Mindanao Times » Jimmy K. Laking http://mindanaotimes.net Tue, 25 Sep 2018 01:04:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 STRIKE HOME|Folayang the face of MMA; indigenous peoples’ champ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-homefolayang-the-face-of-mma-indigenous-peoples-champ/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-homefolayang-the-face-of-mma-indigenous-peoples-champ/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2016 00:52:45 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35773 ]]> NEXT TO ring icon and Philippine senator Manny Pacquiao, the hottest Filipino commodity in the ring today is Baguio City’s Eduard Folayang who dealt Japan’s Shinya Aoki a first-class upset on Friday in Singapore to crown himself the Mixed Martial Art lightweight world champion.

It was a classic case between a world-class striker in Folayang and a superb grappler in Aoki who was riding a seven-win streak.

Determined to leave the ring still the champion, Aoki took the challenger in the first round through a series of clinches and take-downs but failed to clinch a submission as Foloyang defended well.

The second round shaped up like the first but this time Folayang was coming loose and scored with telling strikes to the body and legs.

Again, Aoki took down Folayang early on the third but the challenger deftly wriggled out only to launch a fierce counter-attack with knee and hand strikes that sent Aoki reeling in a corner, forcing the referee to stop the contest.

In 2012 when Folayang fought in Singapore, the late Ram Maxey sent a message to ask how come Folayang spoke good English.

I replied that he was a high school teacher before he decided that the octagon was a more appropriate venue for his incredible MMA skills than the classroom.

In Baguio City, Folayang is part of the pioneering Team Lakay stable of MMA artists who have inspired a new generation of young players to follow in their footsteps.

Until four years ago, the team, grounded on Wushu and boxing, was known more for its striking ability than its ground techniques—a situation taken advantage of by foreign opponents well-versed in wrestling and jujitsu.

Well, I was told that Folayang and company have since then made up for this deficiency by training on ground techniques. Folayang’s win over Aoki showed how well the new champion and his stable mates have since coped with change.

The truth must also be out: Folayang, who comes from the Bontoc tribe of Mt. Province, is the lone indigenous people’s champion in the Philippines.

The ethno-linguistic Bontoc population belongs to a collection of indigenous peoples inhabiting the provinces of Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao and Kalinga who are collectively called the Igorots.

These IPs occupy a region that provided Manila its electricity through its dams, temperate vegetables, and mineral resources like gold, copper and silver.

It is a label these ethno-linguistic groups are proud off. Consequently, it is accepted as a collective reference to the indigenous populations of the people of the Cordillera administrative region collectively.

The label is not to be confused with its derisive usage by the uninformed TV or movie personality who would mistake aboriginals as Igorots.

And considering that Miss International Kylie Fausto Versoza was born in Baguio City, many in that city are proud to claim her as an Igorot or as one of their own, an IP herself.

Like Folayang, she was also a teacher and is a volunteer of the Natasha Goulbourn Fundation that sought to educate people about depression and suicide.

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STRIKE HOME|Marcos family can still make heroic act towards a closure     http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-homemarcos-family-can-still-make-heroic-act-towards-a-closure/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-homemarcos-family-can-still-make-heroic-act-towards-a-closure/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 03:56:56 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35747 ]]> CURIOUSLY, one of the books I read when Martial Law was still in force was on Eva Peron, the former first Lady of Argentina. I borrowed it from a friend who borrowed it from a relative who just came from the States then promptly lost it.

The book, if I remembered right, began with an anecdote of two dogs meeting at the border in the Andes of Chile, one dog going to Chile and the other to Argentina.

The dog from Chile was emaciated while the dog from Argentina was healthy and apparently well-fed.

“What is prompting you to cross the border to Argentina? asked the Argentinian.

“To eat,” replied the dog from Chile. “As you can see, I have not eaten for days.”

Surprised that a dog would go where it came from, the dog from Chile asked: “And you, what is the idea of crossing the border?”

“To bark,” the dog from Argentina replied and went on its way.

The book went on to unveil the life and story of Eva Peron and her rise from a simple provincial girl to a well-loved second wife of Argentina president Juan Peron.

It traced the fall of Juan Peron from power and how Eva’s life took a turn from bad to worse until her death in 1952. While she was honored and eventually buried amidst a state funeral befitting a head of state, she was not to rest in peace. The military overthrew her husband and Peron had to go to exile. Eva Peron’s body was also exiled by a dictatorship that banned all mention of Peron or Peronism.

It was not until 1971 when her husband regained power that her body was exhumed in Spain and brought to Argentina.

The sequel to the story concerned the Argentine general Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Silvete who was a chief architect in unseating Peron.

Aramburu sat as de facto president from 1955 to 1958 then retired but was unsuccessful when he ran for president in 1963. His opponents blamed him for the 1956 execution of Gen. Juan Jose Valle, an army officer identified with Peron and for the death of 26 Peronist militants.

Aramburu landed third in the polls which Arturo Umberto Illia won.  In yet another military coup in 1966, Illia was deposed by Gen. Juan Carlos Ongania.

Aramburu circulated in Argentine society and was reported as popular with the press. He was tagged presidential candidate in 1970. Yet rumors also persisted of Peron’s eventual return.

But Aramburu’s political career was cut off when he was abducted by members of Montoneros (a group opposed to military rule). He was believed killed and his body was recovered later inside a farmhouse.

The rebel group (Montoneros) blamed him for the death of the 26 militants and was simply avenging their deaths. The group in 1974 stole his body and indicated it would hold on to it until Eva Peron’s body was brought back to Argentina. Indeed, when her body was flown from Spain, Arumburu’s corpse was found abandoned in a Buenos Aires street.

This is not to say that the same fate would await the supposed remains of Marcos were his family to proceed with its intention of burying the deposed dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

But one cannot simply gloss over what more than 20 years of Marcos rule has done. One cannot gloss over the thousands of victims who suffered or died as a result.

With the Supreme Court decision, the Marcos family has already made its point. There is no arguing that Ferdinand E. Marcos was elected a president although it was another matter if he was a hero.

But for so long as there were thousands of Filipinos who were victimized by Martial Law and for so long as justice continued to elude them, there is no healing process or moving forward to begin with.

The Marcos family, however, can bring closure to this controversy by doing what any sensible Filipino family would do: by burying their old man in the Ilocos along some meadow or hillside where he would truly rest in peace and where he would be protected by his family.

To insist otherwise is to continually split this country and to mock history, let alone ignore the consequences.

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STRIKE HOME| Respect for others http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-respect-for-others/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-respect-for-others/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2016 03:37:14 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35537 ]]> LAST week, President Rodrigo R. Duterte did the unthinkable when he willed MNLF chair Nur Misuari to appear in Malacanang itself “bearing the olive branch of peace”in a manner of saying.

How was this possible? Not a few colleagues from Manila and Baguio City asked by text and e-mail.

The answer seemed obvious: there is mutual respect and trust between the 71-year old Duterte and the 77-year old Misuari.

Misuari himself said so: “The President is a man whom I respect and trust.”

The feeling seemed mutual since Duterte has gone out of his way to meet Misuari twice previously in Davao City. It was an element that was absent during the term of President Benigno Aquino III. In fact, it was during PNoy’s term that Misuari got into trouble after he was excluded out of the Manila-brokered Bangsa Moro basic law discussions. In short, he was dis-respected.

This led to the MNLF siege of Zamboanga in 2013 that claimed more than 200 lives and netted Misuari pending charges in court in the process.

With him now as part of the peace process, the complexion of the game has become more wide-ranging, and assuming this government also brings the various Indigenous Peoples into the negotiating table, the prospects for an inclusive peace would certainly be achieved in the twilight years of Misuari and Duterte.

Leaving out the IPs from the negotiating table, however, would only reinforce their claims that the so-called peace process involves only armed groups; and that they were being dis-respected.

In my opinion, it is also mutual respect between the Duterte administration and its China counterpart that paved the way for the return of Filipino fishermen to the Scarborough Shoal.

There was no sabre-rattling or a show of force which the Philippine government cannot afford anyway, just mutual talks on business opportunities. That move by China’s navy to lift its blockade of the shoal came probably naturally even without both sides alluding to it.

Again, it was mutual respect between Japan and the Philippines that heralded Duterte’s fruitful visit to Japan. In the end, even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shown clenching his fist in typical Duterte fashion to highlight the friendly and brotherly atmosphere that characterized his meeting with Duterte.

The result was something unprecedented: as a result of this visit, the Philippine coast guard is getting a total of 27 boats from Japan to boost its security and border patrol capabilities.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the boats will be used to run after narco-traffickers, smugglers and the Abu Sayaff.

In addition, the Philippines is getting from Japan two patrol ships worth P6.8 billion.

On the other hand, it is hard to discern if there is mutual respect between the Philippines and the United States despite the ‘iron-clad relations’ that have linked them for the past 100 years.

Duterte’s graphic description of the United States treating the Philippines as a dog on leash is one for the ages!

This is not only lack of respect but a low regard for one sovereign nation by another.

But if you think Duterte is alone, read this excerpt from an editorial of the state-owned China Daily:

‘Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said larger countries should treat smaller countries fairly.

And this includes former colonial powers. It is not for them to lecture countries they once exploited on how to conduct their own internal affairs today.”

Well-said by both leaders. (JKL)

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STRIKE HOME| ‘Magpabilin ang de malas Mag-uban ang de buenas’ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-magpabilin-ang-de-malas-mag-uban-ang-de-buenas/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-magpabilin-ang-de-malas-mag-uban-ang-de-buenas/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2016 03:50:55 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35489 ]]> FOR ONCE, I was able to join the missus and our five-year old grand-daughter Consuelo at her ancestral home in barangay Boso-buso, at the southern tip of Gov. Generoso in Davao Oriental on November 1-2.

It used to be a sleepy village that could be reached by a dirt road in the early 1990s or by pump boat along the coast. Today, the two-lane highway is well-paved all the way to where a lighthouse has been erected as a beckon to fishermen at the southern tip of the Davao Gulf.

A bus line travels the route regularly so I was not surprised to see a crowd already gathered when we arrived.

It was a reunion of sorts, an annual gathering for relatives from the cities who came together to renew ties and to pay their respects to the dead.

On November 1, we joined kinfolk in trekking to a cemetery on a rocky corner of a village that overlooks the sea.

Here, my grandchild and I joined her grandma and her relatives in lighting candles in front of several graves.

Bottles of cheap liquor were placed atop several graves while flowers were laid to rest on the others.

We joined in the prayers which were said mostly in Dabawenyo or Mandaya for that matter. That done, somebody gathered dried coconut palm stalks and then built a small fire which he promptly covered with leaves to induce smoke.

Then as if on signal, one after the other stepped over the smoke with one final wish or prayer. I heard my brother-in-law clearly through the din of voices: “Magpabilin ang de-malas, mag-uban ang de-buenas” which I understood to mean ‘let bad luck stay behind but let good luck accompany us.’

I was also told not to look back but to walk straight ahead.

The experience, I told Carmelito Francisco, this paper’s managing editor who speaks Dabawenyo, was totally new to me, especially that final wish aspect over a pile of smoke.

Looking back, however, I could not help but appreciate the location of that quaint cemetery hidden at the back of that village. Not only was it covered from view by trees but was it was also located close to the coast, in a case of the dead having the best of both worlds.

In contrast, I recall that the worst cemetery I saw was in Dagupan City which I stumbled upon during my stint as editor of Sun.Star Dagupan in 1996-97.

One day, the city’s historian took me along to show me the spot where (in his opinion) General MacArthur’s liberation forces landed in 1945 and not in Lingayen (the capital) as written in history books.

True enough, we arrived at a beach site where a marker was erected in honor of the American general. But what caught my attention was not the marker but the nearby cemetery located so close to o shore. But if that was not worrisome enough for the dead, the pile of mixed garbage dumped on the edge of the cemetery and over several rows of graves was certainly disconcerting enough—the cemetery turned into an open dump with the sea water chipping away at the dump during high tide.

My colleagues said the dump remains to this day.

So I can understand why President Duterte has ruled out being buried one day at the Libingan ng Bayani just in case it was his time to ride into the sunset.

With the bar on gets to be buried at the Libingan already lowered and demeaned many times, it won’t be long when even garbage gets to be dumped at the Libingan.

Beside his parents’ graves one day, Duterte will have no such worry. (JKL)

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STRIKEHOME| Change must come to sports http://mindanaotimes.net/strikehome-change-must-come-to-sports/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strikehome-change-must-come-to-sports/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:05:38 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35429 ]]> ARGUABLY the world’s most popular basketball league, the National Basketball Association has also a large following in the Philippines where such names as Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James and Jeremy Linn have become household bywords.

Even Clarkson Jordan who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers is a popular subject matter largely because his mother comes from the Philippines.

Years back, the stars were Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and the 5’7” Spud Webb who can the dunk the ball with regularity.

One thing with the NBA is the established parity among the 30 teams from the United States and Canada; any of the teams can make pell-mell of the best teams one day only to struggle against a cellar-dweller the next day.

The only reason why the Golden State and Cleveland Cavaliers are up there on radar is because of the presence of superstars in their line-ups and this is the reason why they are tagged to tangle anew for the championship by June next year.

But there is no taking lightly the 5-time champions San Antonio Spurs who manhandled the Warriors in the opening game. Who knows this maybe another break-out season?

In contrast, the basketball leagues we have in the Philippines have been relegated more to the realm of entertainment than professional competition.

Basketball is simply not tailor-made for the Filipino who does not have the height and the muscle to excel in a tall-man’s game.

But some Manila-based oligarchs thought that by spicing the local leagues with imports or natural Filipinos, we can have something for television and the media to titillate Filipinos by.

In fact, plans have already been drawn to pair NBA cast-off Andray Blatche (a naturalized Filipino) and Clarkson (who holds a Philippine passport) for the FIBA games.

Hope appears to spring eternal for these oligarchs who thought that a Philippine team anchored by the likes of Blatche and Clarkson would eventually reward them with a shot at the Olympics and probably the Olympic title itself.

What these oligarchs do not realize is that while these guys indeed fly the Philippine flag, they are looked upon with ridicule and lack of respect by other nations.

Japan, for instance, has long realized it cannot be a basketball power; but its scientific approach to sports has made it a powerhouse in swimming, athletics, combat sports and ball games other than basketball.

China, a nation teeming with seven-footers like Yao Ming, has also chosen to excel in all sports and has been averaging at least 28 medals in every Olympics it joined.

In contrast, we have only a silver medal in weightlifting to show for all our efforts.

The oligarchs can be part of the change by helping this administration come up with a systematic approach to sports.

Arnis, for instance, has already made it to the world’s capitals from Europe to South America. We have an enabling law that declared it a national sport and Filipino martial art. Given their resources, the oligarchs can help out by lobbying for the inclusion of the sports to the Olympics. Imagine the opportunities this would open to local arnis clubs all over the archipelago.

Imagine the golds our FMA practitioners will reap for this country. Change must also come to sports. (JKL)

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STRIKE HOME| School borrows page from the Lord’s book with good results http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-school-borrows-page-from-the-lords-book-with-good-results/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-school-borrows-page-from-the-lords-book-with-good-results/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2016 03:09:16 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35360 ]]> LONG before President Duterte preached the need for change, the cash-strapped Southern Christian College in Midsayap, Cotabato decided change was long overdue.

Spotting an empty piece of wooded land that literally teemed with snakes, Dr. Edwin T. Balaki decided he knew exactly what to do when he assumed as school president in 2012.

“It’s a page borrowed from the book of the Lord who was the first agriculturist,” he said, recalling the time he asked the board to authorize him to set up a poultry farm.

No one believed it could be done at first but when the poultry farm’s first 5,000 layers were laying eggs with regularity, school officials conceded they had stumbled on the key on how to keep their school afloat.

The school established in 1949 had only more than 2,000 enrolees when he assumed. It was struggling to keep its finances intact. Most of the buildings needed repairs and the school ground itself was partly flooded most times of the year.

But Balaki, a trained agriculturist and plant scientist, discovered the school owns sizeable landholding, including a six-hectare lot that was partly planted to hard wood. He lost no time convincing the school’s board to invest in a poultry farm and a commercial feed-producing facility.

The idea clicked and soon 2,500 layers were added to the poultry farm which now supplies part of the town’s needs.

The school’s version of a “garden of Eden” inside its eco-farm is a community favourite that also earns additional income.

One idea led to another. Two wells dug within the farm led to the production of mineral water both for the school and the community. Bottled calamansi juice from the school’s lemon orchard also proved an asset.

As income increased, Balaki shifted to modernizing the school buildings. One eye-catcher is the 5,000-seater modern civic center complete with offices on the sides that is a sharp contrast to the wooden structure it was in the past.

All classrooms were provided with overhead projectors as teachers were required to teach with a lap-top.

The tree houses strapped to centuries-old acacia trees in the campus were linked to Wi-Fi to the delight of students.

The water-logged campus now features a well-drained, spruced-up school ground with an added collection of modern classrooms to boot.

School officials now claim the college has become competitive in most courses. Balaki made sure that several courses including theology should incorporate a few units in agriculture.

Agriculture is taught hands-on with students required to feed the layers, to fertilize the plants, to prune the flowers and to plant and to harvest the plants.

“You can say this is a self-sustaining ministry,” said Dr. Balaki who heads the school’s 234-strong faculty.

Balaki was a former senior corporate scientist of Dole-Philippines and underwent specialized training on plants abroad.

To ensure operation is not interrupted in a region beset by brown-outs, the school also purchased a 300 KVA generator to augment power.

Culled hardwood trees from the school’s tree farm provided the school the materials it needed to churn out tables for its offices, function rooms and facilities.

With an increase in population, Dr. Balaki said the school can easily qualify for university status. The community is also beginning to take notice. From an enrolment of 2,681 students in 2012, it surged to 4,718 students for the current school year. In preparation for university status, the school has required its faculty members to finish their masters and doctorate degrees on a scholarship basis.

The school’s unique mix of courses included accountancy and business management, education, hotel and restaurant management, social work, theology and agriculture among other courses.

Balaki said change has indeed come for a school that used to be spurned in the past with its productive farm providing the difference. (JKL)

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STRIKE HOME| Dump probes hue close to anti-graft drive http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-dump-probes-hue-close-to-anti-graft-drive/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-dump-probes-hue-close-to-anti-graft-drive/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 07:26:46 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35286 ]]> DEPUTY Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera did not say it but I would be the least surprised if his office’ ongoing probe on at least 50 open dumpsites in the country would turn out to be an indirect investigation on how corruption has overtaken waste management at the LGU levels.

This is because in a manner of saying, a good number of LGUS any which way you go in the archipelago had taken the mantra may pera sa basura literally.

As Mosquera himself had hinted at, there was indication that some LGUs in Metro Manila were intent on hauling their solid wastes outside their jurisdiction because of perceived cuts from the contractors.

“Of course, we have to have evidence first although it is a direction we will pursue,” he told reporters.

One local government unit that has been allocating more than P100 million annually for the shipping out of its garbage to Tarlac is the city of Baguio.

The city went into hauling in the aftermath of the 2011 trash-slide when its Irisan dumpsite burst like a bubble at the height of a storm, the accumulated thousands of tons of mixed garbage cascading down slope and burying several houses in the process that killed five people.

Despite this, the city continued to use the dumpsite while the DENR was only content to watch at the sideline. It took a Writ of Kalikasan order from the Supreme Court for the city to stop.

But instead of getting the cue from there by developing its own sanitary landfill as required by law, the city simply decided to ship its mixed garbage to Tarlac since 2012. It would be interesting to know what the Ombudsman spadework will churn out in the days ahead.

What Mosquera found as odd was that while Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Act has been in circulation since 2011, most LGU execs chose to swipe it aside and instead insisted on simply dumping their mixed solid wastes in some corner. What the eyes don’t see, the heart cannot be sorry for?

To Mosquera, this is plain and simple gross neglect of duty and if proven will net the guilty the penalty of perpetual disqualification from office. Let the axe fall on the guilty.

I think one factor that has prevented some LGUs from implementing the law in so far as waste management is concerned is their tendency to look for short-cut solutions in a bid to evade the segregation-recycling-composting-reusing mandate of 9003. I knew of several LGUs who have also flirted with so-called ‘waste to energy’ technologies but ended up having nothing to show for the all the publicity that accompanied their so-called ‘negotiations’ with providers.

The wonderful aspect of 9003 is that it involves the community itself and calls on the barangays to take the lead with the municipality or the city government providing the means or support. Its ‘segregation-at-source’ mantra calls for grassroots support at the household level itself.

But while LGUs looked poised in implementing the law, the tendency always has been to backslide, probably because nobody has been put in prison in the first place because of non-implementation. In time, people also tended not to notice, for so long as the garbage has taken cared off. Out of sight, out of mind.

Like any stop-gap remedy, hauling of garbage has never been the solution as it merely transfers the dirt from one backyard to another. In the end, Mother Earth still suffers. (JKL)

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STRIKE HOME| DSWD’s Taguiwalo will do to ride the river with   http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-dswds-taguiwalo-will-do-to-ride-the-river-with/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-dswds-taguiwalo-will-do-to-ride-the-river-with/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:36:03 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35158 ]]> THE VENERABLE Elpidio Damaso who founded Peryodiko Dabaw (that was to become Sun.Star Davao) would describe a left-leaning person as someone who walks by slightly tilting his shoulder to the left as if leaning on some imaginary post.

The phrase “will do to ride the river with” is a cowboy expression, which means someone who can be trusted.

There is nothing wrong with the way DSWD’s Secretary Judy Taguiwalo walks except that in a manner of reckoning, she is one of those who represents the left in Duterte’s cabinet.

No matter. For if there is one redeeming factor in Duterte’s cabinet of late, it was the image of Taguiwalo visiting the provinces of Northern and Central Luzon by chopper in the wake of Typhoon Lawin’s devastation.

She went up a few notches in my yardstick with the promptness and determination she displayed in first assessing the damages and then in joining Duterte later in distributing the relief goods to typhoon victims.

It seemed that while most of Duterte’s cabinet joined the President in his travels to Brunei and China, Taguiwalo chose to stay behind mindful perhaps that one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country in recent memory was well underway.

The news accounts placed her in Isabela, Cagayan, Apayao and parts of Kalinga, four of the most hard-hit provinces. The first-hand accounts gave her precisely the idea on the kind of assistance that should be provided the typhoon-stricken communities. So that when it was time to distribute the relief goods, none complained that it was a mere drop in the bucket although there were still villages that were not assisted because these were isolated by floodwaters as of the other day. Some pictures, in fact, showed housewives struggling with a sack full of rice each as they streamed out of the relief centers with happy faces.

I think this was the first time a DSWD secretary was seen in the above-mentioned provinces surveying damages just hours after Typhoon Lawin left the Philippine area of responsibility. And it must have been a great surprise to the people of Tuguegarao City to see Duterte himself in person distributing assistance to typhoon victims.

Taguiwalao was later quoted as saying that there was no need for the government to ask for foreign aid for the typhoon victims because it had the funds to cover relief operations for northern and Central Luzon.

“We are not asking for foreign assistance or donations from other countries because we have identified enough government funds to help the affected families,” she added.

But she added that the government was not closing its doors to donations, including foreign assistance without asking for anything in return.

Senator Ralph Recto could only agree with Taguiwalo, stressing that with P37 billion in unspent calamity funds, there was indeed no need to go knocking for foreign aid.

This was a 160-degree turn from the position the Philippine government took when it opened the floodgates for aid to help the Yolanda victims in 2013.

As it turned out a substantial bulk of the assistance never reached their intended beneficiaries, were spoiled or claimed by the elements while some of the intended funds went to the wrong pockets.

Taguiwalo herself said about 200,000 typhoon Yolanda victims from Western and Eastern Visayas have claimed that they were still waiting for the shelters promised to them by the Aquino administration.

She said the exclusion of emergency shelter assistance for Yolanda victims was so widespread the Duterte administration is now investigating alleged irregularities.

 “The spirit there is we don’t want any form of irregularity, of any corruption,” she said. “Our marching orders from Day One were to provide prompt and compassionate assistance and fair treatment to communities.”

In Northern and Central Luzon last week, that prompt and compassionate assistance indeed stood out. As the western writer Louie L’ Amour was wont to say: “She will do to ride the river with.”

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STRIKE HOME|Tagum’s unlikely monarchy: Mati’s urban gardening bid   http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-hometagums-unlikely-monarchy-matis-urban-gardening-bid/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-hometagums-unlikely-monarchy-matis-urban-gardening-bid/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:55:41 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=35035 ]]> TWO local government units last week gave us something to reflect upon and to consider with the unveiling of Tagum City’s apiary and Mati City’s home gardening and nature farming, respectively.

As this paper reported the other day, Tagum’s apiary features 21 colonies, each ruled by a queen imported from Australia.

This is no ordinary undertaking since it involved at least a million pesos to realize but I am pretty sure the city government or its city agriculturist office figured it all out before it plunged into the endeavor.

I am also sure that the city agriculturist factored in the environment where the apiary is located since apiaries live and die by how safe and protected their environments are. The nearer they are to farms that use pesticides, the lesser their chances for survival. But the more they are protected, the more sustainable they become.

Mati City’s so-called home gardening and nature farming is also worthy of consideration. It is indeed something that should be recommended to urban communities.

Mati City in fact went even further by the issuance of Executive Order No. 42 that mandated the “establishment of green communities with agri-industry based components for the youth, women organized associations and the urban poor sector.”

But while Mati City officials would like to call it that way, the system actually shapes up as a form of waste management. This is because producing the compost derived from bio-degradables (coming mostly from the kitchen) comes first in the hierarchy of priorities. Once the compost is produced, then you can go into planting.

Fred Fangonon, a former OFW and former Barangay Loakan (Baguio City) punong barangay actually wrote a book on this, entitled Eco-Composting. He himself willed the village to practice the system and in the process, influenced neighboring barangays to follow suit.

As in Mati City, he went into backyard gardening and discovered that the compost was excellent for raising cabbages, tomatoes, wongbok (Chinese cabbage), spinach, siling labuyo, eggplant and even taro (gabi).

Laboratory analysis conducted by the Saint Louis University showed that his compost did not contain dangerous elements like lead that are harmful to health. On the contrary, the analysis showed the compost was high-grade.

Eventually, several LGUs in Benguet and Mt. Province decided to adopt the system in processing their biodegradable wastes and as a means to mitigate climate change.

For his efforts, Fangonon has been named one of the outstanding citizens of Baguio for 2013 for his contribution to science and community development.

The Eco-composting receptacle is Fangonon’s answer to the management of solid wastes.

He said the ECR prevents the formation of gasses as compared to sanitary landfill and can accommodate great volumes of bios, citing as an example the five ECRs in Barangay Loakan that process three tons of biodegradable wastes weekly.

He added that the eco-composting provides the “ultimate solution” to waste management since it is able to process big volume of biodegradable wastes without need of fuel or electricity.

He said that unlike a sanitary landfill, eco-composting does not generate leacheate nor does it produce methane gas as experienced in open dumpsites.

“The practice of eco-composting makes it possible for us to compost all biodegradable wastes without generating a great amount of methane and carbon dioxide thus helping slow down global warming,” he said.

An eco-composting receptacle is comprised of bamboo splits hammered firmly to the ground, and spaced as such to allow aeration-hence the absence of leacheate.

The waste is spread out evenly with microbes and earthworms finishing the process of converting the wastes into organic fertilizer.

Incidentally, Fangonon said he has sent copies of his book as well as a proposal to Davao City officials way back in 2015 to help manage the city’s waste but has yet to receive a reply. (JKL)

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STRIKE HOME| Goodbye my friend but not forevermore http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-goodbye-my-friend-but-not-forevermore/ http://mindanaotimes.net/strike-home-goodbye-my-friend-but-not-forevermore/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2016 03:03:35 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=34941 ]]> DEFENSE  Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed what we adverted to earlier in this column that the so-called joint military exercises between the United States and the Philippines were an anomaly of sorts.

“It benefitted the United States more than the Philippines,” he told the Senate bicameral committee on appointments the other day.

Lorenzana also added that after the American forces allowed our Filipino soldiers to handle some of the weaponry and gadgetry they brought along, they recalled all these afterwards leaving none for the locals.

The analogy we could think of is that of a boy in a neighborhood where he has the only bike and other toys that his less-fortunate neighbors do not have.

So while he allows some of his peers to ride his bike occasionally, it is on some agreed upon terms. And at the end of the day, he makes sure he gathers his toys and leaves none for his peers to play with. That scene played itself out with the closure of the joint military experiences, leaving our soldiers wondering if and when their government can afford to provide them the same hardware.

In Mainland China, President Duterte railed against the inability of our supposed American allies to provide our planes or helicopters the missiles to take out targets from a distance.

“So it is goodbye, my friend,” he told a Filipino audience, referring to the long-standing ally.

But those familiar with Duterte should take this as a hyperbole “which was meant to strike home a point.” If pressed, I believe the president will clarify that thusly: “yes, it is goodbye my friend but not forevermore.”

This was how he explained himself when one Al Jazeera reporter asked him why he “did not ride a jetski and planted a Filipino flag” at the dispute West Philippine Sea shoal as he promised during the campaign period.

“It was a hyperbole meant to stress a point,” he said.

Duterte later clarified he had no intention to break off with the United States.

It is as it should be. Our relations with the United States may not be in the best of terms, but there is no denying the long-standing relations we as a people have with the people of the US of A, which hosts the largest concentration of Filipinos overseas. Some Filipinos in fact have made it as legislators and judges in several states. And it is rare to find a US warship without an Ilocano or a Cebuano-speaking crewman if not an officer on its deck.

Their refusal to treat us as equals and thus allow our military use of their latest hardware, to my mind, stems from colonial mentality and distrust—distrust that this hardware will fall into the wrong hands.

At the same, there is nothing in that relationship that bars the Philippines as a sovereign nation from firming up friendships with other nationalities and their governments which was exactly what Duterte was doing.

His trip to China was thus a bold gambit not only to test the waters but also to meet friends and to establish goodwill. Above all, it was meant to gain respect, a quality that separates vassal states from truly sovereign nations. (JKL)

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