in Leyte intensify production for bigger market
By JAZMIN BONIFACIO
July 23, 2014
KANANGA, Leyte – The
Bangon Mini-Farms Association in Leyte is intensifying field test over
their 19 varieties of vegetable plantation and slowly tapping in to
big markets nationwide within the year.
It was learned that
Department of Agriculture, Land Bank of the Philippines and the 19th
Infantry Battalion Phil Army, a key facilitator of the project of
Bangon Mini Farm concept in Super Typhoon Yolanda affected areas in
Leyte will soon schedule a weeklong field unit audit to assess the
productivity of all the 19 vegetables required by the would be market
in Ormoc City and markets chains in Cebu.
Field audits shall cover
Ormoc City, Kananga, Capoocan, Carigara, San Isidro, Calubian and Jaro
all of Leyte province and will be assisted by the 19th Infantry
Battalion based in Kananga, Leyte.
Bangon Alpha rouse their
membership from 100 to 426 farmer-partners seven months after Super
Typhoon Yolanda. This increase in number was caused when original
members of Bangon conducted their own trainings to bring others to the
program, similar to what the 19th Infantry Battalion did to its
Farmers Associations in the municipalities of Kananga, Calubian, San
Isidro and Jaro and in Ormoc City.
And, recently, Bangon’s
Ormoc City cluster opened its farmer’s market in Brgy Camp Downes. The
market sells organic vegetable products and is open Friday to Sunday
According to Capt.
Christopher Badong, Civil Military Operations officer of the 19th
Infantry Battalion Philippine Army, the farmers are hoping more access
to institutions and big markets that will lead them to bottom line
growth. And with the market of their agricultural products they will
have to expand their markets to viable, sustainable businesses.
“The idea is, rather than
trying to bus people to farmers’ markets we decided to take their agri
products to where the neighborhoods are,” Badong stressed.
Badong said that they
continue to collaborate with other agencies to come up with different
strategies to help farmers market their produce.
And this can be attributed,
to various interventions being done by the government through the
Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies coupled with the
strong support of the farmers and stakeholders on various agricultural
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Nedy
Espulgar, commanding officer of 19th IB, said the program is indeed
beneficial to indigent farmers whose income is within the poverty
Filipinos are never destined
to be poor, according to Lt. Col. Espulgar.
“We all deserve to live a
life out of poverty for there are many ways of succeeding in life
especially that our country is blessed with vast natural resources
that we can capitalize on,” Espulgar added.
He stressed that in the
context of small farmers, many of them work very hard but still do not
enjoy the quality of life that they deserve.
“Our advocacy wants to see
this scenario change for the better and we hope to encourage future
and present farmers to think like entrepreneurs and uplift their
standard of living and hoping as well that the program will attract
more people, especially the rebels who chose to fight in bloody
battles rather than in ending poverty and hunger,” said Lt. Col.
championships return to South Africa, October 1-5
Over 70 countries invited to
compete in 2014 Kimberley Diamond Cup
July 23, 2014
SACRAMENTO, CA –
World Skateboarding Grand Prix (WSGP) announced today it has extended
invitations to over 70 countries to participate in this year's
Kimberley Diamond Cup World Skateboarding Championships (KDC) October
1-5. Presented by Kumba Iron Ore, the event draws the best
skateboarders from around the world to Kimberley, South Africa to
compete for the largest prize purse in skateboarding, more than
$500,000, and title of world champion.
"We have been working all
year to develop our member countries and this year's event is poised
to be the biggest international contest in skateboarding history with
close to 250 athletes participating," said Tim McFerran, president of
World Skateboarding Grand Prix.
The KDC championships
include vert contests and street style contests that are held on the
permanent state-of-the-art skatepark built specifically for the
championships and donated to the community, serving as a year-round
youth community center. The skatepark serves to foster youth
development and cultivate the next generation of skateboarders.
"It's something that we have
been doing for a few years now and we believe that more international
sporting events should have legacy projects and sustainability," said
McFerran. "We have already seen some countries pull out of bidding for
major events because they don't leave any lasting legacy; it's a few
days of events and then it's gone. We believe the future of sporting
events, including Rio in 2016, lies in social responsibility and in
creating long lasting benefits for host communities."
The WSGP championships, led
by Mcferran, are innovating the way sports events operate by creating
a real legacy and sustainable industry year-round in host countries,
focusing on developing youth and helping the underprivileged.
For more information on WSGP
or KDC and to learn more about sending representatives to compete in
the World Skateboarding Championships, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
TUCP: Yes to
emergency powers, No to generator sets, No to ILP
July 22, 2014
QUEZON CITY – The
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomes the move of
DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla in advising President Aquino to declare
a state of emergency in the power sector.
“We fully support the
invocation of Section 71 of EPIRA which will allow the President to
step in with programs to provide additional generation capacity. We,
however, strongly disagree with the proposal from the DOE and from the
generation sector that the way out of the current crisis will be
through the purchase of generation sets, to be financed through the
National Budget,“ said TUCP Executive Director Luis Corral.
“Gen Sets are a quick fix
but they will be very expensive and the power generated from gen sets
will be in the vicinity of P12 to 15 pesos per kWh,” he added. TUCP
stated that the crisis is not just the lack of power security but the
need to bring down power rates as well.
TUCP warned against the DOE
knee-jerk /quick fix as the situation in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao
are vastly different from each other. “We also deeply disagree with
the DOE recourse to the Interruptible Load Program (ILP). On the ILP,
when was it ever a social good to allow SM’s and Robinsons’ to run
their own generators for their own use air-conditioning and lighting
in their malls and allow pass through of their power costs to the
consumers of MERALCO,” explained Corral.
Instead, TUCP proposes that
the President using Section 71, convene a multi-agency and a
multi-sector group to assist him develop and craft the necessary
policies and strategies to address the power crisis. “We request the
President to include the entire economic cluster of his cabinet, the
business sector, organized labor and the consumers in fast tracking
policies and strategies for the next 24 months to ensure that the
crisis is addressed.” A comprehensive set of policies and a strategy
to temporarily allow government to build additional capacity should be
put in place and this should be complemented by policies and
strategies to bring power costs down.
To this end, TUCP suggests
and recommends to the President for his consideration the following:
a. The return of the
government to the generation sector temporarily until we establish a
reserve for each island grid in the range of 20% to 30% reserve of the
peak demand (The reserve requirement can be technically determined
factoring in population growth, projected GDP, power demand, expected
downtime for plants, and allowance for force majeure, etc.)
b. The suspension of the
Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) until such time that there is
sufficient capacity to provide a reliable reserve of 20 to 30 %
reserve for each grid. Unless there is sufficient capacity and a
reliable reserve, TUCP warns that WESM will remain a “seller’s market”
and there will be no competition, as prices will remain vulnerable to
“gaming” as what happened in November to December 2013. Also, in a
“seller’s market”, sweetheart deals will be rampant and prices will go
up due to speculation or economic and physical withholding of supply
in the market;
c. Ensure 100 percent
Bilateral contracts between the distribution sector and the generation
sector through public auctioning of both available capacity and
committed capacity for plants that are respectively already built by
the private sector and those that will be built if they have sure
customers to purchase their power. This will ensure that we will
approximate true cost and do away with the “gaming” and price gouging
that has characterized market behavior of the generation sector in the
WESM in recent years;
d. The replacement of the
Performance-Based Rate Making (PBR) formula with a 12 percent cap on a
simplified Return on rate Base formula for determining distribution
tariff. This will dramatically bring down power rates and make our
economy competitive in attracting investors and locators.
TUCP urged the President to
call upon all sectors to join in crafting a national response in the
face of this crisis. “We will be one with the President in this key
concern because as we have repeatedly told the economic cluster and
His Excellency in our meetings in 2012 and 2013: “If there is no
power, there are no investors, and there will be no new jobs”. Corral
said, “We hope to solve the power crisis which is the key in bringing
about new jobs and saving current jobs.”
“We had the opportunity to
propose to the President as early as 2012 the declaration of a state
of emergency which we reiterated in 2013. It is unfortunate that it
has come to this, but nonetheless we will stand with the President in
addressing the crisis. We urge him to tap into the expertise of both
labor and business groups, of academics and power professionals in
sifting through the options of what will be the best way forward. Let
us not adopt a one-size-fits-all solution but one that is based on a
full-options approach, this crisis should be utilized by the President
as an opportunity box to move collectively with the stakeholders in
ensuring inclusive growth in the last two years of his
administration,” said Corral.
19IB and Bangon
Mini-Farms Association eye nationwide market chain
By DPAO, 8ID PA
July 21, 2014
KANANGA, Leyte – The
19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion and Bangon Mini-Farms Association
in Leyte are eyeing a nationwide market chain for their vegetable
This development was pushed
during the Board of Trustees meeting for the Bangon Mini-Farms
Association Alpha Sector Inc. held on Wednesday, July 16 at
Headquarters 19th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte.
Director Domingo Diaz,
member of LandBank Board of Trustees who pioneered the Bangon Mini
Farm concept in Super Typhoon “Yolanda” affected areas in Samar and
Leyte, said a memorandum of agreement is underway between Bangon and a
market chain in Cebu.
With this significant
progress, Mr. Gil Carandang, the Father of Philippine Organic Farming
who also sits in the Board of Trustees for the Bangon Mini-Farms Alpha
Sector Association Inc., is scheduled to conduct a weeklong field
audit to assess 19 types of vegetables required by the would-be
market. The vegetables requested by the market chain are currently on
intensive field test at Bangon pilot farms.
Field audits will cover
pilot farms at Ormoc City, Kananga, Capoocan, Carigara, San Isidro,
Calubian and Jaro, all of Leyte province and will be assisted by the
19th Infantry Battalion.
During the meeting, Director
Diaz handed over the Alpha Sector’s Certificate of Incorporation (COI)
which was issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 18
this year. The COI contains Company Reg. Nr. CN201411778 and Company
TIN 008-801-182 signed by Dir. Ferdinand B. Sales, of SEC’s Company
Registration and Monitoring Department.
The membership of Bangon
Mini-Farms Association Alpha Sector Inc. is now placed at 426, seven
months after ST Yolanda.
Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar,
commanding officer of 19IB said, “The program is beneficial to farmers
whose income is within the poverty threshold. With this program, a
farmer with 1000 square meters of tillable land can earn up to
P16,000.00 per month.”
TUCP, business and
other labor groups meet to prepare for unemployment, retrenchments and
business shut down due to power crisis
July 21, 2014
QUEZON CITY – The
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is scheduled to meet
Wednesday with various business and labor groups to draw up measures
amid the adverse ramifications of the current power crisis to
employment and stability of businesses in the country, TUCP executive
director Louie Corral announced yesterday.
“We have no national
strategy to address the looming power crisis. So, the TUCP, other
labor groups, consumer and business organizations will meet on
Wednesday with the aim of figuring out a recommendation to the
government on how to minimize the impact of a full-blown power crisis
precluded by prolonged rotational brownouts currently prevailing in
many key areas Luzon and in Mindanao. TUCP wants the government to be
prepared when the ‘perfect storm’ caused by lack of power policy hits
the country because it’s the workers who’ll be whip hard when the
storm comes,” Corral said.
With one of the highest
electricity rates in the world, the country remains unattractive to
new investments that create quality jobs resulting to a static
unemployment of 3.046 million in April 2013 to 2.924 million in April
2014 while underemployed are 11.057 million and 11.501 million
covering the same period. With the rotational brownouts in the
equation, TUCP fears many jobs might be retrenched with companies
affected by inadequate power supply.
TUCP and its labor coalition
called Nagkaisa has recommended twice to President Aquino during the
previous pre-labor Labor day dialogue since 2013 the creation of a
multi-agency, multi-sectoral presidential task force headed by him and
composed of the economic and infrastructure clusters of the cabinet,
business chambers, labor, consumer and power industry players. The aim
of the task force is to address the insufficiency of power and the
need to determine affordability and competitiveness of power rates in
Energy Secretary Jericho
Petilla responded in May 2014 with the issuance of Department Order DO
2014-05-0009 which creates a study group under the DOE. The TUCP and
the Nagkaisa, however, refused to participate because they are asking
for a presidential task force and not a study group.
Before the onset of
rotational brownouts in NCR before typhoon Glenda wrought havoc last
week, Corral said the TUCP has urged Petilla to declare a national
emergency on power ‘so that collectively we come up with the right
solutions.’ However, Petilla said they are studying the suggestion.
“The fate of all industry
roadmaps particularly the employment targets is dependent on how we
address the power crisis right now. We need a truthful picture of our
future power supply so that we can come up with clear strategies and
coping mechanisms and avert companies shutting down and retrenchments
of workers. A flawed power industry roadmap will be fatal to the
economy. We cannot afford to hinge on the day-to-day weather
predicament the fate of the employment of millions of workers,” Corral
stressed adding: “we emphasize that without sufficient and affordable
power, there will be no investors and there will be no new jobs.”
TUCP is recommending that
government temporarily return to the power generation business until
there is sufficient supply to restore business confidence, a return to
tariff-setting based on 12% cap return-on-rate-base (RORB) to bring
down the electricity prices to make the country regionally
competitive, and the suspension of WESM in favor of bilateral
contracting between generators and distributors overseen through a
public auction by DOE and Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure true
costs and not speculative and “gaming” costs.
Allege massive cronyism in
reiterate demand of full-disclosure of DAP projects’ details, says
devil is in the details
By Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng
July 19, 2014
QUEZON CITY – An
urban poor group called on Palace officials to reiterate their call
for the full disclosure of the details of projects infused with
Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds. They specifically
wanted to know which companies were awarded with contracts stimulated
The Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa
ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML) believes that the companies which were
granted projects fueled with juggled public funds are
heavily-connected with President Benigno Aquino III, they allege that
they are either corporations identified with close associates and
Secretary Butch Abad of the
Budget Department recently released a list containing 101 projects
worth P144.4 billion that were implemented between 2011 and 2013 with
the supposed economic stimulus program.
“The fiscal abuse hatched by
the Palace could easily translate to anomalous and highly-dubious
transactions since it did not go through budget deliberations in
Congress for scrutiny. If not, then why did they not go through
standard operating procedure and be a fiscal dictator,” said KPML
leader, Orly Gallano.
“The fleshy features of each
transaction using DAP funds are what the people want to know. As the
most religious taxpayers, we have the right to know where our taxes
were spent, how and to whom they were awarded. The devilish side of
DAP lies in the details,” he asserted.
Despite the clamor for
disclosure the Palace officials have not budged despite the obvious
discrepancies with the document they submitted before the Supreme
Court before it was declared unconstitutional and those recently
Documents submitted before
the high court indicated that the Palace spent more than P177 billion.
The urban poor leader
alleged that, “No amount of sanitizing could hide the fact that the
DAP was used for political patronage, undermining of supposed co-equal
branches of government, corruption and amassing of wealth of Aquino
cronies and relatives through anomalous deals”.
“The more Aquino and Abad
refuse to heed the demands of the people for full disclosure and deny
the people justice, will only fuel their emotions and heighten the
clamor for his ouster and establishment of a political system that
will genuinely serve the interest of the nation’s poor majority,”
The KPML together with ally
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino just recently announced that they
are now calling for the ouster of Aquino and the establishment of a
government of the masses and not the constitutional takeover of the
The groups vows to mobilize
thousands of its members and affiliates on July 28, Aquino’s 5th State
of the Nation Address.
disaster-ready LGUs, calls on mayors to build better, safer
DILG Press Release
July 19, 2014
QUEZON CITY –
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas today lauded local
officials who worked round the clock in leading their constituents to
safer grounds before the onslaught of typhoon Glenda, saying their
efforts were responsible for low casualty rate during the calamity.
“Binabati ko ang mga lokal
na opisyal sa kanilang maagap na pagtugon sa panawagan ng ating
pamahalaan na maging handa laban sa ano mang uri ng kalamidad. Ang
mababang bilang ng casualty ay isang indikasyon na tayo ay unti unti
nang nagiging handa,” said Roxas, who is vice chairman for
preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
Council (NDRRMC) said.
At the same time, Roxas
expressed sympathy to families and friends of the fatalities who
according to latest NDRRMC count has reached 51.
“Ako po ay nakikiramay sa
mga kababayan natin na nawalan ng mahal sa buhay at patuloy po tayo na
nanawagan sa ating local government units na kumilos para hindi lang
paigtingin ang kanilang mga disaster risk reduction plans kundi para
gawing mas maayos at mas ligtas ang mga komunidad na kanilang
nasasakupan,” the DILG chief said.
Roxas said that “one death
is one too many” and local government units (LGUs) should work harder
to achieve the “zero casualty” target of the NDRRMC, of which local
DRRMCs are part of.
He cited as an example the
Provincial Government of Albay which again achieved “zero casualty”
owing to its effective disaster risk reduction and management plan
that was put into place by the local officials and the people in
so-called disaster-prone areas.
The disaster-readiness of
Albay and other LGUs in the Bicol area, he said, is something worth
Last Monday, Roxas
distributed to members of the League of Municipality of the
Philippines – Luzon Cluster the LGU Disaster Preparedness Journal - A
Checklist of Minimum Actions for Mayors prepared by the DILG to serve
as guide to local chief executives to help them prepare against the
impact of climate change-triggered natural calamities.
According to Roxas, LGUs are
mandated by Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Act of 2010 as “first responder” to ensure
the safety and resiliency of communities in facing the challenges of
The “Checklist of Minimum
Actions for Mayors” calls for the creation of the local disaster risk
reduction management structures and systems to be mobilized before,
during and after natural calamities; institutionalize policies and
plans; enhance competency of the structures through various trainings;
and compliment the competency by purchasing and preparing the needed
hardware and supplies.
Call for resumption
of GPH-NDFP peace talks generates support from broad array of sectors
July 15, 2014
QUEZON CITY – “The
peace talks have been stalled since 2011,” said Bp. Deogracias Iñiguez.
“We challenge both the GPH and the NDFP panels to muster the political
will to resolve the current impediments to the continuation of the
“All of those whom we have
approached to support the call for the resumption of the GPH-NDFP
peace talks readily agreed to be included as convenor, or at the
minimum, to sign the unity statement we have drafted,” said Bp. Elmer
Bolocon of the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum.
“With more than 50 convenors
representing peace advocates, church people, sectoral and people’s
organizations, and even some government officials, we have launched
our campaign Kapayapaan, in a big way today July 15, 2014 at the
Claret AV room, Mahinhin Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, Quezon City,”
said Bp. Bolocon.
“In looking at the state of
the nation, we could not gloss over the reality that a civil war is
currently raging in the country,” Angelito Manalili, convenor of
Kapayapaan and former dean of the UP-College of Social Work and
Community Development said.
“It does not really matter
who we believe – the AFP who is claiming that it is winning the war
against the CPP-NPA-NDFP or the CPP-NPA who says that its forces are
growing and are present in majority of the provinces in the country –
the fact of the matter is that the civil war has been going on for
decades already; it has been affecting the country; and it appears
that it would be here to stay for as long as the roots of the armed
conflict have not been addressed,” said Manalili.
“This civil war is rooted in
poverty, landlessness, joblessness, lack of social justice,” said
Manalili. “So if we want just peace, these problems must be addressed
by the peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP.”
“My son Jonas has devoted
his life to better the conditions of farmers through his advocacy for
genuine agrarian reform, harnessing the collective strength of
farmers, and enabling them to increase their productivity,” said Edita
Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas and wife of press freedom
icon, the late Joe Burgos.
“For this, he was taken from
us by the military and has been missing since. I think the peace talks
could achieve a lot in addressing the plight of the farmers. Also as
we in Desaparecidos pursue our search for our missing loved ones and
seek justice, we also believe that the resumption of peace talks
between the GPH and the NDFP would help us in our efforts. Isn’t the
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) about justice?” Edith Burgos added.
“We believe that the
implementation of the CARHRIHL and the reconvening of the Joint
Monitoring Committee would aid us in our search for our kin,” Edita
“We have to push for the
resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks now. The window of opportunity
is fast closing. In my experience of serving three presidents, I have
observed that at the last year of an administration, nothing much
could be done anymore. There is truth in the term ‘lame duck
president’, said Rep. Silvestre Bello, former chief of the negotiating
panel of the government, then called the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines (GRP).
“We must urgently push for
the resumption of the peace talks. Both the GPH and NDFP panels could
start by honoring the previously signed agreements. A lot of efforts
were put into the crafting of those agreements. The Joint Agreement on
Safety and Immunity Guarantees alone took more than 100 drafts before
being signed by both sides,” said Rep. Bello.
The initial list of
convenors and signatories to the unity statement include, Archbishop
Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao, Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando
Pampanga, Bishop Narciso Abellana of Romblon, Bishop Gerardo Alminaza
of San Carlos, Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, Bishop Joel Baylon of
Legazpi, Bishop Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa, Bishop Broderick
Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Bishop Roberto Mallari of San
Jose Nueva Ecija , Bishop Edgardo Juanich of Taytay, Palawan, Bishop
Reuel Marigza of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines,
Bishop Lito Cruz of the IFI, Re. Rex Reyes of the National Church of
Christ of the Philippines, Bishop Felixberto Calang of the IFI in
Mindanao, Bishop Joel Tendero of Southern Tagalog, Fr. Ramon Caluza,
provincial superior of CICM, Sr,. Maureen Catabian, provincial
superior of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, Makabayan president
Satur Ocampo, Dr. Carol Pagaduan Araullo of Bayan, Elmer Labog of KMU,
former Representatives Mong Palatino and Rafael Mariano, Councilor
Leah Librado of Davao City, Atty. Roan Libarios, Joel Lamangan, Davao
City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, among others.
“We are addressing our calls
to both the Aquino government and the NDFP: Resume the peace talks.
Honor existing agreements. Address the roots of the armed conflict,”
said Bp. Deogracias Iñiguez.
“Resume, Honor, Address are
our simple calls. If both the GPH and the NDFP heed our calls, we
believe that a just and lasting peace could be made a reality,” Bp.
Deogracias Iñiguez concluded.
Meanwhile, during the launch
of Kapayapaan, the chairman of the NDFP peace talks panel sent a
message expressing willingness to engage in informal talks “without
“This is a welcome
development,” said Bp. Iñiguez. This could push our campaign forward