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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Don’t just produce, market your products too, DA Sec tells Aklan farmers

Numancia, Aklan – For Aklan farmers to earn more, they should not only focus on production. They must also use post harvest and storage facilities to preserve and protect their produce, and market these themselves – for the money is in the markets.

This was Department of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap’s message to Aklan farmers and fishermen in a dialogue facilitated by the Agricultural Training Institute during his recent visit to Aklan held at Numancia Agri-Aqua Techno-Demo Farm.

Sec. Yap said the government is now focusing more on preservation of farmers’ produce through the National Post Harvest Program so they could earn more.

“If your rice or corn is dried well, then it is of good quality and instead of earning just P7.00 per kilo, you could sell a kilo in the market for P11.00 or P12.00 pesos”, Yap told the farmers.

Yap also invited the farmers that if they would like to market their farm products in Manila, there are now 9 Bagsakan Centers open for their produce.

“If you have products in Aklan you wish to sell in Manila, tell us. We will give you a free space in our Bagsakan Centers. You bring your produce through the RORO, we will provide you food link stickers so your truck carrying your goods goes straight to the market,” Yap said.

“The way I see it however, you don’t have to market your products to Manila. Here in the Visayas alone, your produce will already be consumed. Boracay, for instance, gets its lettuce supply from Baguio. Green peppers come from other provinces. Why can’t you plant these in Aklan?” Yap challenged the farmers, urging them instead to supply the needs of their own region.

Yap also said that as Aklan has a small area for farming, farmers should focus more on high-value crops. He said there is money in cut flowers and vegetables if the right markets are found.

“Seafoods in Aklan are also of good quality. Your prawns and crabs are bigger, and you have special shells here not found in other provinces, and you can find markets for these in Bohol and Cebu,” Yap told the fisherfolks present.

“Let’s do business, not just production,” Yap emphasized.

Sec. Yap ended his dialogue by awarding Quick Turn-Around (QTA) seeds and drum seeder to the different farmers’ groups in the province, and personally handing the Certificate of Recognition Award to Nadya Patricia Sauza, an Aklanon student who made an exceptional investigatory project on the viability of producing biodiesel fuel from animal fats.

Aside from meeting Aklan farmers and fishermen, Sec. Yap visited Aklan to witness the unveiling of Cardinal Jaime L. Sin’s statue in new Washington, Aklan. Sec. Yap said Cardinal Sin was his Father Confessor during his school days at Xavier School. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Monday, September 3, 2007

AFP Inspector General inaugurates new army barracks in Aklan

Banga, Aklan- Three new buildings to be used as barracks of officers, women personnel and enlisted personnel of the 47th Infantry Battalion based at Camp Jizmundo, Libas, Banga here were recently inaugurated with BGen. Samuel D. Narcise, Inspector General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

He was assisted by LTC Earl D. Baliao, Commanding Officer of the 47th IB, 3ID, Philippine Army.

The three buildings were built with a project cost of P480,000 obtained from troop hutment funds and savings of the 47th IB, said Captain Antonio Tumnog, Civil Military Officer of the infantry battalion in Libas.

Captain Tumnog said the army men themselves built the buildings, the reason why the cost of the three buildings was very minimal, labor being free.

The officers’ quarter has three rooms, the women’s quarter two, while the enlisted personnel’s quarter can accommodate 100 persons, according to Captain Tumnog.

In the same occasion, Maj. General Jovenal Narcise, Commanding General of 3ID Philippine Army was also present. He officiated the unveiling of the marker of the barracks, assisted by LTC Earl D. Baliao.

Rev. Fr. Roberto Sitjar, Parish Priest of Batan, Aklan, blessed the buildings.

The coming of Brigadier Gen. Narcise to Aklan to inaugurate the 47th IB barracks coincided with his annual general inspection of the camp and other units in Panay under the 3ID, according to Captain Tumnog.

Meanwhile, Captain Tumnog said that the 47th IB here is prepared at all times to protect the people or for any action directed agains them (army) by lawless elements.

This is in the wake of statements issued by the CPP-NPA in reaction to the apprehension by the Dutch government of Jose Maria Sison, threatening retaliation against the military and the PNP nationwide.

Captain Tumnog said the Philippine Army, besides being on red alert, is continuously conducting its routinary activities. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Green Philippines program expanded; Aklan launch slates planting thousands of trees

Kalibo, Aklan –Some 23,280 tree seedlings are set to be planted August 30 in the municipality of Tangalan in the western part of Aklan as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here, together with the local government unit of Tangalan, the Department of Education and the community launch the expanded Green Philippines program that targets to plant some 20 million seedlings nationwide.

According to Raul Lorilla, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, the launching sites in Tangalan are at Barangay Panayakan and at the Tangalan watershed. Seven groups will take part in the tree planting, composed of schools, fishery and agriculture councils, municipal officials and employees of Tangalan, multi-purpose cooperative, barangay officials and DENR employees. Each group will plant specific tree specie – for instance, the Tangalan National High School will plant Golden Shower tree seedlings numbering 1,000; Panayakan National High School, Acacia auri, 12,132; Tangalan FARMC, Mount Agoho, 3,000; Tangalan officials and employees, Bagras; Panayakan Lanipga MPC, Mahogany; barangay officials, Narra; and DENR employees, Narra and Molave; 328 seedlings.

The GPP launching in Tangalan, according to the DENR, is aiming to plant trees in some 20 hectares of land.

For this year, however, in sustaining and fully supporting the Green Philippines program, DENR, along with its partners in the province, aims to plant a total of 111,054 seedlings in some 73.86 hectares.

To realize this, PENRO Lorilla recently released a special order assigning DENR personnel as project focal persons/coordinators for thematic protected areas, critical watersheds and open lands.

For this year, DENR has set the planting of trees at protected areas, critical watersheds and open areas in the months of July and August; Agroforestry-Community-Based Forest Management Areas in September; Urban Parks, school campus, military camps and housing subdivisions in October; and mangrove and coastal areas in November.

This month of August, Lorillla said other GPP sites with mass planting include the Aklan River Watershed Forest Reserve at Brgy. Galicia, Madalag; Panakuyan River Watershed Project at Brgy. San Jose, Ibajay; Nabaoy River Watershed/Malay Refo. Project at Brgy. Nabaoy, Malay; and Open Forest Land Areas in Brgys. Castillo and Calangcang in Makato.

The Green Philippines Project is an offshoot of the Green Philippine Highways Project (GPHP) launched a year ago to green national highways that serves the route of the PGMA Strong Republic Nautical Highway. In Aklan this covers the national highway where buses using the RORO boats traversed – from Barangay Caticlan in Malay to Barangay Cabangila in Altavas, Aklan, the boundary of Aklan and Capiz.

With its expansion into GPP, the government hopes to arrest air pollution, flooding as well as water depletion and other environmental hazards. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

OFWs, family members to benefit from OWWA

Kalibo, Aklan – Are you a son or a daughter of an Overseas Filipino Worker? If so, you can be a scholar, courtesy of the government through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

According to Vivian Ruiz Solano, manager of the Provincial Employment Service Office (PESO) here, OWWA is currently opening its doors to OFWs through its various beneficial programs.

These programs, said Solano, include Education for Development Scholarship Programs, Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program, and Search for “Model OFW Family of the Year Award” or MOFYA.

The scholarship programs target the children of OFWs, land-based or sea-based who are currently enrolled as 4th year high school students and belonging to the upper 20% of the graduating class for Academic Year 2007-2008.

Interested and qualified 4th year high school students have until October 31 of this year to file their application. Solano said they should coordinate with their principal or with the PESO for assistance with the requirements.

This year, OWWA is also conducting a search for the “Model OFW of the Year” award.

“This is an award given by the OWWA to OFWs and members of their families in recognition of their sacrifices and contribution in strengthening the country’s economy and their families in particular”, Solano explained.

Major winner of the award will be chosen based on his struggle to succeed in life – for instance, as an OFW, he was able to send his children to school- finishing college and landing jobs; he has established a thriving business through his earnings, he has savings, is respected in the community because he has no bad records, has a harmonious family life and has done other good deeds.

Big prizes await those who would win in the search for MOFYA like P200,000 cash, vacation trip packages, laptop units, P25,000 for regional winners, P20,000 G-cash and cellphones.

Aklanon OFWs who are interested to join the search could go to PESO-Aklan here for more information, according to Solano. They could also inquire directly from OWWA in Iloilo or Manila. Deadline set for the contest is on September 30 of this year. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)