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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Whirlwind destroys 3 houses in Bukidnon, causes 21-hour brownout

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 16 Oct) – A whirlwind in Valencia City Tuesday totally destroyed three houses and caused a 21-hour long brownout in parts of Bukidnon.
The Valencia City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also reported that 31 houses were partially damaged by the whirlwind affecting 33 families.
The CDRRMC report, signed by Mayor Azucena Huervas, blamed “very strong winds” for causing the collapse of trees, some of which landed along the highway, and the destruction of houses in Barangays Dabongdabong and Mailag along the Sayre Highway.
Most of those affected, 25 of the 33 families, are from Purok 8 in Mailag. Damage to houses were estimated at P178,500. No one was reported hurt from among the 156 persons affected in the CDRRMC account.
The CDRRMC, quoting the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the incident was caused by a “local thunderstorm.”
Stronger whirlwinds are referred to as tornado.
Elizabeth Ladaga, corporate communications officer of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, said in an advisory Wednesday that the incident toppled two NGCP transmission structures in the area. Power transmission tripped along the Maramag-Malaybalay 69-kilovolt lines at 3:07p.m. on Tuesday, causing a total of 21 hours of power interruption in Malaybalay City and other towns served by the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (BUSECO). Areas covered by First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO) were also affected but was restored at 5:05 p.m. on the same day.
Ladaga initially reported that linemen had difficulty doing repairs as they were prevented by flood waters in the Colonia to Mailag area of Valencia City.
Some areas in Bukidnon – including the barangays along the Pulangui River in Valencia – are prone to tornadoes, the PAGASA reported. Anianita Fortich, who used to be the meteorological officer of PAGASA-Bukidnon, said that the whirlwinds recorded in the area were not too strong.
She said tornadoes usually develop in areas with rivers, mountains, and plains. She warned that those who dwell in houses built with light materials and those who live along river banks are most vulnerable.
Fortich, who is now with the regional office of the weather bureau, said that climate change is yet another factor that affect wind movements.
Ma. Leah Barquez, of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council office, said they received no reports from other towns about similar incidents in their areas. - From

GPH-NDF meet in Utrecht won’t take up release of soldiers held by NPA in Bukidnon

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews/22 October) – The release of two Army soldiers held captive by the New People’s Army in Bukidnon will not be taken up in a meeting between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Utrecht in the Netherlands this week, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said Wednesday.
Deles said the meeting in Utrecht will be “low-key” and will focus on finding ways to resume the stalled peace talks between the government and the NDF.
“There is no ceasefire. The release of the POWs will not be taken up in the meeting,” the official said during a roundtable discussion with journalists in Makati City.
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang met with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin last week to renew their request for a suspension of military operations to pave the way for the safe release of two soldiers held by the rebels in Bukidnon.
Army Privates First Class Marnel Cinches and Jerrel Yorong have been held captive by the NPA since August 22.
The military in Bukidnon said the two soldiers were snatched by the NPA while buying food supplies at a market in Impasugong, Bukidnon.
They were scheduled to be released last September but the plan was cancelled for unknown reasons.
Ledesma and Calang have taken up the cudgel of the families of the captured soldiers, and have asked both sides to ensure their safe release. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)  - From

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: Casualties of peace

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 17 Dec) – Police have filed charges against one Macmod Manibpil as a suspect in the December 9, 2014 bombing of a bus in Maramag, Bukidnon which killed 10 people and injured 42 others. Manibpil, who reportedly bolted the Kidapawan City Jail, is also a suspect in the 2006 bombing in Kabacan, North Cotabato.
Inspector Jiselle Longakit, spokesperson of the Bukidnon provincial police office, said Manibpil belongs to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Let’s try weaving together the facts presented by the police. If Manibpil really belongs to the BIFF, it is implied that he was with the MILF at the time he allegedly carried out the Kabacan bombing. The BIFF only came about as fallout of the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain fiasco. Before the BIFF, authorities were quick to point an accusing finger at the MILF (almost) every time a bombing occurred in parts of Mindanao even if a ceasefire between the government and the rebel group was already in place.
Police claimed a sketch based on the description made by two witnesses matched the photo of Manibpil photo in the rogues gallery. Nonetheless, they added that aside from “furtherance of their (BIFF) cause”, they are also looking at extortion and business rivalry as the other possible motives. That’s another way of saying they’re not 100-percent sure as yet of BIFF involvement for reasons other than the BIFF’s denial they had a hand in the incident.
Meawhile, Maj. Christian Uy of the 4th Infantry Division said that an official from Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. told the Regional Peace and Order Council that the company received text messages demanding P50,000 monthly or one of their buses would be bombed. Such story tends to give credence to the extortion angle except that the amount being demanded seems too small compared to the degree of brutality of the act.
Why the supposed extortionists only demanded P50,000 a month – just a drop in the bucket of RTMI’s daily revenues – raises more questions than there are answers. If it was indeed extortion, why settle for a pittance? Why not P500,000 or even a million pesos a month? Would a real extortionist take the risk of carrying out a bombing for a measly sum? The pieces simply don’t fit. - From

Families bury kin, demand justice for Bukidnon bus bombing victims

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 December)– Expressions of love and calls for justice highlighted today’s burial of two Central Mindanao University (CMU) students who were among the 10 people killed in the December 9 bombing of a passenger bus of Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) near the university’s main gate.
Families and friends held solemn and emotional burial rites in two separate sites– Malaybalay’s Shepherds Meadow Memorial Park for Marielle E. Achacoso and Barangay Cabangahan Public Cemetery for Kim Lloyd Valiente.
In both funerals, there was a common call for acceptance of their fate and a cry for justice.
Ricardo Achacoso recalled his daughter’s achievements and attributes and called for the acceptance of her fate, even asking for prayers so that her soul may rest in peace.
“I am sure she lived a happy live here on earth. Let us allow her (with our prayers) to be happy in heaven,” he said after the funeral mass at the cemetery’s chapel filled with relatives and friends.
He said she was “a sweet, respectful girl and made the family laugh.”

Family, relatives, classmates and friends of December 9 bus bombing victim Marielle E. Achacoso, 17, a first year accountancy student of Central Mindanao University, show their love as they cry for justice during her burial onSaturdayat the Shepherd’s Meadow Memorial Park in Malaybalay City. MindaNews photo by Walter Balane
Her uncle, Rene, who described her as a good girl who was “ fond of jamming,” believed that God has a plan for the family.
Her friends recalled Marielle’s strong personality and encouragement in times when they were down.
The Achacosos and many of those in attendance, including Marielle’s classmates, wore white t-shirts printed in the front with “We love you Marielle E. Achacoso” super imposed with a photo of the 17-year old first year accountancy student of CMU.
Others wore shirts printed in the front with “Justice for Marielle E. Achacoso” and a graphics of a black ribbon next to the words.
At the back of the shirts, there is also a mix of print: “We love you Marielle E. Achacoso” and “Justice: 12-09-14” also next to a graphics of a black ribbon. - From

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bukidnon politics 2014: 3 mayoral successions

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 01 January) — An ambush, an ailment, and a case conviction forced three successions among Bukidnon mayors in 2014.
In Maramag, ailing Mayor Alicia Resus was succeeded by vice Mayor Jose Obedencio, a former three-term mayor.
Citing poor health, Resus, 56, resigned effective March 8.  She passed away on March 11.
Resus, who had a Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Araneta University Foundation, was elected mayor in 2010 and reelected in 2013. She was vice mayor from 2001 to 2010.
By rule of succession, Obedencio, a partymate of Resus and Zubiri at the Bukidnon Paglaum Party (BPP) assumed the post of mayor. Obedencio was mayor from 2001 to 2010 when Resus was vice mayor.
Maramag’s number 1 municipal councilor Jose Joel Doromal, a lawyer who belongs to the Aksyon Demokratiko party, assumed the post of vice mayor.
In Impasug-ong, Mayor Mario Okinlay, killed in an ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) on July 2 was succeeded by vice mayor Anthony Uy, who belongs to a rival party.
Okinlay and other officials were in Bontongon and were scheduled to return to the town proper that day. He had police and military escorts but was driving his motorcycle when attacked in Barangay Kinapuntan.
The NPA admitted responsibility for the ambush of Okinlay who died while being treated for gunshot wounds.
Police said the assailants fired at the convoy hitting Okinlay on the stomach and left arm at around 8 a.m. Okinlay’s police and military escorts reportedly gave the mayor first aid before bringing him to the Malaybalay Polymedic General Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 11:23 a.m. that same day.
Okinlay, a graduate of Xavier University, was first elected mayor in 1998. When he completed three terms in 2007, he fielded his wife Julia to run for mayor, but returned to the mayoralty in 2010.
Okinlay was the first mayor killed in an ambush by the NPA in Bukidnon. Valencia Mayor Absalon Catarata, elected in 1980 and 1988, was killed by an unknown assailant in front of his residence on April 21, 1988 while waiting for his service vehicle to fetch him.
In June 2014, Valencia mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. was also succeeded by his vice mayor, Azucena Huervas, after he was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3f of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Galario, a former police chief, has been declared a fugitive. The police could not serve the warrant of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan that found him guilty of graft.
The anti-graft court declared Galario guilty for refusing to comply with a Civil Service Commission (CSC) order to reinstate now retired city budget officer Ruth Piano whom he repeatedly relieved and transferred to other positions in City Hall.
In 2001, Galario relieved Piano and transferred her to different offices. She filed constructive dismissal complaints against Galario before the CSC regional office in Cagayan de Oro City and won, resulting in the issuance of a reinstatement order on May 5, 2003. - From

Over 300 flee as rivers swell in Bukidnon; more evacuations set as Seniang sweeps N. Mindanao

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/29 December) – Over 300 individuals from at least six villages in Bukidnon have fled as water levels in rivers and streams connected to the Pulangi River started to rise as tropical storm Seniang continued to dump heavy rains across the province, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said at noon Monday.
Ma. Leah Barquez, focal person at the Bukidnon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Valencia City accounted for most of the evacuees with 275 individuals or 34 families.
She said these families left their homes in response to orders for a preemptive evacuation by the local DRRMCs.
The PDRRMC reported that in Valencia, 150 individuals came from Barangay Batangan, 20 families or around 100 persons from Barangay Catumbalon, 12 families or around 60 persons from Sitio Hinauan, Purok 5 in Barangay Poblacion, and two families or 10 persons from Barangay Sugod. These villages are along the Pulangi River.
In Cabanglasan, the Municipal DRRMC said the water level in Mandahican River has risen and threatened some areas in Barangay Iba. The council had scheduled a preemptive evacuation of at least 196 families in a cluster of villages around 3p.m. today.
In Malitbog, the MDRRMC reported a landslide past 8a.m. Sunday that partially destroyed a house in Barangay Sumalsag. The incident prompted a preemptive evacuation of 21 families in Barangays Sumalsag and Patpat.
In Sumilao, the MDRRMC also reported a landslide early Monday morning in Damay, Barangay San Vicente, along the Sayre Highway. But Barquez pointed out that the highway had been cleared as of 9:45a.m. Monday.
In various points, the water levels have doubled as monitored by stream gauges provided by Project Noah of the Department of Science and Technology.
Water level in Lumbayao Bridge over Pulangi River in Valencia rose from 1.22 meters as of 10:40 a.m. Sunday to 2.35 meters as of the same time Monday.
In downtown Valencia, water rose from 10.33 meters to 13.11 meters during the same time frame as monitored from Valencia City Bridge near Batangan.
In Malaybalay City, water level also increased from 0.83 meters as of 10:50a.m. Sunday to 1.207 meters by 10:40a.m. Monday.
In Libona town, water level in Bubunawan River, which flows into Cagayan River, increased from 4.7 meters to 6.2 meters within the same time frame.
In Baungon town, water level also increased in Kabula Bridge, also over Bubunawan River, from 45.75 meters to 47 meters as of 11a.m. Monday.  - From

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Army nabs alleged NPA leader in Bukidnon

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/28 September) – Elements of the Army Special Forces arrested a suspected ranking leader of the New People’s Army after a shootout along the national highway in Malaybalay City Sunday, a military official said.
But Col. Jesse Alvarez, commanding officer of the 403rdInfantry Brigade withheld the name of the alleged NPA leader pending tactical intelligence confirmation on her standing in the rebel group.
Alvarez said the driver who drove the Mazda Bongo truck carrying the woman was killed during the exchange of gunfire with the soldiers belonging to the Army 1stSpecial Forces Battalion.
A source said the driver who was identified only as a certain “Edwin” was the husband of the captured woman who is believed to be the regional medical officer of the NPA in Northern Mindanao.
Alvarez said found in the Bongo truck were a .45 caliber pistol with two spare magazines, documents, nine mobile phones, two power banks, a Samsung tablet, a fragmentation grenade, and P276,000 in cash.
He said the alleged rebel leader is now in the custody of the Philippine National Police in Malaybalay City.
“The police told us they would file a case of frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms and explosives against the woman,” Alvarez told MindaNews.
He said another accomplice managed to escape barefoot from the pursuing soldiers.
One soldier was slightly wounded when he tried to seek cover but crashed into a boulder.
Alvarez said the soldiers were going to Maramag town, also in Bukidnon province but decided to stop along the highway in Barangay Cabangahan, Malaybalay City to urinate. - From

Bukidnon rubber industry needs to improve quality

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 14 Jan) – The rubber industry is an emerging industry in Bukidnon but small rubber farmers need to improve quality of production to be able to command a good price, an official from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here said.
Junar Merla, senior trade and industry development specialist at DTI-Bukidnon, said local producers need to improve their practices to increase quality of latex, the natural extract from the rubber tree that is highly in demand in the Philippines and other countries.
Bukidnon rubber producers, Merla added, are looking at the big market in China as they increase production. But he said in one of DTI’s assessments that poor quality is one issue confronting the industry.
He cited that there is a need to train and improve the skills of rubber tappers and handlers to ensure good quality of latex.
Merla said traders expressed dismay that they found rubber cup lumps sold to them by local suppliers mixed with “foreign objects.” He cited that traders complained of some stocks mixed with soil or even battery solution to increase weight.
He said small local producers do not know that the scheme is doing a boomerang as traders become hesitant in buying locally produced rubber, or want to buy it at a cheaper price.
Buying stations in Bukidnon and North Cotabato, Merla noted, are willing to pay P36 to P48 per kilo of good quality cup lumps but some would pay only P26 to P30 due to the problem.
One more problem in the local rubber industry, he added, is the lack of an industry consolidator – one that can process rubber cup lumps to rubber crepe, which is the form in demand by tire producers like Yokohama in Pampanga.
He said at the moment a mix of locally-based and mobile traders buy cup lumps. But Merla said small rubber farmers can command a bigger price if they have the option to sell the stocks or have these processed for a fee and be the one to sell rubber crepe. - From

Monday, September 28, 2015

Talama: Rewarding the unheralded heroes of conservation

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 25 Feb) – Since its proclamation as a national park in 1990, and later as a full-fledged protected area in 2000 through Republic Act 8978, timber smuggling and other illegal activities have been minimized, if not stopped, in Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park. Many would attribute the conservation of the park’s forest to formal mechanisms such as the Protected Area Management Board, which always takes pride in this achievement.
Little has been said however of the efforts of local communities, the indigenous peoples in particular, in protecting one of the country’s important biodiversity sites, which sits in the northwestern part of Bukidnon province. And they have received too little too in terms of rewards and incentives for such efforts. Not much has been said about the role of culture in the conservation of Mount Kitanglad, and how the tribes had tried to resist commercial logging in the years prior to the imposition of logging ban in the province. In a study made in 1995, Malcolm Cairns explained the link between culture and conservation in this ancestral territory that its inhabitants consider sacred.
Efforts have been made in recent years to recognize the contribution of the indigenous peoples to environmental protection. In Mount Kitanglad its palpable manifestation includes the participation of their leaders in decision and policymaking through the PAMB and programs that aim to uplift their socioeconomic conditions. These have been found wanting; the socioeconomic interventions in particular have not really made an impact mainly because these did not consider cultural factors and did not match the capacity and experience of the intended targets.
Nonetheless, the indigenous peoples or Lumad of Mount Kitanglad believe they deserve more for their efforts. This time they are not entertaining the idea of receiving yet again a form of assistance based on standards prescribed by donors, be they private entities or government agencies. They are pushing for the adoption of a culture-based system that views their efforts as deserving of a reward. Is there such a system? - From

4 Mindanao provinces among top 10 rice producing areas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 March) – Four provinces in Mindanao made it to the list in the top 10 rice producing provinces in the country last year, data from Department of Agriculture (DA) bared.
Of the four provinces, data from DA XI showed that three were from Davao Region – Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur. The other one was Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao.
Those areas will be awarded as outstanding rice producing provinces during the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award (APRAA) on March 26 at Resorts World Performing Arts in Pasay City. Each will receive P4 million as prize.
The other outstanding rice producers in the country include Pangasinan in Region 1, Isabela in Region 2 and Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Bulacan and Tarlac in Region 3.
Remelyn R. Recoter, regional director of DA XI, said in a statement that the region was able to produce 452, 267 metric tons of rice last year from 421,692 metric tons in 2013. The area planted with rice also increased to 106,911 hectares last year compared to 103,475 hectares in 2013.
“Positive growth rate was noted because we have matched the existing conditions of rice production in their respective areas with appropriate interventions,” she said. Interventions include farm mechanization and postharvest facilities.
The municipality of Banaybanay in Davao Oriental also made it to the list of outstanding rice producing municipalities and cities in the country. It will receive P1 million during APRAA, the annual event of DA.
“The APRAA is part of DA’s interventions and incentive system to encourage local government units, irrigators associations, small water impounding system farmers’ associations and agricultural extension workers to contribute their share in increasing farmers’ harvest and incomes, to attain national rice sufficiency,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. - From

Thursday, September 24, 2015

69MW hydro plants to rise in Bukidnon at a cost of P12.5B

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon (MindaNews / 23 Apr) – A groundbreaking ceremony that will tap hydropower from Tagoloan River, the country’s 13th largest river system, to produce a total of 68.9 megawatts of electricity was held in Barangay Maluko, Manolo Fortich on Wednesday.
Hedcor President Rene Ronqillo said construction of the two cascading hydro plants—the 43.4 MW Manolo Fortich Hydro 1 and the 25.4 Manolo Fortich Hydro 2—will start right away.
Ronquillo said they expect to finish the construction with its total 68.8 MW rated capacity available to the Mindanao grid in 18 months.
He said the total cost of the project is P12.5 billion.
“The province of Bukidnon is the right place for this project and we commit that it will serve all the stakeholders,” Ronquillo said during the brief groundbreaking ceremony.
Since 1996, Hedcor has been interested in harnessing the tributaries – Tanaon, Amusig and Guihean – of Tagoloan River for its hydropower project.
The government, however, shelved the project proposal in 1998.
After government gave Hedcor the go signal in 2012, Ronquillo said it took them another two years to complete government requirements and get the approval from the lumads who live beside the three tributary rivers located in the towns of Manolo Fortich and Impasug-ong.
The Bukidnon provincial board said seven lumad communities – Santiago Tribal Community Inc., Higaonon Tribal Communities, Maluko Tribal Council, Bukidnon Tribal Community, Amosignon-Higaonon Tribal Organization, Nalandangan Tribal Datu Association Inc., and Apo Datu Namikunan Association Inc. – will be affected.
Ronquillo said Hedcor has already complied with all government requirements and the lumads have already given their consent to the project.
A lumad delegation led by Datu Honorio Sumohoy witnessed the groundbreaking ceremonies and helped bury a time capsule containing the written notes of Higaonon children.
Ronquillo said more than 800 local workers will be hired in the construction phase. - From

Biz group says Bukidnon needs updated tax codes to draw investments

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 May) – Bukidnon needs to reform its tax codes if it wants to attract more investors to the province, a business chamber official said.
“At the start of the day, you are supposed to put up signage saying Bukidnon is ready for investments, but you cannot (because of obsolete tax laws and other policies),” Roderico Bioco, president of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (BKCCII) said.
He said promoting investments is good but should be backed by a correct policy environment.
“If investors (check on government’s) due diligence; we can only get very brave investors, but they are not as aggressive,” he said, adding Bukidnon is not the only investment destination.
Bioco spoke at the 19th Strictly Business News Conference at the Department of Trade and Industry-Bukidnon office on April 23.
The chamber announced the holding of a forum mapping out Bukidnon’s top commodities aside from rice, corn, and sugar. He said the province also produces rubber, abaca, cacao, cassava, oil palm, and banana.
He said it is important to lay out the value chain of these commodities to draw out an investment plan to support and promote them to possible investors.
But he said no investment promotion will work without a favorable business environment.
Bioco cited that the tax codes of Malaybalay and Valencia City needs to be updated.
Malaybalay, which became a city in 1998, is still using a tax code based on Presidential Decree 236, an earlier version of the Local Government Code of 1991, he said.
He said such law computes taxes based on gross sales. “But gross sales/receipts may include Value-added tax (VAT). You cannot tax a tax,” he said, adding PD 236 was imposed when there was no VAT yet.
He cited the case of the trucking industry, where he is one of the players, which is also excluded from the tax computation based on gross sales. “Only the provincial government can tax on trucking. Even with that, they can only tax per unit, not on gross receipts.” - From

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

THE VOICE: Heneral Luna: Reflections

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (MindaNews/21 September) — Why look for unity when it’s not there…?
My eyes still stung long after Gel, Ruby and I left the movie house.  It’s been ages since I last saw one memorable movie; much less one memorable Filipino movie.
Raj texted Friday that we should watch Heneral Luna.  Okay…movies cost a fortune – well, maybe pittance – but it’s hard to part with hard-earned money on scripts and plots that just change titles, producers, locations and actors.  Maybe I could wait for the DVD; and since I abhor many things that occupy space – maybe an e-copy will do.
Ever the loving firstborn who makes things happen without being disagreeable, Raj just lets his movie-bored mom be.
With time on my hands I googled (where else to go but virtual) Heneral Luna.  Why, it’s been on FB at the time when Pacquiao and Mayweather were pummeling each other, and I didn’t see it?  Shame.  Unfolding in front of me were reviews that led to another; and another; and so on and so forth.  This may be worth my time so Sunday was a date; after church.
The ticket girl told us that religious services are held every Sunday at the same cinema where Heneral Luna was assigned.  I told her to convey to management that their schedules on the internet should be updated so as not to fool patrons.  Who cares if the message got across?
People were forming a beeline to another cinema dedicated to some movie – again, Filipino (arrgghhh) – about confused relationships.  Why do they love to create problems where there’s none, no…? So so first world let’s just discuss that later.
We had no choice but take the first screening the next day Monday.  And be there an hour early. - From

RIVERMAN’S VISTA: Mindanao Specter over APEC Summit

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews /19 Sept) — The Philippines will have a good moment in the sun in November when we host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit. Its an opportune time to be holding the APEC Summit in our country with the Philippine economy performing well and the President Aquino’s performance and trust ratings back at high levels. The summit’s coinciding with the opening salvos of the 2016 election campaign is also a good thing; we can show off our working democracy with all the noise and intensity that accompanies it. There will of course be some inconveniences, with traffic likely to be a sore thumb that week. That the days of the summit, November 18 and 19, have been declared non-working holidays will hopefully ease gridlock and make Manila a more pleasant experience for our visitors.
As we prepare for the APEC summit, it should be said that the government and the private sector has done a really good job in making our hosting of APEC world-class. The preparatory conferences have been done well and without a hitch. It seems that the participants in all these pre-Summit meetings have been enjoying them and have maximized their value for economic and cultural exchange.
I was in the government in 1996 when the Philippines last hosted the APEC Summit with President Fidel V. Ramos welcoming the leaders to Manila. That was challenging to do and we did that well. The Aquino government has done the same and risen to the challenge. It should be congratulated for its good preparations.
I am personally hoping for the success of the summit. In fact, I am preparing now a series of welcoming articles to publish during that period to help the country have a good and united face before the visitors.
Recently, however, two developments from Mindanao threaten to be a specter over the APEC Summit. These are the Bangsamoro question and the Lumad killings. I urge our decision-makers to pay attention to these two matters so the country does not suffer a black eye during the run-up to the summit. Maybe I might be exaggerating this, but I am concerned that things could come to a head on these issues in November and crises could flare up if they are not addressed early.
For the Bangsamoro question, by November, we should have clarity on whether a Bangsamoro Basic Law will be enacted by Congress and on whether that law is acceptable to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). While the MILF leadership has promised that there will be no going back to war if there is no BBL or if the one enacted does not conform with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, tensions would sure rise and probably reach a crescendo in November, coinciding with the APEC Summit. - From 

A SOJOURNER’S VIEW: Cinema in situ

NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/20 September) —IN SITU,  the Latin phrase that literally means “in its (original) place or position” as well as “on site” or “in position”,  “locally”, “on the premises” or “in place” to describe an event where it takes place – is not what one would think of when the name of Nabunturan, capital town of Compostela Valley Province,  comes up in a conversation.
But these past four days – 17 to 19 September 2015 –  I was just amazed howin situwas the appropriate term to use when referring to an event that took place in this ordinary Mindanawon town.  This rather amazing event is the NABIFILMEX or the Nabunturan Independent Film Exhibition where most of the films were shown in situ.  Meaning, there were short films made by the ordinary folks of Nabunturan showing in their original place of origin, that is, films locally produced.  And the actual site where the films were shown was the local plaza of the town where there is a park where people can sit on cement benches or grass.
This was alsoin situ,referring to the yesteryears of my youth when films were shown for free in the town plaza of Digos where I grew up; the original drive-in theatre or as the NABIILMEX would label – an open air theatre or cinema in open spaces.  What a delight these past four nights were for those who made it to the film showings of this very local (very yano ngafilm festival).  The goings on of this film exhibition  paralleled the thrills of cinema romantically profiled by the award-winning Italian film CINEMA PARADISO, now considered  an extraodinary film classic.
Through my elementary years and early high school, there were those vehicles owned by merchandising corporations selling soap, cigarettes, etc. that traversed the small towns delivering goods to the sari-sari stores. While going around town, the driver announced that he would be showing films in the evening in the town plaza in case there was no rain. At night, the driver  unfolded the gadgets for film showing; most films were old Hollywood films including those about cowboys, comedians and Christ Jesus. In-between, there were the endless advertisements. We had to bring chairs if we wanted to sit comfortably.  Of course, there were enterprising vendors selling boiled peanuts.
NABILMEX  brought those memories back as we satin situto watch the films at the town open air plaza in Nabunturan. A big screen – the size corresponding to what cinemas have – was set up facing the park and the people could either sit on cement benches or on the grass. The sound system made it possible for everyone to clearly hear the films’ sounds.  This time, however, these were no longer long feature films from Hollywood.  Instead, we and  Nabunturan’s madlang people watched short films made by budding filmmakers, most of whom are ordinary folks including those who are citizens of Nabunturan.  On an average, these were films that lasted from 10 to 20 minutes and these were in Bisaya and Tagalog with English sub-titles. - From

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bukidnon youth leader cuts on expenses to save money for Pope’s visit

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 January) – A youth leader obliged herself to cut on expenses so she can save money for the plane ticket to Manila as one of the delegates of the Diocese of Malaybalay to the youth encounter with Pope Francis on Sunday, Jan. 18, at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
Shiela Lumambas, head of the youth formation core team of the diocese, said that after knowing she could join the trip to Manila she started to save so as not to miss the opportunity to see the Pope. She flew to Manila on Friday.
“It is an investment for young people, it is an opportunity I could not miss,” she said.
Lumambas, 23, works as associate editor of the church-run Ang Bandilyo newspaper for her day job.
She said young people like her took the opportunity to travel to Manila for the youth encounter with the Pope because others need to travel abroad just to see him.
But since it entails cost, she and the other delegates have to make sacrifices.
The Episcopal Commission on Youth allotted 60 slots for the delegation from the Malaybalay Diocesan Commission on Youth. But Lumambas said only 53 confirmed to attend due mainly to the cost of travel.
She was able to buy a round-trip Laguindingan (Misamis Oriental)-Manila ticket at a discounted rate of P3,000 plus. But others were unable to avail of such rate.
She said many intended to attend because of the possibility of a free ride on a Philippine Air Force’s C-130 plane. They initially submitted 15 names and later 40, but no confirmation came.
Seven members of their delegation tried to get slots on the PAF plane at 6a.m. on January 16 from Cagayan de Oro City but failed.
Lumambas cited that Jay-ar Yabo, a member of the Bukidnon youth delegation, was picked to join a lunch with Pope Francis in Manila. - From

Town police chief, deputy killed in Bukidnon grenade attacks

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – A Bukidnon town police chief and his deputy died when another policeman lobbed grenades at them after a gathering and dinner Monday night, reports said.
The fatalities were identified as Senior Insp. Crisanto Molina and Insp. Dexter Garcia, both of the municipality of Cabanglasan, which is situated in Bukidnon’s border with Agusan del Sur.
The suspect, PO1 Gorospe Cairo of the Cabanglasan municipal police who was reported to have tested positive in a drug test, is at large, municipal officials said.
Police Inspector Jiselle Ester Lou M. Longakit, Bukidnon provincial police office public information officer, said manhunt operations are ongoing against the suspect.
Hansel Echavez, chief of the Bukidnon Provincial Public Affairs and Information and Assistance Office, quoted Cabanglasan Vice Mayor Lolita Obsioma as saying that Cairo lobbed the first grenade at the dining hall. The blast killed Molina instantly after being hit with shrapnel in the head and back. Garcia ran after the suspect, but the latter threw another grenade, killing Garcia.
Before the incident, local officials have cited requests they made to pull out two police officers in Cabanglasan who were reported to have tested positive in the drug test. Molina was quoted to have said he was waiting for the order from the regional and provincial police offices for the pull out.
Longakit said Cairo was supposed to report to the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office on Tuesday while undergoing the process of pre-charge evaluation of the administrative case that will be filed against the erring police officers.
Both Molina and Garcia, she added, joined the Philippine National Police through its Lateral Entry Program, a scheme that allows professionals from select fields to enter the police force obtaining inspector ranks without going through the Philippine National Police Academy. - From

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hundreds displaced, 7 dead, 3 missing in Valencia floods

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 August) — At least 226 families or 793 individuals have been displaced by floods in five barangays in Valencia City, the Philippine Information Agency-Bukidnon on Wednesday said, citing figures from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
The floods were caused by heavy monsoon rains that hit Valencia and other parts of Bukidnon this week.
The evacuees, who started fleeing Tuesday and were housed at the Valencia City gymnasium, came from Barangays Bagontaas, Poblacion, Guinoyoran, Sugod and Tugaya.
PIA-Bukidnon quoted City DRRM Officer Alejandro Larosa as saying that the floods totally damaged 18 houses and partially damaged 36 others.
Larosa said seven persons were confirmed to have drowned as flash floods hit the city at around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Among the casualties was a 6-month old baby boy who was rescued on Tuesday afternoon but died in a hospital on Wednesday morning, he said.
The boy’s mother identified only as Gina also died. Rescuers retrieved his body on Wednesday, the official said.
Larosa said a rescue team was still looking for the body of the boy’s father at Panlibatuhan Creek.
He added three persons identified as Bobsky Batistil, 7; Epifanio Canyamu, 23; and Eddie Eroisa were reported missing after they were swept by the rampaging waters. (MindaNews) - From

Road project to shorten travel time from Marawi to Cagayan de Oro

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/08 August) — Travel time from Marawi City to Cagayan de Oro City will soon be shortened from 3.5 hours to 1.5 hours with the concreting of the Kapai-Tagoloan-Talakag road.
Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Lanao Del Sur Mamintal Adiong Jr. signed in Kapai, Lanao del Sur last Friday the memorandum of agreement (MOA) allowing the provincial government to implement the project starting this year, with the concreting of the road from Kapai to Tagoloan, also in Lanao del Sur, the last ARMM town en route to Talakag, Bukidnon in Region 10.
Groundbreaking rites were also held for the Phase II of the Kapai-Tagoloan road.
Kapai town is 30 minutes away from Marawi City and is the gateway to secluded Tagoloan town, the last frontier in the tri-boundary of Lanao Del Sur, Bukidnon and Cagayan De Oro City.
“This road project is part of the vision of Gov. Mujiv Hataman to open a ‘short cut’ that will allow residents of Lanao del Sur to reach urban centers like Cagayan de Oro at the shortest time possible, no longer passing through Iligan City,” said Engr. Don Loong, Secretary of the ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways.
Loong stressed that for decades, farmers travel for half a day before reaching the town center of  Marawi City to bring their agricultural goods, paying excessive transportation fare.
At worst, some travel on foot for almost a day, he said.
“The impact of this now is cheaper transport cost and faster transactions for farmers to bring their goods to the market, Hataman said in his speech after the signing of the MOA.
He added that the project will also open up vast tracts of potential agricultural land for more rural development initiatives including the attraction of tourism for Lake Lanao.
“Soon we can have trucks to bring the goods to the people, easy access to urban trading, health facilities, government offices and education for children” Hataman said.
A press release from the DPHW-ARMM quoted District Engineer Luzvimin Sani as saying the province’s first district engineering office had earlier determined the capability of the provincial government to implement the project in terms of human capacity, equipment and other resources. - From

DENR clarifies report on illegal logs seized in Davao del Norte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 August) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Southern Mindanao has clarified that illegal logs seized in Davao del Norte in the first semester of 2015 did not come from neighboring Bukidnon province.
A MindaNews report on July 27 quoted Victor Billones, Chief of the Enforcement Division of DENR XI, as saying that 32 suspected illegal loggers were arrested in Davao Region, 17 cases of which were noted in Davao del Norte.
Billones was reported to have said this did not make Davao del Norte as a hotspot and that the province has a strategic location for the transport of illegal logs, most especially coming from neighboring Bukidnon area.
In a letter sent to MindaNews, Billones clarified that what he meant was that Davao del Norte has a high concentration of Wood Processing Plants (WPPs), and that it is a “strategic location and a convergence area from neighboring provinces or region like Davao Oriental, Agusan and Bukidnon.”
But this “cannot be construed that illegal logs are transported to a strategic location in Davao del Norte and that said illegal logs are sourced from the neighboring Bukidnon area,” he said.
“I know for a fact how strict the LGU of Bukidnon is in their implementation of the forestry laws, rules, and regulations .. but also the fact on how they have effectively managed to protect their area from illegal cutting of trees,” he said.
Of the 32 suspected illegal loggers, four from Davao del Norte and one from Compostela Valley have been charged for violation of PD 389, also known as “Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines, as amended by PD 705.
DENR XI has intensified its anti-illegal logging drive in the region, along with the military which set up 10 checkpoints throughout the region. DENR XI hired 59 forest protection officers who report any illegal logging operations in their communities.
Authorities have so far recovered 521.90 cubic meters with market value placed at P1.9 million. This is higher than last year’s record of 510.32 cubic meters of logs worth P1.8 million from 56 apprehensions for the entire year of 2014.
Billones attributed the increase to participation of the community in reporting suspected illegal loggers.(MindaNews) - From

Thursday, September 10, 2015

ANGARAY’S TAKE: Customizing education despite ASEAN 2015

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/27 June) Harnessing the potentials of the people behind the creative industry is one objective of Arts Management Incentives, which I found very interesting. The Cultural Center of the Philippines recently brought together the artists, teachers, cultural workers, curators, film-makers, writers, designers and tourism officers for the gathering on June 25 to 26, 2015 in Xavier University. I contextualized the inputs of the speakers in reviewing a curriculum. Among those who spoke in the gathering were: Nestor Jardin on Creative Industry, Luwindela Concha on Copyright, Dennis Marasigan on Marketing the Arts, Steven Fernandez on Social Media Marketing and Diwa de Leon on Online Platform. The author with Diwa de Leon, one of the famous video-bloggers. Explore his craft in The String Player Gamer via youtube. Management program includes analysis, planning, implementation and control; and these four concepts are very fitting in curriculum development. At present, outcome-based curricula shape the content of higher education. It gears adjustments to learning processes, school structure and to the culture of the school itself. This educational perspective challenges both the educators and social scientists to work together and prescribe the best education. Analyzing the local needs of the community will guide the setting of goals of a particular school whose service must benefit first the locals. Though schools now have to gear up for the Asean 2015 but its accountability to the localities remains. Planning includes re-structuring of manpower and over-hauling of curricula to befit the characteristics and learning styles of today’s students. Computer-motivated learning requires computer-motivated teaching. This is one aspect of implementing a new educational landscape where we should find e-school, e-book, e-library, e-notebook and the like. Dr. Oscar B. Cabaňelez, president of Bukidnon State University (BSU), has recently declared the Quality Policy of BSU to assure the public of a high quality of service from the school. One philosophy of management is Societal Marketing Concept that goes beyond just achieving organizational goals and delivering goods to the market. Businessmen’s language explains this concept as the consideration of the society’s well-being; and individual’s well-being. With this philosophy, I go for customized education. Self-actualization, where school is an avenue, is a universal aim of education thus; it requires a personalized manner of learning and teaching. Customized education disbands cognitive uniformity and promotes diverse interpretation of knowledge. Customized education exalts the learner’s self. Customized education means I should know my students, their skills, interests, psychological condition or their needs and design a learning process to befit their level of readiness for intellectual engagement. This sounds unrealistic but ideal. Is there a space for customized education in the outcome-based curriculum? Could it be accommodated in the paradigm of the Philippine schools? Maybe. As I listened to varied discourses for two days in that activity sponsored by the Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts, I thought of ‘selling my products’ or promoting my subjects creatively by customizing my teaching material. I was just right then when www.balugto.blogspot was born in 2013 in Davao City with the intention of providing literature to my students and to any researchers whose interests are on the people, the places and the culture of Bukidnon. I’m still in the threshold of the digital world, at least, but I’m willing to work on a customized teaching. -From

Educator’s Voice: Bitter Bites of K to 12

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/03 September) Five and fighting! The K to 12 Program of the Department of Education has been around for five years since its implementation in 2010.Yes, five years has passed yet we still debate whether K to 12 is a help or harm, bitter or better, and go or no. We still talk of it like bread out of the oven, fresh and warm.Up until now, we still share the same worries and fears. On May 9, 2015, thousands of people gathered around Liwasang Bonifacio and rallied for the suspension of RA 10533 otherwise known as K to 12 Law.The call against K to 12 was led by Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV. They laid out, one after another, bad and bitter bits of the K to 12. They argued that Philippines is not ready for that one giant step. Their concerns include lack of classrooms, shortage of teachers, and loss of jobs for those teaching in college, and more expenses for the added two years in high school. At some point, they may have a good score.The new program entails gigantic preparation. We can’t just sit around and play safe. We want to be sure than sorry. It needs further and stronger study. Better yet, get everyone involved in a survey. This big change doesn’t and shouldn’t happen overnight. It needs more time. If it was a piece of cake, it would come out half-baked. We can’t just close our eyes and play dead amidst these possible problems. Classrooms, if not out-of-number, are out-of-order. Students and teachers struggle in make-shift classrooms. Some even hold classes in the gymnasium. More than 60 students crowd themselves inside a small classroom. We even need more books, manuals, and materials,especially that pupils in primary education use their native tongue as medium of instruction due to the MTB-MLE (Mother-Tongue Based Multi-Lingual Education) which is a major part of K to 12. Add to that, teachers need to undergo seminars and trainings to orient them of the new methods, policy, and grading system. The program is in need of thousand more teachers particularly for the classes required for junior and senior high schools. Even prior to the implementation of the said program, the country is in dire want for teachers, which the government can hardly cope with. Two of the strongest points against the program are unemployment of teachers and employees in universities and colleges, and the two more years which parents and most students consider a burden. One more year and the pioneers of the new curriculum will have entered Senior High School. It is during this initial stage when enrolment to colleges and universities shall drop for two school years. This will mean massive unemployment of college instructors, employees, and staff. What will these workers do? Where will they go? - From

EDUCATOR’S VOICE: The Power of Giving Read more at:

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/07 September 2015) There’s more to life than wasting your money, energy and most especially your time while you can do something that can be beneficial. We live in this world that is full of changes and the rise of technology. We all have wants. Yes, there is a difference between wants and needs. Most of us just waste our money for unnecessary things. We have what we call insecurities, and these insecurities we all have seen on the television and ads. For example, a beauty product that gives a branding of looking like the endorser or a celebrity. What we don’t know is that it does not give us contentment instead to strive more even though what we have is what we have. To cut the chase, why not live and be contented. There is another way you can do for your money and time. The best thing you can do is to give. Why don’t you share something to the needy. There are many things you can offer like giving foods, clothes, footwear or a simple yet fun program. The moment you remember other people who suffers from famine and poverty, you may be their blessing. Each of our brothers and sisters who are unfortunate in life, they also pray to meet someone to help them. IT MIGHT BE YOU the answer. The power of giving is essential because it gives you a pure joy and fulfilment. It is such an honor to be a blessing to others. The moment you share your time and give something, it touches the lives of the needy. You may not know their feelings, but deep inside, they are rejoicing and thanking the Lord and you. In the Bible, Proverbs 22:9 said, whoever is generous will be blessed because he has shared his food with the poor. By giving, it creates camaraderie to others and the sense of belonging. Our Lord, parents, school teaches us to be generous because life is not constant. That is why if we receive many blessings, let us also remember that someone also is in need. We value our money so much because we work hard to earn it. But let us also think that if we just spend it right away, we might think as well to spend it wisely. Through giving, there is love. Love and affection is the key why we help others. Life is too complicated and there are so many things yet to come. That is why we should not be selfish. Instead, we also care and help the society, the people and of course, our self to be loving and caring. As the song of the late Whitney Houston goes, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. The song has a selfish meaning but the thought is true. It order for you to love others, you need first to love yourself. This world will be a better place if all of us will unite and extend hand in hand. Above all, God works in mysterious ways. He may make you as the Good Samaritan to others and the answer to their prayers. Give and be a blessing! (Contributed to BukidnonNews.Net by Jenelyn A. Cid) - From

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

‘It was the worst flood ever in our place’

VALENCIA CITY (MindaNews/06 August) – She had lived with floods in previous years. But for Leilani Cabanez, the flood that raged along Panlibatuhan Creek in this city on Tuesday was the worst she had experienced so far.
Cabanez said it was the first time the water level of the creek rose so high that she and most of her neighbors were unable to bring any belongings with them as they tried to escape to safety.
“I brought nothing. The clothes I’m wearing now are all donated,” she said in the vernacular.
Cabanez’s house stands beside the creek in Purok 16, Barangay Poblacion. She said her house was not damaged but was still dirty with mud and debris.
She said she believes the flood was caused by a “buhawi” (twister). “Dako man gyud kaayo ang tubig, unya morag naglukot-lukot og maayo ba” (The water was so big and raged like waves).
Cedenda Vina, Cabanez’s neighbor and relative, also said it was the worst flood along Panlibatuhan Creek.
Vina said she started living in Purok 16 in 1992. She recalled that floods had occurred in the past years “pero dili ingon ani kagrabe” (not as bad as this one).
“Before, the water only flooded the floor of our house. But on Tuesday the water level already reached our window,” she said.
“Ingon ani kataas among bintana,” (Our windows are as high as this) she said, putting her right hand above her head while her left hand shook the head of her one-year old daughter who had started to cry.
Vina stands around five feet tall.
She said she was in nearby Barangay Bagontaas on Tuesday to attend her father-in-law’s burial when she heard about the flood.
She rushed home but it was too late to try to save their belongings. She would have been trapped inside by the rising water if not for the rescuers who threw a rope to them and pulled them to safety.
At the time, two of her seven children were still in school. The flood occurred around 3pm.
Norvin Yam-oc, a resident of Purok 6A, said he and his wife, Luisa, would have drowned too if not for the rescuers.
“I had to carry my wife on my shoulders while holding on to the rope thrown by the rescuers. She could no longer walk on the ground as the water was already so high,” Yam-oc said.
He said they managed to save some clothes but their appliances and two motorcycles were all damaged.
The flood on Tuesday displaced 226 families or 793 individuals. They were housed at the city gymnasium and provided rations by the local government. -From

Monday, September 7, 2015

“We suffer when our parents have no work”

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/02 May) — Fifteen year old Lito of Bukidnon joined his parents in the Labor Day march here last Friday to express how children suffer when their parents suffer from low wages and lack of job security.
“I am here with my parents because children also suffer when our parents do not have work. My father keeps on jumping from one job to another and what he receives can’t even sustain our family. As a result, all of us – our mother and my siblings — try our best to work as well to help,” Lito said.
Lito and his parents joined some 2,500 protesters from the different parts of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental in the march to commemorate Labor Day.
“Our activity is for the interest of our workers, we are gathering here to signify our intention for balanced labor practices. The rallies are staged simultaneously all over the Philippines. Ask and demand from our government to act on the rights of our workers, wage increase and also the problem on the never ending increase of basic commodities and public utilities,” Joel Maglungsod, Kilusang Mayo Uno vice president for political affairs, said.
Maglungsod reiterated that the government headed by President Benigno Aquino III has a lot of labor issues that need to be addressed.
“Now we have 12.1 million Filipino people who are unemployed or underemployed and more people are working without security of tenure due to contractualization. Our workers are shouting for 16,000 pesos across the board minimum wage both public and private,” said Manglunsod.
Wildon Barrios, KMU chairp in Nothern Mindanao pointed out the need for government to attend to the wage problem in Region 10.
“The nominal wage of workers here in region 10 is around 279 to 306 a day while our inflation has pushed up the family living wage at 1,086 per day for a family of around four to six while prices of basic goods and services had been continuing to increase,” said Barrios.
“There are other sectors in the service in malls, restaurants, banks, hotels, hospitals, media, call centers and others. There is also in construction sector that aside from being dangerous, the given salaries from the contractors are very low and don’t have benefits,” he added. -From

Malaysian, MisOr firms sign deal on 1M oil palm seeds for formers

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/12 May) — A leading Malaysian agribusiness firm entered into an agreement with a Misamis Oriental-based agricultural company on Monday to distribute one million of high quality oil palm seeds to farmers in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.
Felda Global Ventures (FGV) Vice President S. Palaniappan hailed the signing of the business partnership with Bali Oil Produce Corporation of Misamis Oriental as “a milestone.”
Palaniappan said the oil palm seeds they intend to distribute to farmers in the two provinces are assured of quality as these are backed by extensive research and development by their firm.
“This is a milestone in collaboration. The quality of our seeds is supported with extensive research and development by our company,” Palaniappan said.
He said they plan to distribute one million oil palm seedlings to farmers in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental through the help of Bali Oil Produce Corporation.
FGV is a leading agribusiness firm in Malaysia which uses its cutting edge technology from its research and development department to boost production of palm oil.
Manuel Boniao, chair of Bali Oil, said they will distribute the seedlings to farmers in the towns of Kalilangan , Maramag in Bukidnon and Tagoloan and Villanueva in Misamis Oriental.
He said they intend to cover 50,000 hectares in the first year of the arrival of seedlings.
“One major thing that is different here is that the farmers still own and till their lands unlike other agricultural companies that produce pineapple and bananas,” Boniao said.
“We are just adding more value and profitability to the farmers,” he added.
Boniao said they have tied up with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Cooperative Development Authority to provide soft loans to the farmers.
He said DBP has already agreed to provide loans to 1,750 farmers in the towns of Kalilangan, Pangantukan and Talakag towns in Bukidnon.
The distribution agreement between FGV and Bali Oil also included technology training for the farmers and nursery operations. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews) -From

Friday, September 4, 2015

BUKIDNON VIEWS: A Closer Look Into DepEd’s K to 12 Program

LOS BAÑOS (BukidnonNews.Net/25 June) To address the dismal state of education in the country, the government’s education department came up with the K to 12 program. In a discussion paper circulated by DepEd last Oct. 5, 2010, the following reasons are cited as to why K to 12 should be implemented: 1.) the previous curriculum is congested; 2.) Mediocre performance of students in 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) where Philippines ranked 34 out of 38 in HS II Math, 43 out of 46 in HS II Science; and 23 out of 25 for Grade 4 in Math and Science; 3.) Low passing rate of students in National Achievement Test (NAT) – 69.21% for Grade 6 and 46.38% for High School; 4.) Graduates are not ready enough to work or to pursue higher studies; 5.) College graduates in the Philippines are not recognized abroad. From the reasons cited above, it can be deduced that the K to 12 program seeks to upgrade the basic education curriculum in order to uplift our educational system. This, of course, is a laudable initiative when taken at face value. However, we need to treat it with caution as laudable initiatives nowadays are usually laced with unsavory motives. The PDAF and the DAP fiasco has taught us that it is not wise to readily believe what some government officials tell us. The K to 12 program sponsors argue that to be at par with international standards, the addition of two more years to the usual 10 year cycle is necessary. This line of argument banks on the idea that the lack of more instructional time for students to master core competencies is the culprit behind the country’s dismal state of education. But then, this argument becomes irrelevant in the actual implementation of the program. Why? Well, simply because the addition of two more years in the education cycle does not actually address the lack of instructional time for core competencies. The added two years are allotted for skills development that is meant to guarantee a ready supply of cheap labor. With this, it can safely be assumed then that K to 12 does not truly address the issue of a congested curriculum. Another buzzword from the K to 12 program is the so-called spiral approach. Proponents of the program claim that the spiral approach is better and that it is more beneficial in achieving mastery of core competencies. But then, how can this become favorable and better when we consider the fact that teachers usually have specializations? How can teachers efficiently teach lessons which are not in the domain of their specialization? Can we expect a chemistry teacher to be effective in teaching biology? Or perhaps for a statistics teacher to teach calculus? The answers are quite obvious. From the questions above, it can be gleaned that the effectiveness of the spiral approach hinges on the number of teachers available to cover all specializations. So this would mean that the government needs to hire even more teachers which is not feasible from a financial point of view. Another option would be to retrain all the teachers in order for them to be equipped for the spiral approach. This is not just financially unsound but also pragmatically flawed as it does not guarantee that the training (however comprehensive it might be) will produce effective teachers for the spiral approach. To address the effectiveness of teachers for the spiral approach would mean that the curriculum for teachers’ education should also be drastically altered and tailored to the spiral approach. Moreover, claims that the low passing rate of students in the NAT can be traced back to the previous curriculum are not well founded. To date, there is no solid research yet that ties the previous curriculum to low performance in the NAT. But even without research, it is easy to suppose that the low passing rate in the NAT can be attributed to a lot of factors which would include the lack of basic facilities like classrooms, and lack of well-trained teachers. -From