Three Mindanao watersheds present excellent agriculture potential


For many years, Mindanao has been labeled “The Land of Promise”, because of its vast potentials for agriculture given its vast land and typhoon-free climate.


But the deep-seated conflicts in Mindanao have made it hard for the government and local people to make their lands highly productive. Climate Change also presents new sets of challenges to farming activities in Mindanao.


This is sad considering that Mindanaoans, Muslims and Christians alike, are an industrious lot who can make their island a source of pride when it comes to agriculture production.


Yet many people still see lots of hope for Mindanao, including the public servants of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), which is among the agencies actively involved in the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).


The BSWM is actively involved in the Mindanao Rural Development Program – Adaptable Program Loan Phase 2 (MRDP2), which is a poverty-alleviation initiative implemented through the Department of Agriculture (DA) jointly funded by the World Bank, National Government, and local government units. The project covers Mindanao’s 26 provinces and 225 municipalities.


The objective of the MRDP is to “further improve rural incomes and achieve food security through agri-fishery infrastructure, livelihood enterprise, and biodiversity conservation projects,” according to the project’s website (


The role of the BSWM in the project is to undertake “Soil and Land Resources Evaluation” of various watershed areas in Mindanao, which are essential in increasing or stabilizing agriculture production in the southern island.


“Unless watershed areas are protected, lands planted to agriculture cannot be assured of having enough water supply for crop production. Watershed areas are also important in checking erosion or siltation, which can be damaging to farm lands,” said Mr.Sunny de Guzman of the BSWM.


Among others, the BWSM already finished the evaluation of the watersheds of Linamon in Lanao del Norte, Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte, and Nasipit in Agusan del Norte.




The BSWM’s survey of the Kinabangan Watershed in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte showed that its soil, land and water resources are “over exploited beyond its capacity resulting to low productivity of various farm areas.”


“Evaluating said capacity, adopting appropriate land use and employing farming systems, soil and crop management practices that realize the potential of the land and restore its productivity, are important considerations in long-range planning for the effective development and sustainable use of soil and land resources,” the BSWM’s report said.


The soil and water agency’s survey of the land showed that around 4,250 hectares or 68.53% of its total land area could potentially host agribusiness activities like the planting of high value commercial crops (HVCCs) like fruit trees and vegetables like sweet pepper, pole sitao and ampalaya. Industrial crops could also be planted in the said lands.


“The introduction of agriculture development interventions like proper organic and inorganic balance fertilization, composting and liming will improve sustainable productivity in the long run for the above mentioned crops. The provisions of support services such as construction, improvement and rehabilitation of the farms machinery equipment and post harvest facilities as well as the introduction of improved and modern technology, facilitation of credit and market assistance are all crucial in the attainment of the aforementioned goals that will jive with the development strategy of the watershed,” the BSWM report said.


Low fertility


For the Linamon Watershed in Linamon, Lanao del Norte, the soil and water agency’s evaluation revealed that “soil, land and water resources are optimally utilized and hence, resulting to low productivity of various farm areas.”


“The inherent fertility is generally low, especially in the upland and hilly and due to soil erosion, shallow soil, moderate to steep slope that limit the crop producing sustainable productivity,” the BSWM report further stated.


The DA has identified around 1,824.79 hectares or 88.26% of the lands of the Linamon Watershed as potential sites for HVCC cultivation.


Similar set of findings were also made by the BSWM on the Gigaquit Watershed in Surigao del Norte, particularly, noting the “low productivity of various farm areas.”


Gigaquit boasts of the largest area among the three watershed areas evaluated by the BSWM, since around 15,769 hectares or 67.25 percent of its total land area was found to be potential agribusiness sites for HVCC cultivation.


The BSWM also recommends the same set of interventions for the development of th eLinamon and Gigaquit watershed areas, particularly: proper organic and inorganic balance fertilization, and composting; provision of support services such as construction, improvement and rehabilitation of the farms machinery equipment and post harvest facilities; introduction of improved and modern farming technology; and facilitation of credit and market assistance.


Large potential area


With a total of around 21,843 hectares of lands that could be planted to HVCCs and other crops, the BSWM said that the development of the three watershed areas presents vast development potentials in agriculture for Mindanao.


“The potential employment and livelihood opportunities from the development of the Kinabjangan, Linamon and Gigquit watershed could help Mindanao achieve its potential as the food basket of the Philippines. Likewise, the development of the three watershed areas would greatly help in achieving peace in Mindanao because many still believe that poverty and lack of livelihood are also the causes of conflict in Mindanao,” said Sunny de Guzman, MRDP, focal person.


The soil and water agency’s role in the MRDP underscores the need to take into account the environmental factors in developing farming clusters in the rural or hinterlands of the country. The BSWM thus remains committed to its role in undertaking the MRDP to help realize the Mindanao’s vast agriculture potential. Veron A. Hernandez, Greenfields Magazine & PSciJourn Mega Manila


DENR appeals to LGUs to comply with RA 9003 to avoid repeat of Baguio tragedy


Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P.  Paje appealed to all local government officials to strictly comply with Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, to avoid a repeat of the collapse of a dumpsite in Baguio City that killed at least five persons.


            At the same time, he said he will be meeting soon with Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo to discuss ways on how to enhance LGU compliance with the law.


            “I will be meeting with Secretary Robredo regarding this matter of low compliance of LGUs to the Solid Waste Management Act.  We really need to come up with a purposive approach of (enhancing) their compliance so as to prevent any more catastrophe such as this trashslide  in Baguio City.” Paje said.

            In separate interviews with ANC and DZMM, Paje said that as early as 2006, the DENR, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) which he chairs, has sent out notice of violations to more than a thousand local government units (LGUs) who have continually been operating open and controlled dumpsites.


Unfortunately, he said, while at the national level, the government is performing, the LGUs are not in compliance.  “The DENR’s role is to help LGUs manage their garbage. At the national level, the government is performing, but the LGUs are not complying. Dapat kasuhan na talaga sa Ombudsman,” he stressed.


Since the law holds the LGUs primarily responsible for solid waste management in their areas of jurisdiction, Paje advised the local executives who do not have the capability to construct landfills to form clusters with other neighboring LGUs as this would be more feasible.


The environment chief said, however, that although there is indeed a legal issue with the Baguio tragedy, “now is not the time for finger pointing. The DENR has been working closely with the LGU and the provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) since the tragedy to address the problem, remove the trash and bring it to Capas, retrieve the bodies… We will tackle the legal issue later.”


            Paje also committed to extend technical assistance in the construction of the retailing wall of the dumpsite.


            Paje stated that the Irisan dump in which collapsed on Saturday (August 27) had been closed since 2008 and that “it has been acting as a materials recovery facility (MRF), a ‘transfer station’ where the LGU would sort recyclable and non-recyclable waste before bringing the latter to the landfill in Capas, Tarlac.”

            He added that the tragedy may have been caused by an engineering problem. “Hindi sila naglagay ng daluyan ng tubig… Sa tingin ko, hindi sila naglagay ng labasan dahil the leachate would come out and they would still have to put up a collecting pan. Hindi nakaya ng retaining wall yung bumagsak na tubig (brought about by the heavy downpour caused by typhoon Mina), so ang nangyari, bumigay,” he said.


He further disclosed that the Irisan site had been identified as an area highly susceptible to landslides in a geohazard map of the province. He thus requested all LGU officials to review the geohazard maps distributed by the DENR to assess which areas are prone to floods and landslides to avoid similar future tragedies. “The maps identify areas of no-habitation zone, plus debris accumulation zones, kung saan ipinapakita na kapag tumibag ang lupa, dun (sa lugar na iyon) itatambak ang lupa,” he said.


            The DENR chief reiterated that the problem of solid waste management remains a responsibility of each Filipino citizen, and that the best way to address it was to ensure segregation at source. It is estimated that with every household practicing waste segregation at home, only 30 per cent of waste would actually be dumped in landfills nationwide.


Under the law, the establishment or operation of open dumpsites is punishable with a minimum fine of a Php500,000. LGU officials can also be charged administratively in accordance with RA 7160 or the Local Government Code. Ayda Zoleta, PAS, DENR

FBG presents list of qualified applicants for Academic Excellence Award


The Fraternal Benefits Group of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) presents the list of qualified applicants for the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ award for Academic Excellence, which is conferred to inspire the members of the Knights of Columbus family to excel academically which could serve as an asset in forming a ‘strong Christian society.’


The program was divided into 4 divisions, namely: Elementary Level (Valedictorian of the Graduating class of 2010-2011), High School Level (Valedictorian of the Graduating class of 2010-2011), College Level (Cum Laude and higher of the Graduating class of 2010-2011) and passer of BOARD/BAR examination from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.


To date, there are a total of 69 applicants who qualified for the incentive program; seven from the Elementary Division, six from the High School Division, nine from the College Division and 47 from the BAR/BOARD Passer Division. Each of them will be receiving the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ’s Award for Academic Excellence Medallion and a Certificate of Recognition. The awarding will take place in their respective councils and will be facilitated by their Area Manager.


The Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ award for Academic Excellence was sponsored by KCFAPI to recognize the members of Knights of Columbus and their immediate families who have excelled in their studies.


Here are the lists of qualified applicants for incentive program: Board/Bar passers: Berbadeth Antalan, teacher; Roda Antalan, Cyndale Glaze and Amarillento Aparente, Registered Nurse; Bryan Ray Arzanan, CPA; Percy Balderia, Medicine; KC Love Cong, CPA; Daniel Espina Corpin, Crimimologist; Edison Pescante Daigdigan, Architect; Francisco de Torres, Jr., Registered Nurse; Sydrick Jose Andrei Deiparine, Lawyer; Ramon Dela Cruz, Laywer; Rose Anne Derramas, Registered Nurse; Ivan Andrew Derramas, Registered Nurse; Jose Ramil Escasinas, Registered Nurse; Rosa Dalya Enriquez, CPA; Gloreline Denolio Florida, Registered Nurse; Mark Louie Francisco, Dentist; Maria Angelica Fernandez, CPA; Dareall Allan Garcia, Engineer; Kharlo Mikhail Gonzales, Med Tech;


Nip Victor Belloga Hipolito, Registered Nurse; Sarah Jane Claudine Jose, Registered Nurse; Catherine Anne Junio, Registered Nurse;Kyle Anthony Laserna, Registered Nurse; Reynaldo Chan Libatique III, Lawyer; Reymund Chan Libatique, CPA; Melanie Libatique, Teacher; Joanna Kay Liberato, Registered Nurse; Jefferson Mari Mariano, Registered Nurse; Michael Jordan Navarro, Registered Nurse; Ryan Jay Orteza Salvador, Registered Nurse; Ma. Krisirene Santilla, Registered Nurse; Jeffrey Medina Santos, Lawyer; Glaiza Gonzales SArmiento, Lawyer; Dee Magaux Villareal Sudario, REgistered Nurse; Diana Mae Villareal Sudario, Registered Nurse; Richard Liston Tabublong, Agriculturist; Anna Victoria Talens, Registered Nurse; Orlando Tenorio, Jr., Lawyer; Vian Karel Tolentino, Registered Nurse; Vladimir John Untalan, Engineer; Jade Sagnip Verdillo, Registered Nurse; and Jeruh Viesca, Registered Nurse.


Recipients of Academic Award in College are: Rona Mae Mangle Baligala, Cum Laude; Carlo Antonio Buado,, Cum Laude; Gerard Angelo Salmorin Cruzado, Cum Laude; Reyman Estrella Dominguez, Cum Laude; Antonette Hallara Palacios, Cum Laude; Mary Luz Sajulga Pelesco, Magna Cum Laude; Rhoda Redulla, Cum Laude; and Ritz Darwin Payoyo Resuello, Magna Cum Laude.


Recipients of Academic Award in Highschool are: Aliana Grace Alipio, Valedictorian; Rommel Rodrigo Ceblano, Valedictorian; Angelica Capito Frias, Valedictorian; Camille Anne Ocumen, Valedictorian; and Dave Sim Servano Saul, Valedictorian.


Recipients of Academic Award in Elementary are: Anthony Rodrigo Ceblano, Valedictorian; Jean Diolas, Valedictorian; Ryan Glenn Fronda, Valedictorian; Kino Gabriel Gumayagay, Valedictorian; Myra Elizabeth Raquino Pascua, Valedictorian; Aldrea Marie Santos, Valedictorian; and Neal Patrick Sumagaysay, Valedictorian. Michael Medina, KCFAPI News

Phl Knights of Columbus marks Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ 34th death anniv


The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines are commemorating the 34th Death Anniversary of Rev. Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J. on September 14, 2011.


It will be highlighted by a Family TV Mass at the San Agustin Church at 9:00 in the morning with Most Rev. Jesse E. Mercado, D.D., Bishop of Parañaque as Main Celebrant to be assisted by KC Priest-scholars and the Augustinian Priests.


The Mass will be aired on September 25, 2011 at IBC Channel 13 from 9:00 to 10:00AM.

A wreath-laying ceremony will follow at the statue of Fr. Willmann located at the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) head office in Intramuros, Manila.


Father Willmann is referred to as the “Fr. McGivney of the Philippines” because, like the venerable founder of the Knights of Columbus, he vigorously pursued the growth of the Order and dynamically worked for the radical transformation of faith into action.


Fr. Willmann spent 44 fruitful and productive years in the Philippines serving young people, the poor, the sick, the orphans, the oppressed, the lonely and the desolate.


Born on June 29, 1897 to very devout Catholic parents in Brooklyn, New York, Fr. Willmann was granted Philippine citizenship by then President Ferdinand Marcos through Presidential Decree No. 740.


Father Willmann established numerous organizations in the country most notable of which is the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) which he, together with a number of dedicated KC members, founded in 1958. Denise Solina, KC News


The Quezon City health department will be extending to the shopping malls the city’s efforts to encourage more blood donations for patients with dengue fever and other high-risk illnesses.

Coordination with the different malls in QC is now being undertaken to set up blood donation booths at three SM malls in QC — at North Edsa, Cubao and Fairview— and also at Trinoma and the Ever Gotesco mall at Commonwealth Avenue, according to city health officer Dr. Antonieta Inumerable.

Institutions and hospitals to benefit from the QC expanded bloodletting drive are the Philippine Blood Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Phil. Heart Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, QC General Hospital and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Proj. 4, which have registered the most number of confinement for dengue cases.

The city health department regularly conducts mass blood donation activities at the QC Hall and district health centers.

On orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, the QC health department has been continuously conducting a massive anti-dengue information dissemination campaign in an effort to encourage city residents to participate in efforts to control dengue, which is transmitted by the day-biting Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.

The information campaign underscores the importance of maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in reducing the number of potential breeding grounds for the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, which usually thrives on stagnant water on old tires, roof gutters, refrigerator drainers and indoor plants.

From August 1 to 20, the epidemiology and surveillance unit of the city health department reported about 3,948 dengue cases, with 29 death cases.  This year’s cases registered a 125.2% change in the number of cases as compared with the same period last year.

However, despite the increase, Quezon City only managed to register the ninth highest number of dengue cases among Metro Manila’s 17 cities and municipalities, taking into account its population.

Barangays registering the most number of dengue cases are Bagbag, San Bartolome, Commonwealth, Batasan Hills, Gulod, Holy Spirit, Sauyo, Sta. Monica and Novaliches Proper.

To date, the city health department has declared the areas of Bagbag, San Bartolome, Novaliches Proper, in District II, and Barangays Pansol and Matandang Balara, in District III and Barangay Bahay-Toro, in District I, as dengue hotspots.

In addition, larvitraps were also set up in some barangays to alert the public on the index of mosquitoes. Likewise, an ovilarvicidal traps from the Department of Science and Technology were set up in the dengue hotspots to control the density of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes.  Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO


Quezon City’s tag as carnapping capital may well be a case of mistaken identity, after all.

According to the statistical report of the Highway Patrol Group, Manila registered the most number of wanted vehicles from January 1 to July 31 with 368 as against QC’s 291.

While both cities posted the highest number of carnapping incidents in July, Quezon City’s number was lower than that of Manila with 64 as against the 84 cases registered in Manila.

The report also indicated that other police districts in the National Capital Region, like Pasig and Marikina, also registered a higher number of carnapping incidents.

“This is a vindication on the part of our city police. All along, for the past seven months, QC has to live with this label as if the city police is doing nothing”, said Mayor Herbert Bautista during a meeting with members of the QC peace and order council.

During the meeting, the Mayor assured QC Police District director P/CSupt. George T. Regis of the city government’s continuing support in the peacekeeping efforts of the QCPD, especially in solving carnapping incidents in the city.

To date, Regis said, the QCPD has been continuously reinforcing its patrol operations to prevent bank robbery and carnapping incidents and has strengthened surveillance capabilities and intelligence network on the identified members of carjacking groups and their modus operandi. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

‘Protestang Bayan’ vs. oil overpricing launched


Condemning the Big 3’s overpricing of petroleum products and the Aquino government’s collusion with oil companies, thousands gathered in various protest centers in Metro Manila today to call for an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil.


The coordinated local actions are part of the “Protestang Bayan laban sa Overpricing sa Langis at Sabwatang Noynoy-Kartel,” which also saw jeepney drivers launching a protest caravan to the main office of Shell Philippines and holding transport strikes in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.


The Metro-wide protest gathered hundreds in the following: Sta. Mesa and Anda Circle in Manila; Litex, Philcoa, Cubao and Elliptical Road in Quezon City; Monumento in Caloocan; Marikina; and other areas.


“The Big 3 persists in overpricing oil products and the Aquino government continues to collude with the oil companies. Because we want an immediate relief in the form of an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil products, the Filipino workers and people are left with no choice but to unite and fight,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.


“It is simply not true that Petron, Shell and Caltex are merely following price movements in the world market. It’s their mother companies who are dictating global oil prices and they are overpricing local petroleum products by P9.00 per liter at the least,” he added.


KMU claims local oil prices have been overpriced by at least P9.00 per liter, accumulated since January 2008. It says whenever there is a price hike in the world market, the Big 3 increases local prices by amounts higher than that dictated by the world market. Whenever there is a price rollback in the world market, the Big 3 reduces prices by amounts lower than that dictated by the world market.


Led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, the protest brought together the following: the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, Gabriela, Migrante, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, among other organizations, as well as progressive partylists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, and Act Teachers.


The protest caravan and transport strikes were led by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or PISTON.


“We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to intensify protests against the overpricing of petroleum products in the coming weeks. We have to match the Big 3 and the Aquino government’s determination in robbing us through overpricing with our determination to fight,” Labog said.


“The overpricing of petroleum products has become simply intolerable for those who are receiving meager wages or are jobless in the first place and are directly using petroleum products in the house or in earning a living. We vow to continue the fight in the coming weeks,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson