant has already secured all the necessary approval from the municipal, provincial and national levels for the construction of said plant. "This project, aimed at averting the power shortage in Aklan, by providing reliable and cost efficient power in the province to boost its tourism industry, was properly endorsed by the municipal government of New Washington through a board resolution," he disclosed. Romualdez added that the land use plan of New Washington even classified the area as industrial in a certification it issued last year. The DAR in Aklan through the provincial taskforce on illegal conversion indorsed its recommendation to Chief Provincial Prosecutor Lourdes Mayor said complaint against respondents Edgardo Bautista, CEO and former president of Mirant Philippines as landowner and Danilo Narceda, vice-president of the Avon River Power Holdings Corporation, project company of Mirant Global for its projects in Aklan. In a six-page complaint dated October 17, 2005, the taskforce found that the respondents clearly violated RA 6657 on the "premature conversion" of agricultural lands into industrial estates which under the law is prohibited. Earlier, Gilberto Mationg, chairperson of the agrarian reform committee in Barangay Mabilo, New Washington, Aklan filed a letter of complaint dated May 5, 2004. It alleged Mirant failed to file an application for conversion with the DAR office in Kalibo, Aklan since it constructed its power generating plant despite a previous notice of cease and desist order from DAR since June, 2004. On December 14, 2004, the DAR legal assistance division submitted its investigation report to lawyer Daniel Y. Martelino, provincial agrarian reform officer II on the premature conversion activities conducted on said area. Initial investigation conducted by the task force revealed that the respondents developed the said area from agricultural to industrial use as site of its 5-megawatt diesel fired power plant. It later recommended the issuance of a cease and desist order to the respondents to stop any development activities in the area. Despite the order, the respondents continued their development activities and to date, all structures appear to have been completed. Among the violations DAR found last year during its investigation was a land transfer transaction between its former owner Chelma Reyes and the Toledo Holdings Corporation, a subsidiary of Mirant Global Corporation. "We found said transfer of property questionable since it has been registered with the Registry of Deeds even without a clearance from DAR as mandated by the DAR Administrative Order No.1 Series of 1989. This is an administrative offense. In other words, it has not gone through the usual process," said lawyer Carol Morales, chief legal division of DAR-Aklan. Documents show that Reyes issued a special power of attorney in favor of lawyer Simonette Peralta who executed a Deed of Absolute Sale to Toledo Holdings. The lawyer is the daughter of Mayor Edmund Peralta of New Washington. In an interview, Morales told Madyaas Pen that said land transfer was registered at the Registry of Deeds, Kalibo on April 5, 2005 and was approved by Provincial Prosecutor Lourdes Quimpo Mayor under TCT No. 3431 wherein a new land title was issued to Toledo Holdings on the same day. The second violation found by the DAR was the "illegal construction" of the power plant without the certificate of conversion order from the DAR and the failure of the respondents to apply for said conversion. The Madyaas Pen learned that as early as May 5, 2004, the DAR in New Washington requested the respondent to cease and desist from developing the area since it has not obtain any clearance from the DAR but the latter ignored said request. Instead, it continued to bring in heavy equipments like backhoe into the project site and pave the area. Morales said that "premature conversion" was done without an investigation report from the municipal agrarian reform officer (MARO) and endorsements from the provincial agrarian reform officer (PARO). On June 14, 2004, Harvey Reloj, municipal agrarian reform technologist in New Washington, also reported to the local police regarding a land paving operation on said area undertaken by a group identified with the Mirant. "I asked the developers if they have the necessary permits to undertake said project and they said that their project has the blessings from Malacanang," he said. In an interview, he claimed that certain influential local officials in said town tried to expedite said transaction in their bid to facilitate the establishment of the power plant. In a public forum sponsored by the Aklan clergy last year, Reloj described said premature conversion as a "violation of the rule of law" and urged Mirant officials to immediately file an application for conversion before the DAR office. Later, Reloj claimed that his call remained unheeded by Mirant. The land use plan of New Washington even classified the area as industrial in a certification issued last year," Romuadez said during a phone interview. However, the DAR contended that despite an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of New Washington" reclassifying said area from agricultural to industrial, the same however is not yet been approved by the Aklan provincial board due to lack of comprehensive land use plan. With said complaint filed by the taskforce, Martelino expressed hope that this development will call the attention of would be developers to observe the rules and laws pertaining to land conversion and to educate all concerned that there are processes and guidelines involved in all land transactions and conversion of agricultural lands. /MP

LGU-Makato Holds Farmers Field Day

By Angelda T. Baylon

The Makato LGU headed by its energetic Mayor Hon. Ramon S. Legaspi, Jr., implementing Maunlad Supervised Organic Farming Project (MSOFP) on Hybrid Rice Production held Farmers Field Day at Brgy. Cabatanga, Makato recently.
Viewing/observation/evaluation of hybrid rice at the farm of farmer-cooperator Efren Melaño was guided by Agricultural Technologists Ronnie I. Santos and Municipal Agriculturist Joel Tagala. The guests were welcomed by very hospitable Brgy. Capt. Danilo R. Torre of Cabatanga.
Part II of the activity was a program held at the Cabatanga Multi-purpose stage. Mayor Legaspi welcomed the farmers and guests. He expressed sincere gratitude to supportive constituents and agencies involved in MSOFP.
Among the guests who graced the occasion are: Regional Executive Director Jindra Linda L. Demeterio, DA RFU VI. Her message on organic farming as a way to restore and conserve our soil for the benefit of our present as well as future generation inspired the farmers present. NFA Provincial Manager Pablito Gemarino assured the farmers among the aims of NFA to establish food security by providing hi-tech storage facilities; Dept. Manager Vivian M. Cañonero, LBP-Iloilo, Vice Pres. Eduard John Reyes, LBP VI and Branch Manager Portia Bravo, LBP Kalibo, delivered their respective messages assuring financial support. Mr. Theodore Rowan, of ASU; Sagana 100 Phil Rep. Engr. Clarence Salido, in their messages kept farmers secured of the availability of organic farming inputs and technology.
The mini-exhibit of Sagana 100 Phil, Inc. on organic farm products highlighted the occasion which most farmers/homemakers around desire to acquire. SuperKalan using organic fuel was one among the exhibits for farmers to learn lesson on organic farming which “Burns nothing from the farm, except in the stove”.
Relative to MSOFP, it is worthy to mention that the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) organized and implemented Project on Natural Farming System (NFS) for Integrated Community Development (ICD) for Aklan in cooperation with Aklan State University LGU-Aklan, LGU-Banga, Malay and Makato.
NFS is characterized by low inputs usage and higher outputs. It is also known to improve degraded farm lands brought about by abuses of agricultural chemical like inorganic fertilizer and pesticides usage. It emphasizes the use of natural inputs like indigenous friendly micro-organism and careful growth management.
The LGU under Mayor Legaspi strongly desires to produce 7 MT/ha. Of organic hybrid rice, solicited the full support of Sagana 100 Phil., Inc. as alternative to NFS Technology, based on testimony of environment friendly farmers practicing nature’s law on agriculture. /MP

DAR Trains Staff on Gender And Development

The 3rd batch of Gender-based Effectiveness Skills Training (G-BEST) for selected DAR and LGU implementers together with leaders from four Agrarian Reform Communities of Aklan were trained last September at Grand Hotel, Iloilo City. Participants were chosen from the ARCP areas of Aklan like Madalag, Makato, Ibajay and Malinao. The five-day training was under the DAR-ADB-ARCP programs to jumpstart the process of mainstreaming gender in the ARCs. It is also expected that the ARCs will formulate and implement Gender-based rural enterprise in their communities. Other participants in said training were from the ARCs of the province of Antique.
Meanwhile, in GAD-related development, eleven members of Aklan’s GAD focal point also attended a one day orientation for the members of the DAR-Aklan’s women’s desk officers. The orientation discussed Gender and Development thrusts and programs of DAR through DAR Ladies Association – Samahan ng Kababaihan sa Agrikultura (DARLA-SAKA) Chair, Director Lilia Nicolas, another talk on Gender and Sexuality from Prof. Florenda Española of the Ugsad Resource Center at UP in the Visayas and the explanation of RA 9262 or the Anti Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 presented by Capt. Cecilia Detablan of PNP-Region VI.
Atty. Daniel Y. Martelino, PARO II of Aklan welcomes these activities to enhance and provide support to the designated women’s desk officers in DAR-Aklan. /MP

Quimpo Heads Aklan Rivers Development Council

Aklan Governor Carlito S. Marquez in his desire to make sure that the plans, program and projects aimed to rehabilitate and preserve the Aklan rivers system will be properly implemented, designated the man who himself is the brain that conceptualize the very novel idea.

Former 3-termer Congressman Allen S. Quimpo of the Lone District of Aklan is now designated the Executive Director of Aklan’s Rivers Development Council which the incumbent governor himself chairs.

Through the Provincial Ordinance No. 05-206, the Aklan Rivers Development Council was established and through this enactment the council’s powers, functions and sources of funds were specifically defined.

The establishment of the Aklan Rivers Development Council should have been a national law, courtesy of Congressman Quimpo who introduced it in the House of Representatives when he was yet a member of the lower chamber of Congress. His bill was already in the third and final reading in the Senate when Congress adjourned after the termination of its term in 2001.

The ordinance vests the council with extensive and comprehensive power aimed at synchronizing plans, programs and projects for the rehabilitation of the Aklan rivers.

By rivers system of Aklan means the rivers that run from the upland areas of Libacao and Madalag, down to Balete, Altavas Malinao, Banga, Lezo, Numancia, Batan, New Washington, Makato, Tangalan, Ibajay, Nabas, Buruanga, Malay, and Kalibo until the Sibuyan Sea where the river tributaries drain.

The biggest of the rivers system are the Aklan, the Timbahan and the Dumalaylay rivers.

As executive director, Quimpo will run the day-to-day affairs of the council as well as craft comprehensive plans and programs for\ implementation designed to preserve nature in the rivers system.

Among the broad powers of the conservation secretariat headed by the former Congressman is to formulate a comprehensive annual, 3-year, medium and long term development plan for the conservation and rehabilitation of the province’s river system.

Since this council failed to be passed as a law, Marquez and Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino deemed it to adopt as a provincial ordinance which was swiftly and unanimously passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan. MP

BSP Aklan Council Honors Officials

The Aklan Council Boy Scouts of the Philippines shall celebrate its 50th Anniversary coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the separation of Aklan as a separate and district province on April 25, 2006.
The Aklan BSP Council shall however honor its past and present presidents-chairmen on November 2006 on the occasion of the provincial jamborette to be held at Altavas, Aklan.
The past and present presidents-chairmen of the Aklan Council, Boy Scouts of the Philippines are:
1956 (Capiz Separation) Atty. Jose Raz Meñez; 1957-Atty. Manuel Laurente; 1958-1959 – Atty. Getulio Z. Guevarra; 1960-1962 – Dr. Federico R. Meñez; 1963-1969 – Dr. Federico O. Icamina; 1970-1974 – Atty. Ben Hur Z. Mobo; 1975-1976 – Atty. Tomas S. Raz; 1977-1978 – Dr. Eriberto I. Venus; 1979-1981 – Atty. Tomas S. Raz;; 1982-1983 – Atty. Librado D. Regalado; 1984-1985 – Atty. Sergio S. Rigodon; 1986-1989 – Atty. Librado D. Regalado; 1990-1992 – Dr. Eriberto I. Venus; 1993-1999 – Atty. Sergio R. Rigodon and 2000 to present – Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino. /MP

Municipyo It Kalibo Maga-Selebrar

It Foundation Day Sa Nobyembre 3

Iga-selebrar ko Gobyerno Lokal it Kalibo sa kauna-unahan nga kahigayunan rong Foundation Day it nasambit nga banwa. Rayang kahiwatan hay nasandig sa Municipal Ordinance No. 049-2005 kun siin gin-rekognisar rong petsa nga Nobyembre 3, 1571 bilang Foundation Day it Kalibo.
Raya hay ginbase sa sangka historical research nga gin patigayon ni U.P Professor John E. Barrios it Kalibo Council for Culture and the Arts sa idaeum man ko Gobyerno Lokal it Kalibo. Sa nasambit nga pag-estudyo ha-diskubrehan nga ko Nobyembre 3, 1571, o kwatro cientos trienta y kwatro años eon ro nagtaliwan, hay gin paidaeum sa sistema it pag gobyerno ko mga Español rong Kalibo paagi sa sangka incomeinda kun siin nag-umpisa rong sibil nga pag gobyerno.
Raya rong nangin basehan sa pag-sukot it “tribute” o buhis sa mga lokal nga pumueoyo it Kalibo ko ratung tiempo. Rikatu man nag-umpisa rong pag dispensa it hustisya sa nasakupan it nasambit nga encomienda.
Angot kara, gintukud ni Mayor Raymar A. Rebaldo rong sangka kumitiba para sa pag plano sa paeaabuton ngara nga November 3 para sa pag-selebrar it Kalibo Day sa kauna-unahan nga tiempo.
Suno sa kumitiba it Foundation Day, ipa alinton nanda sa publiko ro mga naga ka eain- eain nga bueohatun sa rayang celebration pag katapos nga ha um eon ro tanan. /MP

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Entrepreneurial Farmer

By: Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Most Turbulent Presidency

The presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the most turbulent compared with other presidencies since 1946 or for the last 59 years. The turbulence during the Marcos and Aquino presidencies were not comparable to the present day chaotic state.
It is only in the Arroyo presidency where 10 members of the cabinet simultaneously resigned their positions and strongly demanded that President Arroyo steps out of the Presidency. Senate President Franklin Drilon joined the call for President Arroyo to step out of the presidency. Almost all the cause oriented groups joined the demand that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must step down of the Presidency. The call for President Arroyo to resign was led by former lady President Corazon Aquino.
It is only in the Presidency of Arroyo when the CPR or Calibrated Pre-emptive Response is employed to quell rallies and to suppress the right to peacefully assemble for the redress of grievances. CPR was employed to disperse a relatively peaceful procession at the corner of Claro M. Recto and Legarda Streets. Some of those in the procession took a bath of water from water canon aimed at them. Senator Jamby Madrigal, former Vice President Teofesto Guingona, Rev. Father Reyes among others were hurt and became wet of water from the firemen. These happened only in the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presidency.
It is only in the Arroyo presidency when a member of her cabinet Norberto Gonzales, National Security Adviser was cited for contempt for refusing to answer questions of the members Senate Blue Ribbon Committee regarding the Venable Contract. Gonzales, in the course of the investigation suffered of low blood sugar and heart problem. After this, PGMA issued 464 ordering all the members of the cabinet to attend Congressional hearings with her permission only.
It is in the Gloria Arroyo presidency when some 300 officers and men in the AFP held Oakwood mutiny. Some generals in the AFP are alleged to be corrupt. There are also military officers who are Court Marshaled for telling the truth, vis a viz, election cheating. An election commissioner alleged to be instrumental in election cheating is nowhere to be found. Mr. Virgilio Garcillano is believed the man to give light on the “Hello Garci” tape. But where is his safe house?
Inspite of these problems, Malacañang retorted: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is too busy implementing her 10 points agenda – creating more jobs, attracting investors to the Philippines, making sure Filipino households will have enough foods on their dining tables.
But bread alone is not enough. There must be decency, morality and legitimacy. President Arroyo is alleged to have cheated her way to the presidency in the May 2004 elections, her critics pointed out.
And therefore, her stay in Malacañang is illegitimate. According to her critics, the disappearance of Mr. Garcillano is Malacañang advised so that the substance hidden in the “hello Garci” tapes will remain a mystery. The tactics written in the books were all earnestly employed by Malacañang to stop the Impeachment of President Arroyo.
The Filipino people are seeking the truth from the president. Short of it, protests, rallies are sure to go on unabated. Filipinos need the truth. Return Garcillano to the Philippines to reveal the truth. This is morality. This is honesty. The Filipinos strongly want an honest President. They want other officials and employees in the bureaucracy to be honest, the protesters demand.
Filipinos do not demand things Ms. Arroyo cannot afford to give. She has already accepted and felt sorry for her “lapse in judgment”. Ms. Arroyo must not wait to end her term in 2010 for her to step down. She must do it now to assure peace in the streets, in public places, in government, and in the households. The Filipinos have been cheated since the 15th century by foreigners. They are feeling worst to be cheated by a Filipino now.
The Black and White Movement has proposed for a transition government with Vice President Noli De Castro to be installed President. This is one way for a graceful exit of Ms. Arroyo for the sake of the Philippines and her people. But De Castro declined. What will be done next?
A news release from the PIA said “Philippines peso is now the strongest currency in the Asian region against the US dollar. It has been most stable during PGMA’s administration, since her father’s term. It strongly depreciated.
Yes, this is true. In 1961 when President Diosdado Macapagal became president, the US $ peso rate was $1 to P3.00. President Macapagal adopted the “floating rate”, or let the peso sakes its own level. At the end of his term in 1965, the peso US $ exchange rate was P18 per one dollar. Cost of gasoline was six centavos (0.06) per liter in 1961 and went up to P0.18 in 1965.
When PGMA was sworn President in 2001, the peso – dollar rate fluctuated between P48 – P50 per dollar. Today it is P55.50 per dollar. It went to as high as P56.80 per dollar. On the other hand, premium gasoline today is almost P40 per liter in Aklan. It was P30 per liter in 2001 when she became president of the Philippines. The increase is insignificant 25 percent only in a five year period. Is that not strong increase? Do not believe this.
But look at Thailand in 1965, the Bhat rate to US Dollar was 40 bhats per dollar. Today, it is 37 bhats to a dollar. Thailand currency appreciated, Philippines peso depreciated.
So PGMA is demanding a “little sacrifice in a short run but lasting rewards in the form of more jobs and livelihood facilities, better social services, more infrastructure and less debts.” Filipinos have tightened their belts. It has almost severed their bodies from the hips.
Yes, little sacrifice as 52 percent of all the Filipinos are now in poverty. This was 47 percent before she reached Malacañang palace. PGMA and company want some more of the upper 48 percent of the population to sacrifice, just pay the E-Vat. That is all.
PGMA promises more budget to education, housing, public health, micro financing, land reform and other poverty alleviation measures.
Actually, E-Vat proceeds may go to pay the US $56 billions foreign debt and the P3 trillions domestic debt.
PGMA also assured the people she will place corrupt officials in jail. Maybe she will include the P25 million MKWD deal. But the LWUA has not even released to the consumers the result of its investigation /MP

Thursday, October 20, 2005


The Oil Consumers’ Force

In the case of petroleum, people focus too much on the supply side of the law. They forget the power of the demand side. Why? Let consumers reclaim their power back as consumers. This is a great idea without hurting the consumers and even the economy.
This is neither boycott campaign nor rallies against gas companies.
The oil companies are too iron hearted that every week, they increase prices of various oil products. They are hurting and even killing consumers gently and surely.
The oil companies laugh and keep quiet to consumers our protest.
They know consumers could not continue to hurt themselves and refuse to buy gas. It is more of inconvenience to the consumers than it is a problem for oil firms.
Here is a proposal to soften this oil companies. You may please consider it.
Currently, the unleaded gasoline is over P36.00 per liter and it is increasing every week unnoticed together with other gasoline products. Despite the decrease of US $62 per barrel of oil from US $70, the price still went up instead of downward trend.
What is worst is the giant oil companies like Caltex, Shell and Petron still claim they are losing money. Do they have insatiable greed? This is now the time consumers can take aggressive action to teach them that buyers control the market place, not sellers.
The proposal is simple. Consumers can hit back by just purchasing gas requirements from just one oil company. This will not hurt the consumers anyway but the two oil companies which the consumers will not patronize.
Here is how. For the remaining part of the year 2005, consumers just purchase gas from one oil company: Petron. Never buy from Caltex and Shell. If there is small oil company present in your community, like SeaOil and Total, purchase from them.
After a few days if Caltex and Shell are not selling their gasoline, they will be forced to reduce their prices. But do not go back to Shell or Caltex yet. Continue buying from Petron, SeaOil or Total until a significant price reduction in Shell and Caltex is announced.
If this proposal makes sense to you, you send it to your friends and relatives. If consumers can just unite, purchase at Petron only. The two: Shell and Caltex will be forced to reduce their prices. What shall they do with their gas? Sell to Petron? If they did this, they will lose business. /MP

BSP Holds Statistics Forum

The Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) conducted the “2005 Users’ Forum on BSP-Produced Statistics” last week. It was a one half day forum held at Sampaguita Gardens, New Washington, Aklan. Prominent users of statistics like representatives from the banks, colleges, the media and government officials attended the forum.
The forum was held in celebration of the 16th National Statistics Month which theme is: Modernizing Agriculture and Fishery Through Quality Statistics.
The forum discussed three topics. Ms. Loida D. Cruz, Acting Deputy Director, BSP discussed the Balance of Payment, Ms. Marriel M. Remulla, Bank Officer V, BSP presented the Financial Indicators; and Ms. Ludivinia D. Gador Acting Deputy Director, BSP presented the Business Expectations Survey/Consumers Expectations Survey.
Ms. Leonora S. Templonuevo, Head, BSP Kalibo Branch welcomed the guests and participants to the forum. /MP

Boracay Tourists Generates Multi Billions Pesos

Some 383,089 foreign and local tourists visited the paradise island of Boracay in Malay, Aklan from the months of January to September 2005. They generated an estimated P2,916,546,582.00 in tourism receipts.
This estimate is based on the data submitted by the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) Kalibo, Aklan, for exhibit at the lobby of the Provincial Capitol. The exhibit is part of Aklan’s activities in celebration of National Statistics Month this October. Exhibit was launched on October 12 and will be on display until October 26.
As revealed by the PTO’s inventory of tourist arrivals from 2002 to 2005, the number of tourists visiting Boracay constantly increased.
In 2002, some 300,792 tourists went to Boracay Island. Of this number, 77,892 were foreigners while 22,900 were local. Their visit generated P2,290,000,182 in tourism receipts.
For the 2003 arrivals, 339,208 were recorded, 84,514 of them were foreigners and 254,694 local. These arrivals brought in some P2,582,470,217 in tourism receipts.
The year 2004 was a good one for Aklan’s tourism industry as P3,264,182,119.00 were spent by 121,019 foreign visitors, 291,278 local and 16,453 overseas Filipinos.
It is predicted that 2005 will also register a big increase in tourism arrivals and tourism receipts, as the total number of tourist arrivals for the first nine months is almost equal to that of last year.According to Roselle Q. Ruiz, Provincial Tourism Operations Officer of Aklan, “ the Department of Tourism (DOT) formula for arriving at tourism receipts is by multiplying the numbers of tourists against the average length of stay and the average daily expenditure.” (PIA)

Warden, Guards Get Reprimanded For Escape Of Two Detainees

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

The committee investigating the escape of two detainees at the Aklan Rehabilitation Center (ARC) recommended that the jail warden and five jail guards on duty at the time of the incident be reprimanded.
Still at large and considered “armed and dangerous,” Gary Sultan and Zaldy Macaslang escaped on the night of June 29, 2005 from the ARC in Brgy. Nalook, Kalibo. They also injured three jail guards.
In a report, former RTC Judge Maria Carillo Zaldivar – committee head – recommended to Gov. Carlito S. Marquez that jail warden Supt. Cristito Angob and the jail guards on duty be reprimanded under the “theory of command responsibility.”
On the night of the escape, there were five jail guards on duty. Three had firearms. Supt. Angob and his deputy were not around.
While ARC helper Francisco Haquero was busy opening lock-up cell No.3 to bring in a new inmate, Sultan and Macaslang suddenly ran outside. They simultaneously shot PG1 Ramie Fernandez and casual guards Raul Silverio and Edgar Bonifacio.
Silverio, who had with him a long firearm, was a little further left away behind the two guards.
Haguero immediately shouted for help. The injured Bonifacio still managed to run towards the gate where he met PG1 Ebwin Icay.
Icay was in the guardhouse near the main gate and PG1 Hegino Merin was posted at the back of the cells at the time of the incident.
Fernandez was hit on his left arm and back while Silverio sustained a gunshot wound on the left side of his abdomen. They were brought to the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Bonifacio was also rushed to the hospital.
The suspects, all natives of Mindanao, face charges for selling illegal drugs.


Zaldivar said the ARC needs repairs for better administration of prisoners detained. It also determined that “no responsible officer was sleeping inside the rehabilitation center when the jail break happened.”
It was learned that there were 11 short firearms issued by the province directly to the guards, and that the jail administrator allowed guards to carry their firearms even during their off duties.
The investigating committee found “no concrete proof that the firearms, allegedly used by the suspects, were smuggled in at a definite time and date to pinpoint the guards who may be responsible.”
The committee recommended the repair of the perimeter walls and provide it with lights, procure additional firearms, conduct trainings among the jail guards and prohibit guards and inmates from bringing in drinking alcoholic drinks inside the rehabilitation center. /MP

Sen. Manuel Villar Leads Balete Fiesta

October 24, 2005 is a red letter day in Balete as it honors St. Rafael the Archangel on his feast day as the Baleten-on community observes the bicentenary of its foundation. This dual celebration is expressed in various activities to set the festive ambience.
These activities, as agreed by both the Local Government Unit, the Parish Pastoral Council and other National Government Agencies & Civil Society Organizations in a series of meetings include the usual Inter-Barangay Basketball Tournament scheduled on October 1 to 18, 2005. There are eleven participating teams competing at the Mayor Teodoro F. Calizo, Sr., Mem. Civic Center (MTFCSMCC) every afternoon from 3:30 p.m. until around 8 o’clock in the evening.
The novena mass in honor of St. Rafael commenced on October 15, 2005 at 4 p.m. at the Parish Church. The ten barangays of Balete sponsor the 9-day spiritual preparation.
A Ground Demonstration by the students of Balete Academy is set on the morning of October 19, 2005. At 7 p.m. a search for Miss Balete Academy will be staged together with a cultural presentation at the MTFCSMCC.
The Grand Alumni Homecoming of Balete Elementary School (BES) is on October 20, 2005. A general assembly of alumni to organize the BES Alumni Association in the morning. Fellowship will follow after the lunch break. A new BES building constructed out of the Priority Development Assistance Fund of then Congresswoman Gabrielle Calizo will be inaugurated in the afternoon. In the evening, a torch parade from the Balete Elementary School to the MTFCSMCC precedes a Fantasy Night and the eventual coronation of the Muse of the Night.
Senator Manuel Villar, Jr., his wife, Cong. Cynthia Villar and other dignitaries top the honored guests in time for the Grand Opening of the Kabuhi-an Livelihood, Skills Training and Exhibition Center at the Hilltop Garden, Barangay Aranas, Balete, Aklan. It will be in the afternoon of October 21, 2005. Prior to the formal cutting of ribbons, a press conference is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. right at the lobby of the center. The senator and his party will later proceed to meet with the Liga ng mga Barangay at the MTFCSMCC. A Barangay Night and Dance Sports Competition will be sponsored by the Liga ng mga Barangay in the evening. /MP

Women Remits More Money Than Men

By: Jeremiah M. Opiniano

SOUTHEAST Asian women migrant workers, of which over a half are Filipinas, sent more money than male workers to their home countries, a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) showed.
An estimated 2.182 million contract workers and immigrants, largely women, remitted some US$3.3 billion from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia "on monthly averages ranging from US$300 to US$500," said the ADB study on Southeast Asian Workers´ Remittances.
This development surrounding remittances from Southeast Asian migrants reflects the significant trend of increasing number of female migrants from Southeast Asia, "especially those who independently decide to migrate", the study cited.
"The human movement involved in labor migration is of obvious economic importance and… (labor export) has become the largest single foreign exchange earning activity, outweighing commodity exports, in a number of Asian labor-surplus nations," added the study, presented by the ADB in a conference.

Women dominate migrant volumes
CITING estimates on the volume of migrants in East Asia, the ADB said there are 1.423 million Asian migrant workers in Japan, 621,400 foreign workers in Singapore, 1.43 million documented and 400,000 undocumented migrants in Malaysia, and 340,000 foreigners in Hong Kong.
From those estimates by the four East Asian host countries, 240,000 female migrant workers in Hong Kong are Filipina and Indonesian domestic helpers, while some 230,000 of the 240,000 maids in Malaysia are Indonesians.
Some 180,000 migrants in Japan are Filipinas, mostly as overseas performing artists (OPAs), and 150,000 of Singapore's 621,400 foreign workers with work permits are mostly Filipina and Indonesian domestic helpers.
ADB noted there were a "large number of single women working in a country other than their own, in large part to support family members through (their) remittances¨.
"These women overwhelmingly work in domestic labor situations. In addition to frequent employer pressure upon workers and would-be migrants, these women tend to face numerous challenges, some but not all of which are worse because of their sex. Meanwhile, the sex industry is another likely arena where women migrants work," the ADB study added.

Estimated remittances
From the US$3.3 billion estimated remittances from those Southeast Asian women migrants, the study said Filipino migrants remitted US$2.3 billion, Indonesians remitted about US$0.7 million, and Malaysians sent back to their country about US$0.27 million.
Of these amounts, more than half of the Asian migrant workers, especially Filipinas, were domestic workers in Hong Kong and Singapore, and as entertainers in Japan, wrote the study.
The volume of remittances, ADB added, may be higher "if estimates of undocumented workers are included".
The ADB study was based on a survey of 2,500 Filipino, Indonesian, and Malaysian remitters who send money from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Filipinos and Indonesians in the four East Asian states were surveyed, while Malaysians in Japan and Singapore were made part of the survey, as Malaysia was considered both a country that sends out and receives migrants – the latter including Filipinos and Indonesians.
In the respondents´ profile of the study, 58 percent of Filipino remitter-respondents in Japan, 97 percent of those in Hong Kong, 88 percent of those in Singapore, and 58 percent of those in Malaysia were women.

Women comprise 65% of OFW deployment
BASED on Philippine labor department data, nearly 3,000 Filipinos leave the country everyday for work or residence abroad, adding to the stock estimate of a total eight million Filipinos living and working temporarily or residing permanently in 197 countries worldwide.
Government data shows that over-65 percent of these deployed overseas workers are women.
Deployment data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) confirms that most of the Filipinas in Japan are overseas performing artists (OPAs), and in Hong Kong and Singapore are domestic workers. Meanwhile, a majority of the Filipinos in Malaysia are undocumented migrants in Sabah island that crossed the border from Western Mindanao.
If the estimates of this latest ADB study on the remittances of Filipinos in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong are correct, these are higher than 2004 actual remittance figures by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in those countries. /OFW Journalism Consortium, Inc.

Food Sector Tops In 3rd Aklan Product Showcase

Food Sector is the top grosser in this year’s Aklan Product Showcase held at SM City Iloilo Total sales (cash and booked orders) generated some P1,5096 M, up by more than 16 percent compared to last year’s P1.3024 M.
Top grosser was food sector with P0.5455 M sales, followed by furniture sector with P0.4976 M and loomweaving sector with P0.3131 M. Twenty-five (25) exhibitors participated as against twenty-four (24) exhibitors last year. Eleven (11) new buyers were generated and it is expected that at least ten (10) new jobs will be created by these SMEs.
Provincial Governor Carlito S. Marquez of Aklan was represented by Aklan Provincial Planning & Development Officer Engr. Roger Esto, six (6) Regional Directors (DTI, DOT, DOST, DA, DILG & BFAR), John Ray de la Cruz of Association of Fair Trade, Inc. (AFTI), heads of other different government and non-government agencies and other guests, graced the opening program.
The showcase was opened for public viewing from 26 September to 02 October 2005 at SM City-Iloilo, Mandurriao at the Lower ground, Activity Center.
This year’s showcase featured the latest designs on finely woven fabrics, modern wearables and fashion accessories, gifts and novelty items, lifestyle furniture & furnishings, ornamental plants, plus the best tasting processed foods.
The Department of Trade & Industry-Aklan headed by PD Ermilinda P. Pollentes, Hugod Aklanon Producers Association, Inc. headed by Ms. Amelia S. Rentillo and the Provincial Government of Aklan headed by Gov. Carlito S. Marquez, jointly sponsored this activity. /MP

DAR-Aklan Files Illegal Land Conversion Versus MIRANT Corp.

The Department of Agrarian Reform in Aklan through the Provincial Task Force on Illegal Conversion indorsed its recommendation to the Hon. Lourdes Quimpo-Mayor, Chief Provincial Prosecutor and Co-Chair of the Provincial Task Force on Illegal Conversion the joint complaint-affidavit against Bautista, President of Toledo Holdings Corporation (subsidiary of Mirant Global Corporation) as landowner and Danilo Narceda, Vice President of Avon River Power Holdings Corporation.
The Task Force in Illegal Conversion found a clear violation of Section 65 of the RA 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in the said case. The joint affidavit executed by the witnesses who are members of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PAGPCCOM) chaired by Rene D. Enriquez shows that they conducted an ocular inspection last February 15, 2005 and found that the land in question has an area of 2.8020 hectares, an orchard and is situated at barangay Mabilo, New Washington, Aklan. Another letter-complaint from Gilberto Mationg, Chairperson of the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee in Mabilo, New Washington, Aklan dated May 5, 2004 points to a construction of Power Generating Plant without the application of a Conversion Order.
On December 14, 2004, the DAR Legal Assistance Division submitted its investigation report to PARO Daniel Y. Martelino on the premature conversion activities conducted in said area. It also found out that the respondents developed the subject land from agricultural into industrial use as site of its 5 megawatt diesel-fired power plant. It recommended the issuance of a Cease and Desist order to the respondents to stop any and all development activities in the area. Despite the order, the respondents continued their development activities. To date, all structures appear to be completed.
With the joint-affidavit complaint filed by the Provincial task force on Illegal Conversion, Atty. Daniel Y. Martelino, hopes to call the attention of would-be developers to observe the rules and laws pertaining to land conversion and to educate all concerned that there are processes and guidelines involved in all land transactions and conversion of agricultural lands. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Will Quality Statistics Modernize Agriculture?

It seems that the Sanitary Inspectors of Kalibo, Aklan had not visited Jollibee at Gaisano, Kalibo for a long time to check if sanitation is observed.
I happened to be there last Sunday, October 16. It was about 6:00 o’clock in the afternoon to have a simple snack. Due to the call of nature, I went to the toilet. It was closed with a sign at the door appearing to be for disabled person. What a deception!
I was at the same place one month ago and that place (toilet) was already closed. I asked the waiter where is the CR? He told me “it is closed for it is out of order for many weeks already.”
Last Sunday, October 16, the same CR was closed and worst, a sign to show it is for disabled person was attached with the door. I asked the waiter if that CR is opened. The reply? “Out of order.”
Maybe, the LGU Kalibo does not require restaurant or eatery like Jollibee to have its own toilet. If not, it is a grand defiance of a just requirement.
The Bolanteros of Kalibo will be better off if they can develop the Bagsakan Center at the vicinity of Oyo Torong into a profitable market. The development only requires some patience and dedication to encourage their customers to come to Bagsakan Center to buy their goods at reasonable prices. The customers will form the habit to go there if they realized to be at their advantage.
Let Toting Reyes be used principally by pedestrians and vehicles anytime and any day of the week.
The Philippines’ external debt as of 2005 is US $56 billion, according to MS. Loida D. Cruz, Acting Deputy Director, Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas. If there are now 85 million Filipinos, each Filipino, one day old and above, is indebted of US $658.83 or P36,894.48 at an exchange rate of US $1.00 to P56.00. This is foreign debt alone. Filipinos are still indebted locally of even more than the foreign debt. The local debt is P3 trillion plus.
Asked at how much and when will the Philippines government stop borrowing, Ms. Cruz has no categorical answer. She spoke of continually borrowing for viable investment. But does the government really put borrowed money into viable investment?
The Philippines is celebrating the month of October as National Statistics month with the Theme: “Modernizing Agriculture and Fishery With Quality Statistics.” It is hard to imagine how can high quality statistics modernize agriculture. What do we mean by quality statistics? It is said, figure does not lie and should our statisticians use figure to deceive, then this is not only poor quality statistics, but figures use to deceive people, like the use of numbers to defeat opponents in an election or the use of numbers to inflate a production figures like rice, corn, sugar and coconut annually.
There is only true statistics that will reflect or portray the real situation such as data on production expenses and income. There is no high quality statistics that can modernize agriculture and fishery.
What can modernize fishery and agriculture are high quality farmers and fisherfolks, well fit technology and production facility. Aklan for instance believes it has a modern agriculture. But it is not, even if we have the best agriculture university, the Aklan State University here.
Does Aklan have a soil laboratory where their soils are analyze for fertilizer application? None. So, farmers just apply fertilizer to their farms without any idea if their crops are underdosed or overdosed of plant nutrients.
A series of fish kills happened in Kalibo, New Washington and some other towns of Aklan. Nobody knew what caused those fish kills. There is no laboratory to use in the analysis. Problems in the fishpond are not identified. Fishpond operators only guest the probable cause, no certainty.
Water in Aklan are wasted while palay and other crops run dry. Irrigation system is by gravity, so antiquated to store water and release to the farms when needed. Millions of gallons of water drain to the sea everyday unused.
It is so lamentable that with this veritable state of agriculture in the Philippines, our top government officials has allotted huge amount of money to modernize agriculture. Where did it go? It went to the politicians to win the elections. Hello Garci? /MP

Monday, October 17, 2005


(Ed’s Note: Privilege speech of the Honorable Franklin L. Quimpo, SP member, province of Aklan delivered during the 37th regular session of the SP Aklan, Kalibo, Aklan on October 12, 2005.

AKELCO, A+: Truth Or Myth

Much hype has been made of AKELCO’s awards and categorization as an “A” plus electric cooperative, but is it? Do the consumers have reason to be happy about this development, or, were they deceived into believing said claim? Let us look closely at AKELCO’s financial report.
Available data obtained from the cooperative of its financial condition from the year 2001 to 2004, showed that it incurred substantial losses during the said period. Its accumulated losses now stand at P253.5 million as of 2004 as revealed in its 2003-2004 statement of financial condition under the “unapropriated margin deficit” account. The most dramatic increase was made in the year 2003 when its losses jumped to P243 million from the P97 million, or, a 150 percent increase. As data of prior years are not available, it can be safely assumed that AKELCO has consistently suffered financial losses since its inception and will continue to suffer the same fate as in previous years.
Why then does AKELCO still exist despite the financial losses it has incurred over the years? Again, its statement of financial condition will reveal that it has survived by obtaining loans from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and other financial institutions to finance its day-to-day operations. Let us cite few examples as reflected in its financial statements:

1. Its current long – term debt (2004) now stands at Php277,564,152. By their own admission, these loans were obtained from NEA and were used for various expansion projects or maintenance of its assets.

2. Accounts Payables – in November and December of 2004, AKELCO had unpaid billings of Php32.784 million to NPC. The amount due to NPC was restructured through AKELCO’s loan application under NEA’s modified relending loan to “offset its overdue power accounts from NEA’s receivables from NPC. The amount will be paid in equal quarterly installments starting March 2005 until March 2008. Here, AKELCO had to borrow money from NEA to pay its power account with NPC to maintain its credit worthiness.

In another instance, the amount of PHP51,779,916.19 was reflected as “Accounts Payables-Others” in 2004. According to AKELCO, this amount was incurred due to its availment of credit terms from its different suppliers and for the “unremitted universal charge for the missionary electrification and environmental charge in the amount of Php 0.373 and Php 0.0025 per kilowatt hour sold charge to consumers to be remitted to the power sector assets and liabilities management corporation (Psalm) pursuant to Energy Regulatory Commission Order Case No. 2002-165.
In the aforementioned case, while the universal charge for the missionary electrification and environmental charge was collected from its consumer-members, yet it was not turned over or remitted to psalm. Why? Is it because AKELCO does not have enough funds generated from its operating revenues to pay its financial obligations? Again, AKELCO appropriated the money that was to be remitted to psalm and spent it for whatever purpose. Only they know. Just the same, this amount has to be paid to psalm and will remain in the books of the cooperative until fully paid. Are they going to apply this as loan from NEA? Again, only they know.
On the whole, AKELCO has a whooping Php129,464,767.37 notes and accounts payable as of 2004. Where and how to pay these (AKELCO) financial obligations? The most probable and logical answer would be to borrow some more adding to its already bloated interest charges/payments to NEA.

Thus, if we examine closely the statement of operations for the years 2003 and 2004, the amount of interest payment alone exceeds operating margin.

This means that AKELCO’s operating revenues are not even enough to pay interest for its loans. Quo vadis AKELCO?
Among other accounts that showed very significant figures are the administrative and general expenses and consumers accounts expenses amounting to Php52,776,552 million and Php25,375,254 million, respectively, for the year 2004. The former are lump sum amounts and should be unbundled to be able to analyze and understand it. The later account is very mysterious and needs to be unbundled too.
While AKELCO management team can always blame power sources and transmission facilities for the frequent power outages and power shedding in the AKELCO serviced area, the almost daily power failures only spells the inefficiency of the rural electric cooperative still under NEA’s management team.
Until now, AKELCO has failed to establish its genuine legal identity. While it continues to use the term “cooperative” it has not exerted serious efforts to be registered under the ambit of the Cooperative Code of the Philippines through the Cooperative Development Authority. Failing to register with the CDA, and remained as such until now, under the law, this power distribution firm is barred from attaching the word “cooperative” from its name because it has opted to remain under the full supervision of NEA.
Premises considered, may I move that this Provincial Legislative Body invites the presence of the competent representatives of the Board of Directors and the Management Team of AKELCO to appear before one of the sessions of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (of Aklan) to answer clarificatory questions about the state of the operations of the rural electric cooperative so that this august body maybe guided within its legislative jurisdiction in taking appropriate actions on matters relating to the power sector in this province. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Early Politics In Numancia

Suspected to be of Marijuana leaves turned out to be negative. After a thorough laboratory analysis, the chemical report said, the samples analyzed revealed it is of local herb and not marijuana.
The suspected marijuana was confiscated from a live-in partners in Barangay Buenafortuna, Nabas, Aklan during a police raid last week. The suspected drug pushers are presently detained in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology detention cell in Nalook, Kalibo, Aklan.
According to the police of Nabas, a search warrant was applied and granted after the suspects were verified to be selling marijuana. If this is true, then the suspects who are live-in partners have been fooling their customers. They might have been pretending selling marijuana but actually native herb.
AKELCO lost its Civil Case No. 6850 for “petition for Mandamus With Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and Damages”. A consumer–member, Ms. Helen D. Tilano filed the case after AKELCO cut off her electric power connection
After careful hearing of the case, the court concluded that AKELCO had “no legal right or authority whatsoever to cut off petitioner’s (Helen D. Tilano) supply of electricity the disconnection made by them is clearly illegal…it should be made to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful act of the respondent”.
Judge Dean R. Telan of Branch 9, Regional Trial Court Kalibo, Aklan ordered the AKELCO to pay Helen D. Tilano the sum of P211,767.50 as actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and filing and docket fees.
Here is AKELCO which lost a simple case to consumer-member despite its management team which members are being paid P300,000 monthly and a daily meal allowance of P1,000.00 everyday.
In the first place, the case could not have been made if AKELCO management was careful. Second, AKELCO did not have a good record as far as the case of Ms. Tilano is concerned. Third, the management team did not have an air-tight statement of its “rule on 10 days”.
On the other hand, Ms. Tilano kept a good records. She has preserved and used her files to disprove AKELCO’s claim that Tilano has back accounts. It is highly possible several consumer-members could have been double charged. Only they could not dispute AKELCO’s claim of non-payment of previous bills because those consumer members have no files of their receipts of previous payment. It pays to keep receipts of payment.
Numancia has beaten 16 other towns of Aklan in the Gawad Ng Pangulo Sa Kapaligiran. Numancia is also the current champion in basketball. And the latest, Numancia also beat the other 16 towns in politics.
Last week, Vice Mayor Adolfo Iligan has declared his candidacy for Mayor of Numancia. Isn’t that early? If there is election today, perhaps Vice Mayor Iligan will win as Mayor of Numancia. But let us wait who will be his opponent in the 2007 local election in Numancia. By then, a choice can be made. He maybe Vice Mayor Iligan or his opponent. Mayor Ernesto I. Templonuevo is barred from running as Mayor having completed his three consecutive terms in June 30, 2007.
Vice Mayor Iligan however, is now carrying an unnecessary baggage. His quest to do good in Numancia will often be associated with his desire to become Numancia mayor in 2007.
Moreover, he declared political war versus his present ally, Mayor Ernesto I. Templonuevo /MP

Food Sector Tops In 3rd Aklan Product Showcase

Food Sector is the top grosser in this year’s Aklan Product Showcase held at SM City Iloilo Total sales (cash and booked orders) generated some P1,5096 M, up by more than 16 percent compared to last year’s P1.3024 M.
Top grosser was food sector with P0.5455 M sales, followed by furniture sector with P0.4976 M and loomweaving sector with P0.3131 M. Twenty-five (25) exhibitors participated as against twenty-four (24) exhibitors last year. Eleven (11) new buyers were generated and it is expected that at least ten (10) new jobs will be created by these SMEs.
Provincial Governor Carlito S. Marquez of Aklan was represented by Aklan Provincial Planning & Development Officer Engr. Roger Esto, six (6) Regional Directors (DTI, DOT, DOST, DA, DILG & BFAR), John Ray de la Cruz of Association of Fair Trade, Inc. (AFTI), heads of other different government and non-government agencies and other guests, graced the opening program.
The showcase was opened for public viewing from 26 September to 02 October 2005 at SM City-Iloilo, Mandurriao at the Lower ground, Activity Center.
This year’s showcase featured the latest designs on finely woven fabrics, modern wearables and fashion accessories, gifts and novelty items, lifestyle furniture & furnishings, ornamental plants, plus the best tasting processed foods.
The Department of Trade & Industry-Aklan headed by PD Ermilinda P. Pollentes, Hugod Aklanon Producers Association, Inc. headed by Ms. Amelia S. Rentillo and the Provincial Government of Aklan headed by Gov. Carlito S. Marquez, jointly sponsored this activity. /

Forum On Cultural Awareness Thru

Grassroots Media Set Oct. 21 In Mindanao

“Promoting Cultural Awareness Through Grassroots Media” will be the main thrust of a two-day Mindanao Cultural Forum for Media set on Oct. 21-22 in Butuan City.
Agusan del Norte Gov. John Erlpe M. Amante will speak on the “Role of LGUs in the Promotion of Culture and the Arts in the Countryside.”
A Malacanang official, Danilo A. Consumido, assistant secretary of the Office of External Affairs, Office of the President, is also slated to address the two-day event.
Alfredo G. Gabot, head of the National Commission For Culture and the Arts (NCCA), committee on communications and NCCA commissioner, will speak on the role of Media in Promoting Philippine Culture and the Arts, while Johnny P. Dayang, president of the Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) and project director, will speak about the cultural forum for media.
Armando Manaloto, an executive of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), will talk on cultural promotion: Media’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
Adelina M. Suemith, chief NCCA project monitoring and evaluation division and Eury Zulueta of the NCCA cultural dissemination service, are among the resource persons during the media forum. Fernando Almeda Jr., president of the Surigaonon Heritage Center Foundation, is expected to highlight Mindanao’s rich cultural heritage.
Under the auspices of PAPI and the NCCA, the cultural forum for media is a strategic convergence of Mindanao communicators to promote countryside development and national unity, according to Felix P. Villacastin, project coordinator.
Mediamen and other communicators from Mindanao provinces desiring to participate in the Butuan City gathering may contact the PAPI Community Press Center, located at Unit 206 Cityland Condo 8 in Makati, with tel. no. 8929278, call mobile no. 0920-9094-4379, or call Felix Villacastin at 091-76134444. /MP

DAR Facilities Fish Processing and Packaging Training For Arc

Some thirty five (35) female and male members of the Bugna-Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) attended the Skills Training on Fish Processing and Packaging at Jawili Elementary School, Jawili, Tangalan, Aklan from October 3-5, 2005. The three days skills training was facilitated by the Department of Agrarian Reform through MARO Leah T. Oquendo, the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center led by its Center Director, Engr. Remelyn R. Recoter and the Department of Education through Ms. Nerissa Repaz, the Principal I of the Jawili Elementary School.
The participants were taught how to prepare bottled sardines, fish deboning, fish tinapa, fish confectionary like crackers and pulvoron, fish balls as well as packaging of all these by-products of fishes. Through self-help, technical support and financial assistance of the aforesaid agencies, the training truly upgraded the skills of the beneficiaries.
Atty. Daniel Y. Martelino, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II of DAR-Aklan, stressed during the closing ceremonies that essential support services are needed to make the fish processing and packaging activities sustainable. He committed to assist the group in procuring equipments such as pressure cooker, smoke house, sealer and other materials for the project.
Also present in the ceremonies and induction of officers of the Gawad Pangkabuhayan were Mr. Alan Alimodian, ATI-RTC VI Assistant Director, Charlie Tigson, planning officer of the Municipality of Tangalan representing Hon. Jed Tirol and Ms. Nerissa M. Repaz, Principal I of Jawili Elementary School. /MP

A Baleten–on Stars “Hugyaw Sa Kalipay”

“Hugyaw Sa Kalipay”, a classical concert will take place on Saturday, October 22 at 7:00 P.M. at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish Church, Balete, Aklan. The proceeds will go to the construction of the St. Raphael the Archangel Parochial Prep School as announced by its Regent, former Congresswoman Billie V. Calizo.
According to Calizo, the concert is jointly sponsored by the Daughters of the Mary Immaculate, Mother of Perpetual Help Circle, and other religious organizations of Balete, LGU Balete and DepEd Balete.
Guest performances are Nolyn Cabahug, Tenor, popularly known as the “Pavarotti” of the Philippines and Benilda Cuales Rasco, Soprano, a Baleten-on living in San Francisco, California, USA.
Neneng Cuales Rasco, soprano, is a native of Balete, Aklan. She studied voice with Miss Jovita Fuentes. She was a former member of the Opera Chorus of the Philippines and appeared in their opera productions of Madame Butterfly by Puccini, Paliacci by Leoncavallo, Cavalleria Rusticana by Macagni and Noli Me Tangere by Filepe de Leon at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. She has performed as soloist with different choirs in the Philippines and the United States, including Immaculate Conception choir, Corpus Christie, Saint Anthony Church, Allhollows Church, Saint Patrick’s Church and the Philippine Heritage Foundation, San Francisco Cultural Group, California. She performed with the Philippine Heritage Choir concert tours in London, England; Mexico City, Mexico; Oahu, Hawaii; and Monterey, Monterey California.
A former member of Government Choral Group in Manila, Ms. Rasco, has been appointed several times to entertain visiting dignitaries to the Philippines at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. A recipient of the Manuel L. Quezon University scholarship and First place award of the Songfest Singing Competition in Quezon City, Ms. Rasco has been seen performing in special events such as the opening of the National Artist Center at Los Baños, Laguna. Her significant teachers and mentors are Miss Jovita Fuentes, Mrs. Tessie Agana Santos, Miss Ina Chalis; Mrs. Mila Eduardo, and Mr. George Hernandez, who she coaches with currently. Last October 5, 2002, she held a Solo concert at Park Presidio United Methodist Church in San Francisco, California for the benefit of saint Rafael de Archangel. She likewise staged a Solo concert on October 24 of the same year at the Rodriguez Memorial Hall in Balete, Aklan.
Nolyn Cabahug is one of the country’s best tenors. His repertoire includes Broadway hits, classics, and enchanting Filipino Music that has made Cabahug the only opera singer ever given the “Classical Singer of the Year Award” by the National Press Club’s Tinig Awards. Cabahug’s musical training began at an early age with his mother, the former Lily Argamaso, involving him in choir music when he was only ten.
He started as member and soloist of the Manila Metropolitan Theater Chorus and the University of the Philippines Concert Chorus. He has sung lead roles in Filipino and Italian opera, Broadway Musicales, Zarzuellas, Oratorios, and Cantatas, and has given solo concerts in major cities here and abroad. His other professional involvements include product launches and providing talent for jingle productions. The “Filipino Victor” as art patron Jaime Zobel de Ayala calls him, presently directing the choir of Makati Gospel Church and other corporate choirs. He continues to be featured in the concert seasons of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Philharmonic Society. /MP


Man, 74, beats up 77-year-old-sister
On her birthday

By Alex P. Vidal

Instead of professing his love for his sister in observance of the “Elderly Week” last October 1-7, a 74-year-old septuagenarian had a bizarre interpretation of the week-long celebration: he beat up his sister, who was celebrating her 77th birthday last October 5 in Brgy. Managuit, Dumangas, Iloilo.
The incident happened at around 6 a.m. inside the residence of Dr. Cecille D. Reade, 61, a British national and immigration consultant, who is the boss of victim Lourdes Dimzon-Lastimoso.
Dumangas police blotter report said the suspect, Dioscoro Dimzon, a resident of the same place, “mauled her (Lastimoso) by pulling her hair and tried to dislocate her fingers.”
Meanwhile, in his letter to the chief of the Dumangas District Hospital dated Oct. 7, Dumangas PNP officer-in-charge SP04 Godofredo D. Descaya, Jr. requested for a copy of the victim’s medico-legal certificate.
Journalist Edwin Alcozero, who saw Lastimoso, said the victim was “too frail to absorb any physical abuse.”
He also described Lastimoso’s attacker as “a bony and angry man who walks with the aid of a cane.”
“This is certainly a human interest story because the incident happened during the observance of the ‘Elderly Week’. To add insult, it happened in a municipality which was awarded several times for its peace and order. What more? The victim was celebrating her birthday,” Alcozero stressed.


The incident occurred after Dimzon reportedly suspected his sister, the eldest in their family, of rumor-mongering and for being a “liar.”
Dimzon reportedly did not deny he maltreated her sister.
“Ano abi kay ka butigon gid sa imo (You are a big liar),” Dimzon reportedly barked while pointing his finger at his sister while they were having a “conference” inside the office of Municipal Trial Court Judge Evelio Ylanga last October 7 also in Dumangas.
Dimzon was only restrained after Ylanga reportedly threatened to declare him in direct contempt.
Dimzon and his siblings reportedly resented the actuations of Lastimoso who is a stay-in helper in Reade’s household.


The altercation stemmed from a land dispute between Reade and Dimzon’s family which squats on the four-hectare lot owned by Reade’s parents.
Dimzon’s family is claiming ownership of the lot which they allegedly bought for only P10,000 from Reade’s father who is now deceased.
Reade has insisted that her family still owns the lot and that the original deed of sale is still in their possession.
Reade she said, does not wish to evict Dimzon’s family from the area but is in fact planning to develop the place and build a village for all of them “as a sign of goodwill.”
Dimzon’s family, however, is also planning to plant vegetables in a certain area covered by Reade’s proposed project.


Reade lamented that her “good and sincere” intention appeared to have been misinterpreted by Dimzon’s family.
To resolve the tension that gripped the area, Judge Ylanga advised both parties to observe a status quo until Reade has produced the original copy of the lot’s deed of sale which will be sent to the judge for safekeeping.
Reade, chairman of the Manila-based White Cliff Carer Training Centre Corporation, originally wanted the mauling incident booked in the police blotter “in order to prevent a similar case to happen in the future.” /MP


Traditionally, parents, relatives and friends influence career choices with scant regard for what the child actually wants. Left with no choice, children tend to follow, without consideration of the aptitude required and the demands of the career chosen.

Hoping to avoid this, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in cooperation with the Department of Education (DEPed) will administer nationwide the Assessment phase of the Youth Profiling for Starring Careers (YP4SC) in selected 299 Secondary Schools and 8 Science High Schools under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The activity aims to provide a unified and strengthened career guidance intervention to graduating high school students of SY 2005-2006, especially those about to enter post secondary studies.

The first phase of the YP4SC entails having the student assessed using some test instruments that will measure his aptitudes, interests and potential and other hidden talents and abilities.

With the results, a matching of the type of job that will best fit the student and where they would excel would be made. Thus students will now be able to invest wisely in the selection of career and avoid changing courses, resulting in savings of money, time and effort. Career selection will be an informed one, a decisive difference between failure and success in life.

A proactive matching process is important because the students will be able to seek the employment opportunities where they are, and when they are available. On the part of the employers, they would be able to find the right people for the right job or employment opportunity, the right people with the right education or training and for government to train or educate according to the requirements of the job market.

The assessment will be administered in the sample schools identified by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) from September 26 to October 7, 2005. The DepEd through its Division Offices will release results not later than December 31, 2005. (PIA6)

For Recklessly, Hastily and Illequally Disconnecting Power

Supply AKELCO Losses P211,767.50

By Ambrosio R. Villorente

“The court finds that the preponderance of evidence tilts in favor of the petitioner and judgment is hereby rendered ordering the respondent to pay petitioner: a) the sum of P5,000.00 as actual damages, b) the sum of P100,000.00 as moral damages, c) the sum of P30,000.00 as attorney’s fees, d) the sum of P75,000.00 as exemplary damages, and e) the sum of 1,767.50 for filing and docket fees, and cost of the suit.”
This is the decision of Hon. Dean R. Telan, presiding judge of Branch 9, Regional Trial Court, Kalibo, Aklan, on Civil Case No. 6850 with Ms. Helen Tilano, plaintiff versus AKELCO, represented by Mr. Erico O. Bucoy, defendant.
The case started after AKELCO cut off electric power connection to the house of Ms. Helen Tilano in Linabuan Sur, Banga, Aklan in the morning of May 20, 2003. At 9:00 o’clock in the morning. It was 9:00 o’clock in the morning that day, Tilano was at work in New Washington, Aklan when some employees of AKELCO arrived. They looked for Helen Tilano. Mona Gañaca, a niece and a neighbor of Tilano asked them why? The AKELCO employees then informed Gañaca that Tilano has not paid her electric bills for October to November 2002 and therefore they are there to cut off her supply of electricity. Gañaca told the AKELCO personnel to wait for Tilano but inspite of it, AKELCO personnel cut off the drop wire of Helen’s electricity. Before leaving, they told Gañaca to just tell Tilano to pay her bills in Banga AKELCO office.”
Tilano arrived in her house at 6:00 o’clock in the evening of that same day and found her electricity supply was cut-off. Gañaca informed her of what happened while she (Tilano) was out, that her electricity was cut off because she has not paid her October to November 2002 power bills.
Due to the disconnection, Tilano’s perishable goods and medicine stored inside her refrigerator valued at about P5,000.00 were damaged. She also felt embarrassed, shame and felt discomfort which if quantified in terms of money is valued about P125,000.00. She was also compelled to litigate and agreed to pay her legal counsel P50,000.00 as Attorney’s fees and spent P1,767.50 for filing and docket fees.
In the course of the hearing, AKELCO presented a “Disconnection Order“ dated May 20, 2003 issued by Alejandro Arceño, area supervisor of AKELCO, Banga, Aklan. The said order was given to Jesus Rivas on the same day who immediately implemented it as April 2003 bill of Ramon Tilano, father of the plaintiff Helen Tilano in whose name the house was registered, was not paid on its due date which was May 15 and so, they made the disconnection on May 20.
Moreover, defendant Bucoy pointed out that “the 10 days grace period granted to the consumer to pay as it appearing at the back side of the bill, starts from the receipt of the bill and not from its due date. Since the bill of Ramon Tilano must have been delivered to his house on April 29, 2003, the 10 day period would be until May 9 within which to pay the bill. Failing to pay it on or before May 9, respondent was well within its right to effect the disconnection on May 20, 2003. Petitioner paid the bill only on May 22, 2003.

In the testimonies of Mona Gañaca, she said the Akelco employees arrived in the morning of May 20 2003, looked for the electric meter of Helen Tilano and told her “they are going to cut off Tilano’s supply of electricity because she has not paid her electric bills for October to November 2002.”
While AKELCO admitted disconnection order was issued, it was not for the October to November 2002 power bills but for Helen Tilano’s failure to pay her April 2003 power bills.
It should be noted that Helen Tilano exhibited her receipt showing that she has fully paid her October to November 2002 power bills. But AKELCO showed the Disconnection Order dated May 17, 2003 showing that the two power bills of October to November 2002 and March 20 to April 21, 2003 were not yet paid and therefore the basis of disconnection.
Considering that the October to November 2002 was already paid, Bucoy maintained that the disconnection is for the failure to pay the March 20-April 21, 2003 bill. However, Tilano argued that even if she has not aid the March–April 2003 power bill, the disconnection was still illegal. She argued that the customer/member of respondent cooperative is granted a grace period of ten (10) days from the due date within which to settle their bills and the disconnection must be done with the presence of the petitioner. Hence, the disconnection done to her violated the cooperative policy.
Ttilano cited the notice to the “valued members” printed in Aklanon language at the back side of the power bill granting a period of ten (10) days to pay the bill. The notice does not say when will the 10 days start.
Bucoy interpreted the notice at the back of the power bill to start when the bill should have been delivered. Hence, the bill should have been paid on May 9 as it was delivered on April 29, 2003. AKELCO could have cut off electricity on May 10, 2003.
But Tilano found this AKELCO interpretation absurd. She believes that the 10 day grace period must start from the due day of the bill which is May 15, hence the 10 day grace period started on May 16 up to May 25. AKELCO could not cut off electricity before May 25. The disconnection done on May 20, 2003 was premature and illegal as the due date was May 15. May 16 to May 20 is not 10 days but five (5) days only.
Hon. Dean R. Telan, in his decision dated September 16, 2005 wrote: it appearing now…the respondent had no legal right or authority whatsoever to cut off petitioner’s supply of electricity, the disconnection made by them is already illegal.., it should be made to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful act of the respondent.”
Hence, AKELCO through Mr. Erico O. Bucoy, “in order to deter others of similar ilk and bent in recklessly, hastily and illegally cutting off the supply of electricity to the public …must be made to pay exemplary damages in the amount prayed for.” /MP

DAR-Aklan Sues Digitel Mobile Phils

For Illegal Land Conversion

By Recto I. Vidal

The members of the Department of Agrarian Reform's (DAR) provincial task force on land Illegal Conversion filed a joint complaint affidavit before the Provincial Prosecutor's office against a telecommunications giant for the illegal construction of a 15 meter-high cellular tower within the premises of an irrigated ricefield at Barangay Tigayon, Kalibo, Aklan without a land conversion order or an application for conversion with the DAR provincial office, Kalibo.
The said complaint dated September 30, 2005, was endorsed to the Provincial Prosecutor's office for its appropriate action by lawyer Daniel Y. Martelino, in his capacity as Provincial Agrarian Reform officer II. The complaint was prepared by lawyer Carol Morales, chief of the legal division of DAR-Aklan. According to her, the Digitel Mobile Philippines was found to have constructed a cellular tower within an agricultural land without securing an application and conversion order from the DAR office Kalibo in violation of Sec. 65 and 73 of RA 6657 on the illegal conversion of agricultural lands for industrial use which under the law is prohibited.
Named respondents on the five (5) page complaint are land developer Sarah Lobaton, Site Acquisition Permitting Officer of the LPT Site Acquisition Experts; landowner Emilia Rogar of Barangay Tigayon; and the officer in charge/manager of Digitel Mobile Philipinnes being the lessor.
This complaint developed after concerned citizens of Barangay Tigayon, through their lawyer Efren Santos, filed a letter complaint against the respondents for illegal lang conversion on October 22, 2004 before the DAR office after they noted "development activities" inside a 270 square meter ricefield situated near the irrigation canal of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
In said complaint, the residents raised concerns regarding health, environment and adverse effects arising from said land conversion. Said land has been classified by DAR-Aklan as "prime agricultural land being an irrigated riceland. Certification from the Office of the Municipal Agrarian Officer of Kalibo states that said land is an irrigated rice land. Furthermore, the National Irrigation Administration in Aklan also certified that the lot concerned was irrigated since 1979 but its "service was stopped when the building and the tower of Sun Cellular was erected on its property."
"Conversion of irrigated ricelands for industrial purposes is simply non-negotiable. Any application for conversion clearance that will be made in our office will only be denied. Only the President of the Philippines can approve such conversion," said lawyer Carol Morales, legal division chief of DAR-Aklan.
Morales told the MP that Digitel is renting the property from respondent Emilia Rogar according to a report and findings made by the legal officer dated Nov. 23, 2004. /MP

Aklan Agriculture, Fishery Sectors Performance Improve

Things look good for the agriculture and fishery sectors in the province of Aklan.
For the first half of 2005, agriculture posted a 3.07 percent growth. The preliminary report submitted by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) Kalibo, Aklan for exhibit at the Provincial Capitol lobby reveal. The exhibit is part of Aklan’s celebration of National Statistics Month this October.
According to the report, agriculture grossed P2.43 billion at current prices, up by 13.73 percent from the previous year’s level.
The crops subsector grew by 3.05 percent. The biggest performer for the period is abaca, followed by camote which posted a record of 77.02 percent and 33.78 percent respectively. Large production gains were attained from mango, cassava and banana. The subsector grossed P1.51 billion at current prices corresponding to an 8.92 percent growth.
Livestocks, on the other hand, increased by 8.46 percent. All livestocks types registered output increases. The gross value of production for the period was estimated at P364.4 million at current prices or 20.07 percent higher than last year’s record.
This year, the poultry subsector expanded by 39.54 percent. Chicken farm productions continued to grow while chicken eggs recorded a significant increase of 4.70 percent. Poultry grossed P204.4 million at current prices or 40.71 percent increment from last year’s level.
The fishery sector grew by 7.15 percent. The growth is contributed by output increases in all types of fishery like municipal, commercial and aquaculture. The subsector’s gross output is valued at P349.2 million at current prices representing a 16.51 percent improvement over that of last year.
Manuelito Delegencia, BAS-Aklan’s Officer-In-Charge, said the office will also be releasing before year-end the consolidated report of the total output performance of agriculture and fisheries sector of Aklan.
This year’s theme of the National Statistics Month celebration focuses on agriculture and fishery modernization. /PIA