Tuesday, June 07, 2016


By: Megs S. Lunn

     “Everybody needs to forgive somebody.  Our willingness to give and forgive often reveals the depth, or limitations of our Christianity.” – Matthew Kelly
     I am sure anyone of you will agree that it is the most radical love ever, that God died for our sins.  The cross is the greatest manifestation of that radical love.
     When Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 18:21, “How many times shall I forgive 
someone who has sinned against me? Not seven times, but seventy times seven times.”
Now, that is too radical for us to fathom. There have been so many stories about generosity and forgiveness.  You and I have experienced it.  Either it benefited us or the other.  How does it feel to forgive someone that wronged you?  I tell you, even before they commit to that wrong doing, it is a  radical love already to forgive that person.  “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Do you believe in good karma?  I had this “Good Karma” column before, but good karma keeps coming, thanks God for keeping me on the ground!  Just a few weeks ago, I was just tempted to face someone who just did me wrong.  However, I consoled myself to stay calm and uttered the words, “Lord, forgive me for being impatient and control my temper not to get angry to this person.”  For days, I keep thinking about that person, not that I hated him for doing it behind my back, I don’t care about his presumptions of me because I do believed that everyone is entitled to his own opinion. 
   But I am the kind of person who can confront someone for the sake of peace.  Surprisingly, I got a call from the person just recently and he came up to me for help.  To cut the story short, he was served with what he needed and I have never confronted him.  He was forgiven before he even said a thing, I just so wish he knew what he did and the kindness extended to him, he can pay it forward.  To forgive and be generous is a radical love, you do not expect something in return
  Radical?  Yes.  But truly it can be done.  Nobody’s perfect, I know.  We still are learning to put in action the commandment of God, “Love your enemies.”  The hardest part is that, God is asking us, “When was the last time we prayed for our enemies?” Absurd?  Ha ha, don’t worry, you are not alone.  But again, yes, it can be done, too.  Try it.  Practice it.  For there can be no peace without forgiveness.
     As the Bible Scholars would say, “When we choose not to forgive and be generous, we turn our backs from God.”  The soul of the gospel is forgiveness and generosity.  “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)
     Let us pray.  Teach us, Jesus, to be generous with our forgiveness. Amen./MP



This Wednesday, Tunay na Buhay features the life of Kapuso actress Jaclyn Jose.
     A seasoned actress on television and film, Jaclyn has recently earned the nod of the world when she was awarded Best Actress in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France.  The mother of young actress Andi Eigenmann won for her portrayal in “Ma’ Rosa”, a film by award winning director Brillante Mendoza.
     Join Rhea Santos as she discovers the story of Jaclyn’s life and current success this Wednesday night on Tunay na Buhay, after Saksi on GMA 7.


One month before he leaves his post as chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Sec. Proceso J. Alcala, visited Iloilo.  He discussed with various stakeholders some significant changes attained in the agriculture and fishery sector for the last six years.
     The forum was attended by more than 700 employees of DA, Regional Management Committee Members, farmers and fisher folks of Region 6.  These include the seven (7)  farmers and farmer leaders who shared how they were able to benefit from the programs and projects of the DA under Alcala’s leadership.  They cited the interventions they availed from DA which have significantly contributed to the overall increase of their farm production and net income.
     “I will be leaving the Department after 30 days, but I am confident now after hearing the testimonies of our farmers and farmer leaders that they have developed confidence as leaders because  we have trusted them as our partners towards rural development,” said Alcala.
     Alcala mentioned that during his term as DA secretary, farmers and fisher folks were given special importance.  They were sent to various technical seminars and workshops that helped them learn advanced science and technologies on farming and fisheries.
     Moreover, he enumerated several projects of the DA which highlighted the government’s priority of food production.  For the first time, all provinces now have seed bufferstocking as one way to prepare for any shortage on rice and seeds during the occurrence of natural calamities.
     Meanwhile, the DA seeks to lower the farmers’ production cost, minimize postharvest losses, and improve quality of produce, the reasons why Alcala initiated Farm Service Provider (FSP) program in 2012.  Macabitu Irrigator’s Association in Oton, Iloilo is actually one of the said programs implemented nationwide.
     There are a total of 20 FSP groups in Region 6 since then.  Alcala encouraged them to set aside funds for the maintenance of the equipment and for procurement of additional machinery in the future.  The utilization of modernized farm equipment such as the rice combine harvester is essential particularly during extreme weather conditions.
     He also urged farmers to continue their practice of multi-cropping or integrated farming.  He cited that local farmers who plant rice and vegetables should also raise native chicken and swine in their backyard.
     “Napakataas po ng demand ng native na baboy at manok.  To note, Iloilo has already overtook other areas in the production of native chicken and swine,” Alcala added.
     The DA with the help of its attached bureaus and other line agencies have successfully crafted and implemented mitigation and adaptation plans on El Nino.

   “In 2015, we predicted 972, 000 metric tons (MT) damage of rice production due to El Nino.  But with all the necessary DA preparations, we only have a total of 235, 000 MT damage on palay tallied to date,” he explained.
     Although, DA failed to achieve 100 percent rice self-sufficiency in 2013, the country has achieved the highest production of rice in 2014 with 18.98 million MT.  Aside from that, white corn consumption has also improved from 7 kilograms per capita consumption in 2010 to 10.72 kilograms per capita in 2015.  The Department pushes for the continued production of white corn nationwide since it is one of the Philippines’ food staples, and distributes units of corn mill to different corn growers associations.
     “Pakiusap ko po sa inyo huwag ninyo pong ikumpara ang darating na administrasyon sa ating pinagsamahan.  Mayroon po tayong nagawang maayos, mayroon din pong hindi.  Ngunit imungkahi ninyo po sa susunod na administrasyon ang mga maayos na programang ating nasimulan,” Alcala pleaded.
     DA RFO 6 Regional Executive Director Larry Nacionales thanked Alcala for bringing significant number of agri-fishery projects in Western Visayas which had helped in attaining 4.9 percent increase in the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) last year whereby agriculture and fishery sector has contributed 21.9 percent to that increase.
     Director Nacionales also cited that Alcala is the only cabinet secretary who visited and convened with farmers and fisher folks of 82 provinces of the country and has championed significant developments in the agri-fishery sector.
     Since 2010, DA has constructed a total of 323.02 kilometers of farm-to-market roads in Region 6 which has eased the transportation and access to development by around 244, 366 beneficiaries.  It has also funded Php 944.77 million worth of farm machinery and post harvest facilities including warehouses, storage facilities and rice processing centers.  In addition to that, a total of 419 small-scale irrigation facilities, 14 agricultural tramline systems, 43 barangay and municipal food terminals, 46 livestock “oksyon” markets, six (6) double “A” slaughterhouse projects were delivered./MP



The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed the statement of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies sending a strong message to China on the territorial disputes in Asia.

     In its statement, the DFA said that the G7 declaration supports the stance of the Philippine government in seeking a peaceful resolution of its territorial dispute with China through arbitration.
     The Philippine government also said that it will respect the outcome of the arbitration process that it started in 2013.

     “The Philippines welcomes the statement as it underlines the G7’s abiding commitment to support efforts to peacefully manage and settle the disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with the UN (United Nations) Convention on the Law of the Sea, through mechanisms recognized by international law, including legal procedures such as arbitration, the statement reads.
     The G7 declaration is said to be consistent with the international community’s support for the Philippines’ “principled and rules-based approach for addressing disputes” in the South China Sea, the DFA added.
     In an interview over state-run radio DZRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. rejected allegations that the United States is meddling in the arbitral process started by the Philippines.

     The Palace official also assured that the US is not taking sides on the matter.
     “Sa lahat ng ating nasasaksihan, wala naman tayong nakikitang patunay sa alegasyong iyan sa pag lahok ng Pilipinas sa mga international meetings katulad ng ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) at iyong US-ASEAN Special Summit na ipinatawag ni  President Obama noong nakaraang Pebrero.”
(As we are witnessing, there is no truth to that allegation about the Philippines’ participation in international meetings like ASEAN, APEC and US-ASEAN Special Summit called by President Obama last February.)
     “Malinaw naman iyong pagpapahayag ng posisyon ng Estados Unidos na ang kanilang kinakatigan ay iyong mga prinsipyong tinalakay natin kanina iyong kahalagahan sa paggalang sa rule of law, kasama na diyan iyong batas na sumasaklaw sa mga karagatan o iyong UNCLOS,” Coloma said during the interview on Sunday.
      (The United States’ position is clear that they are in favor of the principles we have discussed earlier, the importance of respecting the rule of law, including the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.)

     China’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Wu Ken, said in an earlier Xinhua report that the arbitration case filed by the Philippines in The Hague is a “legal monstrosity and reeks of hegemony from Washington.”/MP



By: James Earl E. Ogatis

    The Department of Argriculture (DA) 6 convened Local Government Unit Livestock technicians and stakeholders in Western Visayas to update and set new directions for the control on Newcastle Diseases (ND) and Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) here in Iloilo City on March 25, 2016.

         Dir. Larry P. Nacionales, DA 6 Regional Executive  Director said that the poultry and livestock sector must be updated with the  pronouncement on policy direction of the incoming new administration.

     “We should align our directions towards the three point agenda of intensified technology transfer through School on the Air, affordability and availability of foods and market linkages,” said Nacionales.

         He added that poultry and livestock sector face a lot of challenges not only on the production but also on prices on feeds, drugs and biologics and marketing.
     Despite of these factors, WV contributes significantly in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year being number one in goat inventory, native chicken and carabao, number three in swine and number four in poultry (broiler).

     Nacionales stressed the importance of economics in the agriculture industry wherein value chain, cost structure, price, margins and return of investment were good references in making sound decisions.

     Meanwhile, Dr. Peter S. Sobrevega, Regional Technical Director for research and regulation said that proper laboratory diagnosis of sick animal is vital in correct prescription and administration of drugs.

     Sobrevega added that biosecurity and safety measures, hygiene and sanitation and timely vaccination are important in controlling Newcastle Disease, Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis (CAE) and other economically important diseases.

     Other topics discussed were: Newcastle diseases virus updates delivered by Dr. Roanna Zerla E. Palma, DVM; Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) updates by Dr. Kenneth F. Chua, DVM; latest information from DA 6 livestock and poultry sector by Gareth Bayate and services of Regulatory Division by Dr. Jonic F. Natividad, DVM./MP

ENTREPRENEURIAL FARMER - K-12 Education Program Starts this Year

K-12 Education Program  Starts this Year

      On June 13, the Philippine Public Schools system will open its doors to both new and old students.  This time, it will follow the new program: K-12.  Qualified private schools will also open its doors to basic education students.

     Unlike the previous, the number of years to graduate high school is increased from 10 year to 12 years.  The child will start in Kindergarten and finish Grade VI.  He/she continues to Grade VII or Junior High School and proceed to Senior High School (SHS) and then continue studying for another two years to finish his secondary education.  However, if the child wishes to look for a job after completing Junior High School, he can enroll at the vocational technical course of his choice.  Those who graduated from the SHS can proceed to college.

     This school year 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, there will be no enrollment in the first year college as the first graduate of the K-12 Curriculum will be in March 2018.  However, those students who graduated high school before April 2016 may enroll in the first year college in school which will open for first year college.
     K-12 Program is a strategic move by the government to ensure the production of competent graduates who are highly skilled to put up and manage businesses and very employable work personnel.

     Kindergarten is a prerequisite to K-12 basic education.  It will adversely affect an estimated 13,600 teachers and 1,400 non-teaching staff in the higher education institutions as they may loss their jobs due to lack of enrollees in the first year college.
     For one thing, the new curriculum needs additional 30, 000 new classrooms, 30 000 new teachers and 6,000 non-teaching staff.  Nevertheless, private sector has shown interest and support to the K-12 program.  Makati Business Club, Philippine Business for Education, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines have been supporting the k-12 Program which covers Kindergarten, six (6) year Primary Education, four (4) years of Jr. High School and two (2) years Sr. High School.

     The K-12 is designed to provide solution to the widespread unemployment among young Filipinos and respond to the needs of some 30 million young Filipinos ages below 24 years old.  The TESDA will issue National Certificates after completion of a vocational/technical course at the high school level to assist the six (6) million unemployed by providing the needed skills employers require.  The SHS curriculum will enable higher education institutions to focus on specifics of their degree offerings instead of consuming time to remedy the inadequate competence of graduates of the previous 10-year basic education program.

     The adaption of K-12 will increase the students’ population which will require 66, 800 classrooms, 39, 000 additional teachers, textbooks, furniture, and for other needs.

   Moreover, K-12 is designed to catch up with the international standard of education.  Above all, the program will produce graduates who are loving, loyal, patriotic and whose interest is for the best of the Philippines and for the Filipinos./MP

Monday, March 21, 2016



    Indi baea masakit batyagon nga ikaw ro nagpatay sa imong ina? Gin palangga ka nana ag gin haead ro anang kabuhi agud ikaw hay mangin tawo.

  Ilo eon si Abel sa edad nga 12 años. Imaw ro nagabuhi sa anang kaugalingon paagi sa pag pueot ag pag baligya it plastic ag dyaryo. Gin aywan sanda ko andang ama nga hanangda sa sugae ag inom. Perme nana nga ginasakit ro anang asawa kon owa it ita-o nga kwarta. Nakikita ni Abel ro pagsakit sa anang ina. “Amat-amat mo nga ginapatay si nanay.” Rondaya ro ana nga ginasanbit sa duro nga kaakig sa anang ama.

  Bangod sa kahugod ko anang ina, gin patun-an nana ro anang kamagueangan nga unga nga si Kardo.Tanan rong anang kinitaan sa pag labada ag pagbaligya it isda hay anang ginapadaea kay Kardo sa syudad. 


Makataliwan ro sang dag-on, nag-uli si Kardo nga maniwang ag mahaba rong buhok ag balbas. Nagumon sa aeak ag sugae si Kardo. Duro gid ro kaakig ni Abel sa anang magueang. Samtang sanda hay nagati-is nga owa haeos it maka-on, hayra si Kardo nagpasasa sa anang kaugalingon halin sa hugod ko anang ina. Nagdugang rong ka-akig ni Abel. “Ikaw rong amat-amat nga gapatay kay nanay.” Raya eon man ro anang gina balik-balik.

 Kat indi eon nana mapunggan ro anang kaakig, nabuytan nana rong tukeang it bintana ag gin eampos kay Kardo. Natama-an sa ueo si Kardo ag nalipong. Abo nga dugo rong nagguwa. Pagkakita ko anang ina, inatake imaw sa tagipusu-on ag natumba. Owa it mahimo si Abel kundi magpatabang. Gindaea ro anang ina ag si Kardo sa ospital ogaling owa nasalbar ro anang ina. Nabuhi si Kardo apang indi eon nana maibalik ro kabuhi ko anang ina.

    Samtang si Abel hay sige ro anang sininggit. “Ikaw ro nagpatay kay nanay.” Gindaea sa mental ospital si Abel. Sa sige nga pagbueong ag pagtatap ni Kardo, amat-amat nga naduea ro pagsininggit ni Abel. Hakita nana ro pag bag-o ko anang magueang. Ha-umpawan si Abel ag nakaguwa imaw sa ospital. Nag usoy it trabaho si Kardo samtang nagbalik sa pagbaligya it plastic ag dyaryo si Abel. Gin eobong sa lipat ni Abel rong tanan. Nakamaeas-mas man imaw nga may parte man imaw sa kamatayon ko anang ina bangod sa anang kaakig. Kon nagpa ino-ino imaw it maeawig, basi buhi pa makaron ro anang ina.

  Kon amat may naga-abot sa atong kabuhi nga imaw ro naga pabag-o kong tanan. Kabuhi ko anang ina ro gin baylo para sa pag bag-o ni Kardo ag ni Abel./MP

AKLAN IN 2015*
    *AKLAN IN 2015 is the State of the Province Address of Aklan Provincial Governor Florencio T. Miraflores during the Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan held on February 3, 2016 at the SP Session Hall, Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan. (Second of 5 parts)

    My dear Aklan province employees, if the National Government knows how to reward the Local Government units for excellent performance, we also know how to reward our own.  
    Dahil sa inyong pagtinguha nga magtrabaho it husto, ku nagtaliwan nga dag-on, rong productivity enhancement incentive hay gin baton ninyo.
    Ginpasundan pa gid naton it dugang nga cash incentive nga ku nagtaliwan nga disyembre hay hatao sa kada empleyado.
    Abu gid saeamat sa atong mga mahugod nga empleyado, ag sa atong opisyal nga pamilya sa administrasyon it probinsya.
    May we continue exuding good governance practices while providing better public service.
    Hard work in government should be perpetual.
Currently, our total number of Provincial Government Employees is 2,759.
Human Resource Development for such a number is a big challenge.
    But such gartantuan task is just a necessary consequence of a growing province.
    So let us not spend time limiting our challenges and move on to business by challenging our limits.
    With the Provincial Human Resource Management Office on the lead, let us continue to strengthen our strategic Performance Management System. 
    The Office and individual performance commitment and review (OPCR/IPCR) of every department and personnel should be clear and on point.
    If our best resource has clear office targets and complete grasp of their functions and contributions year after year, all I can foresee are smiles from our constituency.
    Talking about making our constituency happy, I have my eyes and ears set at our  front-liners especially those that directly deal with our indigents.
    Yes, I have received reports and heard testimonies.
    Nagakasubo ako kon makabati nga may kliyente kita eabi gid do mga pobre natong igmanghod nga naga-reklamo nga ku-eang  ro atong pagtatap kanda eabi gid sa atong mga ospital.
    Let us be extra-sensitive to them however toxic our working situation may be.
    Some of them may scream or swear, some may just be too annoying to bear.
    If I, your Governor, can keep my calm amidst the daily stress that comes my way in and out of the office, so should you.
    Do remember that all of you are an extension of me.
    Let us do what we swore to do and continue to care.
    We will finalize the Human Resource Development plan for health.
    We don’t primarily seek recognition to be the first province to develop such a plan but if this successfully leads to quality health care for our people, then our sense of fulfilment and their appreciation are enough reward.
    I’m pleased to share that our PHRMO’s innovation and collaborative effort with the Philippines Australia Human Resource and Organizational Development facility paved the way for the operation of the provincial government’s pool of facilitators.
    As the only province equipped with such resource, we need not go far or outsource trainors for our learning and development programs.
    Last year I talked about our “Smallness” in terms of political value was not a hindrance to us rubbing elbows with big-league provinces.
    Last January 20, 2016, in ostentatious fashion, we made it again in the National News.
    How can it be denied when the name of our province is placed first out of 81 provinces in terms of generating locally sourced revenues in 2014?
    The figures 492.9 million pesos of locally sourced income as to the annual regular income of 1.1 billion pesos or 42.4 percent is a result of years of careful planning and hard work.
    We took inspiration from the belief that only if we maximize our own revenue generation capacity, we will have more to spend on basic services for our people.
    Our small province Northwest of Panay has etched its name as a major contributor in nation building due to our self-sufficiency.
    Aklan has been true to the mandate expressed under section 3 of Republic Act 7160, or the local government code. The local government units “Have the Power to Create and Broaden Their Own Sources of Revenue.”
    Our successful but never-ending quest for self-reliance reinforces the essence of local autonomy.
    The Department of Finance no longer puts us in the same level as big provinces whose allocations from the National Government still continue to account for the bulk of their annual regular income.
    Alongside revenue generation is collection.
    I’m elated to report that last December 3, 2015, our Provincial Treasurer’s office was awarded as the Most Outstanding Provincial Treasury Office for Calendar Year 2014 in the whole region with 97.5 percent rating by the Bureau of Local Government Finance.
    Besting the 2013 second place ranking, our Aklan PTO’S Fund Management Performance is an illustration of our see page 4
sustained commitment to fund management excellence.
    This commitment in concrete terms is demonstrated in our implemention of the Enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System (ETRACS), a technology which will upgrade the tax revenue collections and other business transactions of the province leading to efficiency and transparency.
    It is also worth mentioning that our treasury office is one of the best 5S implementers among the provincial treasury offices in the region.
    Congratulations Provincial Treasurer’s office and Ms. Suzette Pioquid!
    Our Provincial Assessor’s Office was able to process 5,367 real property units for 2015 translating to 20.7 million pesos of income.
    We have successfully conducted the appraisal and assessment operation on all real properties in the island of Boracay.
    This will generate 17.7 million pesos of additional tax for our coffers.
    Likewise, we have also prioritized the encoding for real property units for ETRACS covering the whole province.

    Our budget theme for this year is “Strategic Budgeting Towards Sustainable Economic Growth, Transparent and Accountable Governance and Disaster Preparedness for Aklan”. ( To be continued next issue)./MP


    A Chinese Coast Guards aboard rubber boats rammed and damaged a fishing boat with 11 Filipino fishermen fishing at Panatag Shoal recently. The incident is a move that will surely heighten tension between China and the Philippines in the hotly disputed South Philippine Sea.
     The fishermen arrived in their home port in Subic, Zambales after almost a half month fishing expedition. According to them, they were fishing near the Panatag Shoal when they were driven away by the Chinese Coast Guards for two times in two days.
To recall, China seized the Panatag Shoal from the Philippines after a 2-month standoff between Chinese and Philippines vessels in 2012. Since then, the Chinese cordoned off the Shoal, driving away Pilipino fishermen from their traditional fishing ground from time to time.
     Since the Philippines cannot match the Chinese Military power to retake the Shoal, the Philippines filed a case in the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in January 2013. The Philippines petitioned the International Tribunal to invalidate China’s claim to almost all of the South Philippine Sea. 
The Philippines’ filing of the case in the International Court angered China. So that China started to construct artificial islands in the South Philippine Sea to strengthen her claim of the strategic waterway.
    The rulling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected to be released this year, 2016. China has started activities at Panatag Shoal. Such Chinese activities were detected by the United States.
Adm. John Richardson of the US Naval Operations reported that the Chinese activity at Panatag is of utmost concern. The rulling on the case in favor of the Philippines  may trigger China to declare an exclusive zone in the South Philippine Sea.
Junmar Pumicpic, a 25 years old captain of the fishing boat, FB Bubhoy said they were fishing near the Shoal one morning when the Chinese Coast Guards arrived, rammed and damaged their fishing boat. The Chinese Coast Guards drove them away.
According to Pumicpic, “one of the Chinese rubber boats carried three men in uniform who approached them and told them in English and leave.” The Chinese Coast Guards told them : “This is China Coast Guard. Go back to Subic.” 
Pumicpic was surprised why the Chinese knew they were from Subic. After telling them to leave the place, the Chinese Coast Guards returned to the Shoal. The Pilipino fishermen lingered and continued fishing. 
    But after a few minutes, the Chinese Coast Guards returned and rammed their fishing boat several times, according to Pumicpic. The boat held, but it was damaged in the ramming, added Pumicpic.
Reynante Caitum, another member in the fishing trip reported that the Chinese Coast Guards engaged them in a “tug of war”.           According to Caitum, the Chinese pulled the rope tied to a small boat that was aboard the fishing vessel. The Chinese wanted to get their service boat, but the fishermen resisted. So the fishermen lifted their anchor and pulled away to save their lives.
Panatag Shoal is located 230 kilometers away from Masinloc, Zambales. It is well within the 370 kilometers Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. It is also known to residents of Masinloc as Bajo de Masinloc.
    The fishermen just continued fishing. However, the Chinese Coast Guards came back and drove the Pilipino fishermen away with their shining, blinding laser devices and powerful lights on them.
Until some seven (7) years ago, it was a Pilipino Coast Guards who drove away fishermen from foreign countries inlcuding Chinese fishing in the South Philippine Sea. The situation is now reversed. Today, the Chinese drive away Pilipino fishermen from that traditional Pilipino fishing ground. How can we regain that right from the Chinese? How can we ilicit respect from the foreigners, particularly the Chinese?
    Can we do it by seeking assistance from our allies like the United States of America and Japan? Just recently, the Philippines has signed an agreement with the US on the use of five Pilipino bases. They are Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, Cebu; Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City; Basa Air Base, Pampanga; Lumbia Air Base, Cagayan de Oro City; and Antonio Bautista Air Base, Puerto Princesa City. Japan has also pledged military assistance to the Philippines to improve her defenses./MP 


    Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. this week expressed his opposition to the merger of the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) saying it will further prejudice the Philippines’ farming sector.
    In an interview over Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN) in Cebu City, Marcos said merger will deprive farmers of an agricultural bank that is mandated to serve their needs.
    “Sa pautang we also have to think very hard about this Land Bank and DBP merger kasi kapag nag-merge na iyan, it will be a commercial bank. Wala na tayong bangko na talagang naka-tugon sa pangangailangan ng farmers,” he said.
    President Benigno Aquino III signed last February Executive Order No. 198 merging the two banks. With the merger, Land Bank will become the second biggest lender in terms of assets.
    Marcos stated that under the present conditions, farmers find it difficult if not impossible to obtain credit from banks and other financial institutions and depriving them of a bank created specifically to address their needs will further worsen their condition.
   Land Bank has claimed to be the “biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishermen, local government units, and the biggest lender to microenterprise and SMEs among government financial institutions.”
    DBP on the other hand is tasked “to provide banking services principally to cater to the medium and long-term needs of agricultural and industrial enterprises with emphasis on small and medium-scale industries.”
    Banking experts have also expressed apprehension over the merger because Land Bank, having formidable assets, is expected to be aggressive in its expansion efforts and may just focus on profit-oriented initiatives that may jeopardize the small sectors like farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries.
    House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. also expressed surprise over the merger saying Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima should explain why he pushed for it through an executive order rather than a law passed by Congress. 
   It must remem-bered that LBP was originally organized to provide loans to agrarian reform beneficiaries under RA 3844 or the Agrarian Reform Code. However in 1986, LBP was transformed or converted into a Commercial Bank.   As a result, the purpose for which LBP was put up was defeated. It deprived the small farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries from availing of a liberal credit source and deprived small farmers loans at comparatively cheaper interest rate./MP

NWNCHS stude wins in NFOT 2016

by: Marvin R. Parman

    Aklan’s pride, SIMON NATHANIEL REPIEDAD LAGUNA, a Grade VIII student of New Washington National Comprehensive High School (NWNCHS) ranks 3rd place in Most Enterprising Award in Bazaar Exhibit – Service Category (Photo Booth) in the recently concluded  2016 National Festival of Talents.
   National Festival of Talents (NFOT) held in Lagao Gym, General Santos City. Laguna represented Region VI after winning in the Regional Competition held in Victorias National High School, Victorias City, Negros Occidental on January 28- 31, 2016.
    “I am very fortunate, being part of this spectacular display of talents and skills, because it develops my skills and boosts my self- esteem. Above all, the good experiences and camaraderie among participants were worth remembering” Laguna confided.
    The 2016 National Festival of Talents (NFOT) conducted Technolympics to showcase the products of different regions of the Philippines and to promote the talents and skills of students in producing livelihood and developing entrepreneurship. This year’s theme is: “Artistry, at its Best by Harmonizing Talents: Maximizing Skills.”
    Laguna was accompanied by his coaches: Mrs. Lerma R. Saballero and  Mr. John Aljay P. Traje, and with Mr. Marvin R. Parman as his adviser./MP


Ordains New Deacons

by: Mark Anthony D. Leyson

    The newly Ordained Deacon, Rev. Kent Karlo Z. Villorente and Rev. Eubert T. Sarabia.

    “I did not come to be served, but to serve.”Mt. 20:28. With gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord God Almighty the Diocese of Kalibo together with the Sto. Niño Seminary, Numancia, Aklan, and the St. Joseph Regional Seminary community in Roxas City are happy to congratulate the newly ordained deacons of our Diocese of Kalibo.
    Rev. Eubert Tagaca Sarabia from the Parish of St. Jude Thaddeus Church, Andagao, Kalibo and Rev. Kent Karlo Zausa Villorente from St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Libacao, Aklan to the St. John the Baptist Cathedral Kalibo, Aklan, solemnized by His Excellency, Most Rev. Jose Corazon T. Tala-oc, D.D Bishop of Kalibo. With their family, friends, benefactors, diocesan priest, lay and with different religious congregation, Rev. Kent and Rev. Eubert request all the parishioners to pray for them for their holy and spiritual perseverance for priesthood.MP

Aklan Mentor 

Outstanding School Paper Adviser 2016

by: Mary Minepher N. Bontogon

    He contributed significantly to the advancement of campus journalism in accordance with Republic Act 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991. School paper adviser, Mr. Dennis E. Bontogon was chosen as an Outstanding School Paper Adviser of the Philippines 2016.

    The award was bestowed upon Mr. Bontogan by the Department of Education in collaboration with the Philippine Association of Elementary Campus Paper Advisers (PAECPA) during the 2016 National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Region XII.

    Signed by DepEd Secretary Armin A. Luistro, FSC, signed the Plaque of Merit states:

    “For exemplary performance of responsibilities in the development of journalistic skills among the student writers;

    ‘For dynamic leadership among the school paper advisers; and

    ‘For personal commitment in the fulfillment and promotion of responsible and free journalism.”

    The above statements embodied Mr. Bontogon as an adviser of school publication, The Pilot Star, by initiating various journalism writeshops for the campus journalists such as, school-based training, campus journalism academy and school-based press conference.  The fruition of which by the campus writers are 1st Place in News Writing (Filipino) in 2014 NSPC at Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Olongapo City and 3rd Place in Copy Reading and Headline Writing (Filipino) in 2013 NSPC in Ormoc City. A regional champion in Copy Reading and Headline Writing (Filipino) in 2012 Regional Schools Press Conference, 2nd and 3rd Places in Sports Writing (English) and Editorial Cartooning respectively in RSPC, and consistent top notcher in Division Schools Press Conference.

    The other awards Bontogon got related to journalism are as coach, Southeast Asian Minister of Education Organization (SEAMEO) in Hand Drawing Category, 2. The Philippine Center for Gifted Education (PCGE) Search for Mga Bagong Rizal: Pag-asa ng Bayan Award, 3. 2014 Aklan’s Ten Outstanding Mentor (ATOM), Outstanding Teacher of the District, and 4. Consistent Outstanding School Teacher.   

    Sir Dennis, as his colleagues fondly call him, is an accredited regional trainer for campus journalism who has actively conducted free writeshops for the school paper advisers and to Teacher 1 applicants so they can attain skills training as required for the application.

   Dennis is a Master Teacher 2 of the Kalibo Pilot Elementary School, Kalibo and the incumbent president of the Kalibo I District School Paper Advisers and PIO of the Division School Paper Advisers Association.

   As a writer and researcher, Bontogon unearthed and authored the Founding History of the Kalibo Pilot Elementary School and the history of the Barangay Calangcang, Makato, Aklan.  He also served as Associate Editor of the publication for the Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association (WVRAA) Meet 2015.

     Bontogon attributes the award to all the persons who have been blessings to him (family, school officials, colleagues, campus journalists and friends) and most especially for God’s mercy and compassion as “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes,” as John F. Kennedy said./MP


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

AKLAN IN 2015*

    *AKLAN IN 2015 is the State of the Province Address of Aklan Provincial Governor Florencio T. Miraflores during the Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan held on February 3, 2016 at the SP Session Hall, Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan. (First of 5 parts)

    I stood before you almost a year ago and began the State of the Province Address emphasizing the statement that what we have achieved as a province was a result of a PARTICIPATORY, UNITED AND SHARED LEADERSHIP.
Today, I will report again the obvious, that Aklan has, and is geared to achieve so much more because Aklanons stood firm in embracing this concept and formula for governance.
     2015 was not a walk in the park.
    Just like any other day in a public servant’s office, challenges abound.
    From the delivery of frontline services to the enormous task of coping with the rapid appreciation of Aklan’s natural bounties, “good problems” tend to manifest every now and then.
     But we: did not stop caring.
  Never at any given time, even during those times when we felt that it was very convenient.
   We all know very well that there will always be that difficult crossroad.
    We acknowledged it, faced it, and overcame it, together.
     Let me give my first pat in the back to our distinguished members of the august body led by the very dynamic presiding officer Vice Governor Quimpo.
  The people of Aklan know how you have made the administration of this province a lot easier by consistently extending your hands of cooperation without sacrificing your independence.
     You did not cease to join me in caring for the best interest of Aklan no matter how colorful your individual personalities are.
       How can Aklanons fail to take notice of the admirable work of our Sangguniang Panlalawigan when every session is much anticipated by media and is covered live in cable television?
    At the end of the day, as a team we have maintained public trust in public service through good governance.
  Thank you for being an outstanding collegial body by passing: 1) 351 Resolutions, 2) 4 General Ordinances, 3) 9 Special Ordinances, and 4) 5 Appropriation Ordinances. 
 Worthy to note is that your legislative accomplishments for the past year especially the timely passage and unanimous approval of the 2016 annual budget of almost 1.6 billion last December 16, 2015 displays that your resolve as the law makers of our local government did not wave even some of you are on their last term or is seeking other posts.
      Barely three (3) months ago, the province of Aklan won the 2015 Seal of Good Local Governance awarded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. 
    This award affords us access to the performance challenge fund in the amount of seven (7) million pesos.
    The seal also allows us to secure the Certification for Good Financial Housekeeping, which is an essential document for loan purposes, and provides opportunities to avail of other national programs.
     I consider it a mortal sin if we in the provincial government deprive our constituency the enjoyment of these national development programs just because we have slackened from our sworn duties. 
   Our 2014 SGLG incentive was used to fund the improvement of the Banga -Libacao road (Polo-Badiagan section).
     The 2015 incentive will be used for the improvement of the Tangalan Tourism Highway covering Poblacion, Afga, Dumatad, and Jawili.
       This recognition which we have consistently received under my administration for our excellence in the fields of good financial housekeeping, disaster preparedness, social protection, business friendliness and competitiveness and peace and order refutes all the negativity spread by some in social media, the malicious whispers they try to propagate in every nook or cranny.
        It’s pitiful and unhealthy for those concerned but facts will always be facts.
     Allow me to discuss our factual SGLG story further.
     It’s a fact that our finance team displayed excellent performance in handling our financial transactions.
    The Provincial Accounting Office reported that we received an unqualified opinion in our 2014 Financial Reports from the Commission on Audit as indicated in their annual audit report.
       Technically, this means that financial records and statements are fairly and appropriately presented in all material respects, and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
    In simple words, this means a “clean opinion” and “the best opinion any agency can get” from COA.
     This only echoes that we in the provincial government care enough to see to it that taxpayer’s money is properly used.
     We have also maintained our compliance with the full disclosure policy.
     It’s also a fact that we brought our disaster preparedness efforts to a higher level.
     On top of an intensified, year-round and province wide conduct of disaster risk reduction, earthquake, first aid, basic search and rescue and flood trainings by our Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, we inaugurated last July 2015 the new PDRRM office.
     Already in place is our 24/7 Emergency Operation Centre with trained personnel complement and strategically housed in the Mezzanine of our new Aklan Trade Hall Building.
     In recognition of the need to keep improving and refining techniques to adapt to worst-case disaster scenarios, we have sustained the conduct of the provincial rescuelympics.
    Add to this the procurement of two brand new emergency response vehicles.
    Another fact is that our social protection system is in place.
    To complement the existing Comprehensive Centre for Women and the Persons With Disability Centre, our 9.7 million Aklan Youth Centre in Brgy. Nalook, Kalibo was inaugurated last April 24, 2015 complete with round-the-clock social workers.
    Worthy to mention is the fact that our Aklan Youth Center is the first in Western Visayas to be operated and fully funded by a local government unit.
    Sentibo kita sa mga krisis nga gina-agyan eabi git it atong mga kababayen-an, PWDs, ag mga inunga.
    Ngani bagay eamang nga magtuhaw sa andang isip, nga kita sa probinsiya paagi sa atong mga social workers hay haum nga mag-protektar kanda.
    We value the importance of our business industry.
    It is a fact that in Aklan, we have made good governance reforms that promote trade and investments.
    The province of Aklan was adjudged by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCC) as one of the national finalists of the 2015 most business-friendly local government unit award provincial level.
    It is not surprising if we receive plaudits like this because true enough, in Aklan, investors need not worry of a chaotic political climate, and the more important peace and order climate. 
   Again, another fact is that our full support to our anti-criminality activities paid off.
    Since the 2011 declaration that Aklan is an insurgency free province, we have maintained such status.
    There have been no reports of any incident as our Provincial Peace and Order Council and the Aklan Police Provincial Office who is now tasked with internal peace and security efforts never falter to stay vigilant.
    The Aklan Police Provincial Office reported that for 2015, all the 17 municipalities registered a decrease in crime volume. 
    Imaw ngani nga kung may una nga investor nga mag-bisita sa atong opisina, oewas sa natural nga bugna nga maga-tao kanda it oportunidad sa negosyo, akon pirme ginapaabot rong kahilway ag katawhay it atong probinsya. (To be continued next issue) /MP


    Si Abraham hay isaeang ka matarong ag diyos nanon nga naga estar sa syudad it Ur. Malipayon sandang nagakabuhi kaibahan ko anang asawang si Sarah, ugaling owa sanda it unga. Ro ibang tawo sa Ur hay naga pangamuyo sa mga rebulto o diyos-diyosan. Owa sanda naga sunod sa Diyos. Anda nga ginpang patay ro mga diyosnanon nga tawo kaibahan eon karon si Abraham. Sa pangamuyo ni Abraham, gin sabat imaw it Diyos nga paga bendisyonan ro anang pamilya ag pagadaehan it gutom ro mga tawong makasae-anan. Gin pa aywan kanda rong Ur ag paga tuytuyan sanda padueong sa eogta nga gin promesa. 
  Nag-abot rong tag-gutom. Owa it pagkaon . Nag-usoy man it pagkaon sanday Abraham hasta naka abot sanda it Ehipto. Bugana rong pagkaon sa Ehipto. Nakita rong kapisan ni Abraham . Naila-an imaw kong hari it Ehipto ag gin taw-an sanda it mga hayop ag mga regalo. Owa mag buhay, gin aywan nanda rong Ehipto hasta naka abot sanda sa eogta nga gin promesa.
   Gin tao it Diyos kay Abraham rong lugar. Nagtaliwan ro mga dinag-on, may nagtuhaw nga pag ilinaway sa royong lugar. Gin tipon ni Abraham ro anang mga kabig, agod makipag-away. Nagda-og sanda. Nagkakilaea sanda ni Melchizedek, isaeang ka matarung nga hari. Isaeang ka saserdote si Melchizedek ag anang gin bendisyonan si Abraham. Nagbayad it isaea sa napueong parte si Abraham kay Melchizedek nga mangin mabahoe ro anang pamilya ag may saserdote. Nangin tag-ana pa sanda kong eogta nga gin promesa. 
Sa tunga kong kaabo-abo nga grasya, masubo gihapon si Abraham tungod nga owa pa sanda it unga.  Sa pangamuyo ni Abraham  gin hambae it Diyos nga maka-angkon sanda it unga. Pagatawgon imaw nga si Isaac ag magserbe sa Diyos nga magatuman ko mga kasugu-an. Sa edad ni Sarah nga 90, imaw hay nag-unga bangod owa it imposible sa Diyos. Sa pag-angkon nanda it unga, nangin kompleto rong kalipay ni Abraham.    Boot nga masayran it Diyos rong pagka matinumanon ni Abraham. Gin sugo imaw nga ihaead ni Abraham si Isaac. Indi nana boot nga isakripisyo ro anang unga, apang boot nanang tumanon rong sugo it Diyos. Nagpanaw imaw sa bukid nga gin taeana kaibahan si Isaac ag daywang kabulig sakay sa Arsno. Pag-abot sa lugar nga gin taeana, gin pahaum ni Abraham rong altar ag gin kamada rong mga gatong nga andang daea. 
“Tatay, siin rong dapat nga ginasakripisyo?” pangutana ni Isaac. “Indi ka magkabaeaka, ro Diyos rong maaeam”, pasalig man ni Abraham. Gin gapos nana si Isaac ag gin paeobog sa altar. Owa gid magpamalibad si Isaac. Kat ana eon kunta nga ita-rak rong kutsilyo kay Isaac, gin punggan imaw it anghel. Nasayran it Diyos nga matinumanon si Abraham ag ha-um imaw nga magsunod. Paglingat ni Abraham, hakita nana rong tiyo it karnero nga nakapueapot sa mga tanum.
Rato ro andang gin obra nga haead. Nalipay ro Diyos. Napamatud-an ko Diyos ro pagkamatinumanon ni Abraham. Nag promesa rong Diyos nga paga bendisyunan rong andang pamilya. Ro gin himo ni Abraham hay imaw man rong gin obra ko atong Ama sa eangit. Gin tugutan ko atong Ama sa eangit nga isakripisyo ro anang unga nga si Hesukristo nga mamatay para katon. Si Hesus ag si Isaac hay pareho nga palangga nanda ro andang Ama ag ha-um sanda nga magtuman sa andang kasugu-an./MP


        CAPITAL, this is one of the problems of some persons who wish to start an enterprise or a business. They wish to engage in business but the lack of money as starting capital prevents them.
 However, those who wish sincerely to engage in business enterprise need not worry. First, out of their present income, they can save a portion of it until they have accumulated enough cash to start a business. 
Second, if they cannot save, they can source it from their respective family members or friends who are willing and able to lend.
  Third, they can look for available sources of funds, like from the banks, lending companies, foundation and cooperatives.
In applying for a loan, one must assess his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats. It must be remembered that the lender is highly interested how a borrower can repay a loan. Lenders will evaluate a borrower’s financial status and may even demand collateral like real estate.
    If a loan is secured, and in order to utilize fully the loan proceed, a borrower must determine the amount of money he needs as capital and the items where to spend the money. This will enable the borrower to borrow the best loan package.
 When going to the loan providers, the borrower must know the loan package they offer and its lending terms. This will guide the borrower to pick the best offer. The borrowers must know the following before deciding from which lending institution to borrow and which loan package to select.
a.Minimum Qualification – Most lenders also look over the loan applicant’s experience in the business. He will consider profitability of the enterprise and other sources of income of the borrower/applicant. The lender also looks after the qualification of the borrower like his age and capacity to repay the loan.
b.Required Documents – Borrower must have the list of required documents for the loan application. Documents like government issued ID, business permits and registration certificates are necessary.
c. Application and Loan Release Process – Lenders have different process. Some lenders can evaluate loan application and release loan fund in a few days. Loan applicant can file loan application by fax, online or via the internet. He may also personally visit a bank to file his application. 
d. Interest Rules – Possible borrower can canvass the possible lenders for their rate of interest and other charges. The term of payment, either monthly, quarterly or annually must also be known.
e. Payment Term – A borrower may decide how many months to pay for his loan. There are short term loans such as the revolving fund which maturity is one year. Long term loans usually mature from seven to 25 years. This enables the borrowers to avail of short or long term loans.
    For borrowers who wish to borrow money for business operation or personal expenses without going to the bank office, they can do it “online”. Borrowing online helps the borrower save time and effort and expenses in going personally to the bank.

    For those who has neither savings nor borrowed money, they can start wihtout capital. There  are offices which projects do not need cash to start with for the barangay people on food production.
    The Department of Agriculture (DA) for instance has the livestock dispersal project. The DA disperse breeds of swine and cattle. It also provides vegetable seeds for vegetable production. These are given free to the farmers to take care of, the product of which accrues to them.
They can grow these vegetables and sell it in the market, the sales of which belong to them. Out of these vegetable project, they can sell the surplus which will serve as their savings.
    The cattle and swine dispersal provides them with either milk, or beef or pork which they can sell in the market. Out of the money from the sales of livestock products will enable them to save while they can eat the surplus beef and pork and drink fresh milk.
   The recepients of these cattle dispersal projects may pay the government by giving offsprings of swine and or cattle to their neighbor farmers. Hence, capital is available if our people are innovative./MP


By: Ernesto T. Solidum
    Amidst widespread anomalies and violence in the country a Voters Power Movement (VPM) was formally launched in Aklan held at the Rotary Club of Kalibo Livelihood and Training Center, Andagao, Kalibo, Aklan. Dubbed as “The Three Musketeers” are retired government employees, former RTC Judge Virgilio Paman, and former RTC Judge Niovady M. Marin and retiredAgricultural Training Institute Director Ambrosio R. Villorente.
    In a press con, Atty. Marin underscored the need to choose and vote wisely in the forthcoming May 9 elections since the kind of government and how they govern us for the next 3 or 6 years will greatly affect us. During the campaign, candidates court voters with promises of prosperity and higher living standards. But after winning the election, nothing has changed in the lives of the people except those who were voted into power. Elected officials are seen with SUV’s, live in condos and own beach houses. One wonders where this money came from since legitimate salary of elected officials is not enough to procure such luxury and lifestyle.
    Virtually, the rise and fall of our country depends to a large extent on elected officials who are tasked through taxpayers’ money to improve our economy, maintain peace and order, deliver socio-economic services and secure the right climate for investments. Aklan was a member of the group of 20 poorest provinces 20 years ago yet today it is a billionaire province, being least dependent on Internal Revenue Allotment. Thank to our chosen leaders, averred the retired Judge. But the economic growth is not inclusive especially to the poor people.
    The rationale to have VPM is to improve the quality of voting and suffrage said Atty. Paman. Our Constitution states that sovereighty resides in the people and authority emanates from them. Our democratic right is expressed through the ballot once in every 3 or 6 years. After this, our elected officials govern our present and future way of life. Since many of them have expended millions for campaign expenses (the law limits it to P3.00 per registered voter for Governor, Vice Governor, SP Members, Mayor, Vice Mayor and SB Members, while P5.00 for President, Senators and Congressman), the tendency is to regain their excessive expenses through illegal means is highly probable.
    Dr. Villorente cited the vision and mission of VPM as an enlightened electorate choosing wisely their public officials who can effect progress, development and prosperity in Aklan. The mission is to empower the voters in the proper exercise of suffrage affecting their rights, responsibilities and benefits.
   The relevant questions and reminders are: Know who are your candidates, what they are capable of and how they intend to lead us. Are those who seek our votes have unquestioned integrity? Have they been alleged to be involved in corruption or unscrupulous practices? And if so, how have they responded to those allegations? Have they established a proven track record of performance and credibility in their previous positions?  Have they presented a clear economic platform that will support inclusive growth so that the poor and the marginalized are able to improve their standard of living?
    VPM plans to hold first assembly forum in Libacao next April followed by students in private and public schools. Since March is loaded with final exams and Holy Week, observance of major events will be held in April, said Dr. Villorente.
    During the open forum, the Convenors believe that Aklan voters have acceptable level of political maturity. This is because of high percentage of literacy and voter participation in previous elections. However, among politicians, this is belied by a confirmed report that the recent political peace covenant initiated by Comelec and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is only good on paper and media mileage. Aklan Bishop Corazon Talaoc is dismayed by the sudden turn of events. Before the ink dried up, candidates traded barbs, accusations and insults between and among each others. What a strange unity walk for peace that was!
    Perhaps it is pertinent to note that politicians who pretend to care for the people to perpetuate themselves in power are said to be machiavelian since their altruism stems from selfish motives. Hence, voters must be very discerning and vigilant in their exercise of suffrage.
   VPM launching was attended by several members of the tri-media and NVC MasCom students. Aware of this noble campaign, many pledged to serve as volunteers for Voters’ Power Movement (VPM). Like the PPCRV, it is non political, non sectarian, non racial and gender neutral. The organization is yet to be accredited by Comelec. It is temporarily holding its office at the 2nd Floor, Sampaton Bldg., Cor. Roxas Avenue-Mabini St., Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan.
    Any person with good standing in his community who wishes to join as volunteer the VPM is welcomed./MP


        Senate President and re-electionist senatorial candidate Franklin M. Drilon this week said that he will block any attempt to postpone the  May 9, 2016 elections.
    “I strongly oppose the move to postpone the elections. I am strongly against the Commission on Elections’ move to hold off the election based on the Supreme Court decision on the printing of receipts,” Drilon said.
    “The Comelec cannot postpone on this ground based on existing law. There should not even be talks about postponement. I will block any attempt to postpone the election,” Drilon stressed.
   The four-time Senate President said there is no legal basis for the Comelec to do so.
    He explained that under the Omnibus Election Code, postponement may only be effected for “serious causes such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other analogous causes of such nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision.”
  Instead of making speculative public pronouncements on the postponement of elections, Drilon advised the Comelec to find ways on how to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.
     “It is premature for the Comelec to make public pronouncements on the postponement of elections because there still is time,” Drilon said. 
    “I urge the Comelec to instead focus all their resources to follow the Supreme Court decision. We are in favor of observing the May 9 elections, as mandated by the Constitution,” he stressed.
    Drilon said that the Comelec is mandated by no less than the Constitution to conduct, without fail, clean, orderly and credible elections in the country.
     He concluded that the Comelec will violate the Constitution if it fails to execute its mandate./MP


         Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala loaded the high production of  palay  in Western Visayas as it remains to be the third rice producing  region with 2,056,824 metric tons next to Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley  “ Of the P1.5 billion budget for Region 6 this year, 20 percent is for farm mechanization. Thus, the program will help sustain the 119 percent rice self-sufficiency of Western Visayas,” Alcala said.
    According to Alcala, full farm mechanization will support the Philippines as it competes in the global market in terms of volume and production cost of palay.
    “I don’t see any reason why we should leave the program on farm mechanization. Now that there is the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration, paggalingan na po ng sistema at teknolohiya to lower the production cost,” Alcala told the local media during the press con held at the DA- Research Outreach Station in Sta. Barbara.
    DA’s Farm Mechanization program was up to 30 percent equity for the farmers groups during the previous years administration, but was reduced to 15 percent upon the assumption of Alcala as Department Secretary.
    “This year, 10 percent na lang po ang equity ng mga asosasyon nais mag-avail ng farm machinery from DA.” Alcala explained that 10 percent equity will ensure the association’s capability of managing the farm equipment and postharvest facilities.  
    DA’s Farm Mechanization Program seeks to lower the average production cost of palay from P11.00 per kilo to P9.00 per kilo. According to a study of Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, farmers could save up to P1.60/kilo with the use of rice combine harvester. The said equipment can harvest 3-5 hectare per day.
    Alcala mentioned that the national government’s budget for DA from 2011 to 2015 is P100 billion higher compared to the combined allocated budgets for agriculture by the previous three administrations.
    “In 2010, ang edad ng ordinary farmer is 57 years old, two years ago a survey was made before the start of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the average age of Filipino farmers is 54 years old na lang. Ibig sabihin bumabata at ito po ay resulta ng farm mechanization at mga programa na nilalatag ng ating pamahalaan,” Alcala shared during the Farmers, Fisherfolk and Agriculture Extension Workers’ (AEWs) Forum held at Central Philippine University. Alcala turned over a total of  P35,285,000 worth of farm equipment such as floating tillers, hand tractor with implements, pump and engines, 4-wheel drive tractors, hammer mills, mini 4-wheel drive tractors and rice combine harvesters to farmer associations in Region 6. Meanwhile, DA Region 6 raffled additional equipment worth P2,870,000.00. /MP


        Photo above shows farmers planting palay. Notice that their feet are submerged in the mud. They cannot stand, they cannot seat, but their palay harvests had a price control in the market notwithstanding that inputs of production like fertilizer had no price control. Moreover, to produce one (1) kilogram of palay requires 1,500 kilograms of water from land preparation to ripening stage.

        Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero has vowed to make farming and fishing in the Philippines more lucrative by providing more support services and bigger budget allocation to the agriculture sector, should he and presidential running mate, Sen. Grace Poe win in the May 9 elections.
   The independent vice-presidential bet said the lack of support services from the government to farmers has led to the poor state of agriculture in the Philippines, which makes the industry unappealing to pursue as a career unlike in other countries.
   Escudero recalled that during his time as chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, the Department of Agriculture (DA) had a program to entice the youth to go into farming by taking them to farm tours and seminars.
  “Sabi ko, ituro ninyo nga sa akin iyong isang tao na magsasaka na ang pangarap niya ay maging magsasaka katulad niya iyong anak niya,” the vice-presidential frontrunner said, recalling his conversation with agriculture officials.
   The veteran legislator opposed the program, saying the most effective way to recruit a new breed of farmers and fisherfolk is by making the sector profitable.    
     “Hangga’t hindi tumataas ang kita ng magsasaka at mangingisda, hindi po iyan magiging attractive na hanap-buhay ng ating mga kababayan. Pero kung mapataas natin ang kita nila, hindi na kailangang mangumbinsi pa ang gobyerno na magsaka,” he said in reference to the government’s solution to concerns about the ageing population of the agriculture workers in the Philippines.
    The latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the agriculture sector employed 11.84 million individuals in 2013, representing 31 percent of the national workforce.
    Also, the PSA said that compared to other sectors, agriculture has the lowest average daily wage at P156.80 for farmers and P178.43 for fisherfolk.
    “It is our goal under the ‘Gobyernong may Puso’ of Sen. Grace Poe to set aside P300 billion, or more than three times its current budget, for the agriculture sector to improve production and the household income of farmers,” Escudero said.
    Under the P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016, the agriculture sector has a total allocation of P94 billion, including the P40.2 billion earmarked for the Department of Agriculture and P32.7 billion for the National Irrigation Authority.
    The son of the late Agriculture Secretary Salvador Escudero III said, “the government has to allot at least P300 billion annually for agriculture to modernize the sector and build the much needed agriculture infrastructures like farm-to-market roads, irrigation and post-harvest facilities”.
      “With a higher budget, the government can also extend free irrigation service, crop insurance and subsidies that will increase productivity and household income,” Escudero added./MP

Thursday, March 10, 2016


By: James Earl E. Ogatis
     NFA Iloilo Provincial Manager Erna Abello explains their El Niño mitigation programs and interventions to the farmer leaders, barangay captains and kagawads during the conduct of Agricultural Information Caravan on El Niño in the municipality of Cabatuan, Iloilo recently. (MSSubang/DA-RAFIS 6 photo).

   “We have enough supply of rice here in Iloilo despite of the occurrence of El Niño phenomenon in the province.” assured NFA Provincial Manager Erna Abello.
    Abello who was one of the panelists during the conduct of agricultural information caravan on El Niño at Cabatuan, Iloilo said that NFA has a total buffer stock good for 121 days equivalent to 2,591,092 bags.
    “We are encouraging farmers to avail of our support price of Php 17.40 per kilo for clean and dry rice delivered to NFA warehouses.” said Abello.
      According to Abello, “despite of our local produce, the province has an allocation of 240,000 bags of imported rice from Thailand as part of our contingency measures for El Niño and other natural calamities. The first shipment containing 120,000 bags has just arrived and the remaining rice import will arrive on March 3, 2016. This will be distributed to NFA accredited rice retailers all over the province of Iloilo,” added Abello.
     Meanwhile, Glenn Carbon Insurance Underwriter II of the Philippines Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) encouraged farmers affected by El Niño to report their farm damage to the office of their Municipal Agriculturist or directly to PCIC 20 days before harvest.
    Carbon emphasized that PCIC underwriters will make assessment of all reported damages and recommend insurance claim for processing and payment to the affected farmers. The damages reported beyond 20 days and farmers who are not listed in the masterlist of farmers under the RSBSA program will not be eligible for insurance claims.
   DA 6 banner program focal persons also explained the El Niño interventions such as buffer stocking of rice, corn and vegetable seeds, vitamins and drugs and biologics for livestock, pump and engine sets, rehabilitation of small farm reservoir and small diversion dams and continuing advocacy of water conservation.
    Also present during the caravan were representative from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 6 who explained the mitigation programs and priorities of the agency this CY 2016.
    Around 200 participants composed of farmer leaders, barangay officials and livestock raisers attended the agricultural information caravan on El Niño./MP