Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Entrepreneurial Farmerby Ambrosio R. Villorente

Are Vocational Schools In Aklan Effective?
As mandated by Republic Act 10618, known as the Rural Farm Schools Act, the DepEd will establish one (1) rural farm school each in 81 provinces of the Philippines beginning this year. The Implementing Rules and Regulations is already approved. This law will enable the DepEd to hire new teachers who will handle subjects related to farming and fishing. This farm school is another delivery mode of secondary education where more students will be able to study agriculture hands on since classes will be held in farming and fishing communities.

The tuition and the school fees for public farm schools shall be free, while only minimal tuition and other fees for private farm schools shall be imposed.

As of today, there are 11 farm schools in the Philippines. These are found in the provinces of Aurora, Rizal, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Lanao Del Norte, Leyte, Iloilo, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Camarines Sur and Tacloban City.

Aklan used to have a farm school, the Capiz Farm School, located in Banga. However, it was converted into a state college and finally Aklan State University. The convertion of Banga Rural High School into ASU made its principal mandate in agriculture relegated to the back while ASU authorities give more emphasis to other courses where the private sector is strong. ASU appears to promote strongly degrees in  criminology and nursing.
On the other hand, Aklan is lucky for having Libacao School of Forestry located in Libacao, Aklan.

This is the only one in the Philippines. Aklan has also the Philippines Craftsman in Malinao, the only one in the Philippines, and Aklan has also the Numancia School of Fisheries in Brgy. Albasan, Numancia. As far as education institutions are concerned, Aklan has all kinds of education institutions.

ASU Ibajay Campus addresses rural development, ASU New Washington is for fishery development, ASU Makato is for teacher education and ASU Kalibo addresses various academic disciplines such as engineering and architecture. Looking at the present situation, Aklanons possess and are available to them all the disciplines in human resources development.

But for one thing, why is it that in Aklan, the poorest of the poor belongs to the farm and fishing sectors? With the outcome of the teaching in ASU in all campuses, its policy, programs, projects, and activities must be reviewed with the end in view to adjust them, so its graduates in fisheries and agriculture will become leaders in the fishing and farming industries.

Where will the DepEd locate the Farm School in Aklan? The municipalities of Kalibo, New Washington, Libacao, Banga, Malinao, Ibajay, Numancia have their respective technical vocational school. Even the farthest town, Buruanga has its Buruanga Vocational High School.

Nabas as I view it appears to be the best location of a farm school in Aklan. It has no public high school in the Poblacion, but a private school, Western Aklan Academy. Nabas has wide vacant fertile lands where graduates of secondary agriculture can develop into food basket like fruits and vegetables, livestock and poultry. Nabas is very near and accessible to food market, Boracay Island.
The road construction in Lezo, Aklan has destroyed the irrigation system. The road construction is impeding the flow of water to the rice paddies in Numancia, and Makato. While it is good for the visitors visiting Aklan, it is bad for the Aklanon farmers and consumers. The lack of water in those stated riceland areas will greatly reduce rice production and income of the farmers. It will also increase the price of rice which is likewise bad to the consumers.
Pathetic State
The internet speed in the Philippines is in a “pathetic state”, Senator Chiz Escudero pointed out. The current situation in the Philippines is “unacceptable”, said Escudero.

I agree with Senator Escudero. The state of internet speed is pathetic and this situation deserves immediate attention of the Department of Transportation and Communication, specifically the National Telecommunication Commission.

Yesterday, August 14, 2015, I was invited to attend a luncheon meeting in Kalibo. The invitation was relayed to me via a text message sent at 9:33 in the morning. The texter was in Kalibo; the meeting was held in Kalibo; and I received a text message at 3:37 in the afternoon, six hours after the text message was sent. I missed the luncheon meeting where important business matters were discussed.

Sen. Escudero suggested,“the government must crack the whip on our telecommunication companies”.

These Telecommunication companies have been telling their shareholders they are earning billions of pesos but they forget their billions of subscribers all over the Philippines./MP

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