And the winner is Barangay Pindungan!

By Anthony A. Araos

“ I am optimistic that the tourism industry of the town shall flourish with the vast potentials pf this village to draw a huge number of
visitors.”

Reward yourself this time of the year after a lengthy period of noisy campaigning of candidates of various persuasions with a trip to Barangay Pindungan in Kiangan town. Enjoy many other things out here and see the difference of life untouched by the hustles of electoral exercises dictated by moneyed politicians.
Surrounded by tall trees, there is an old house perched on a fertile lot. There are several sites worth visiting by local and foreign tourists.
During its recent barangay fiesta, visitors across the province and elsewhere like me, felt very surprised, impressed and awed by the beauty of the village and the hospitality of villagers. This is indeed a great place to spend a vacation. This is surely an ideal place to raise energy levels. Therefore, it is such a good day to understand and appreciate the meaning and essence of physical fitness. Reduce your fats and strengthen your bones and muscles through a sports activity in this part of the province. Make it happen now because it is for your best interest.
I am optimistic that the tourism industry of the town shall flourish with the vast potentials of this village to draw a huge number of visitors.
Incoming municipal government officials, henceforth, should focus on how best to respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by the possibility of influx of tourists. Public sector planners should have a new program of action where all the major components are more-or-less in place. These policy directions are best articulated in a new tourism masterplan. They include of course, inter alia, the following points. Development of infrastructure to improve public transportation, expand lodging and restaurant facilities and upgrade information materials about the town’s attractions. Reformulation of economic policies to promote competition and investments in the tourism sector is needed. Another vital matter is improvement of public sector governance to facilitate a more efficient and effective delivery of public services.
For a scenic village like Pindungan, the foregoing narrative is worth telling. And I intend to make many others know all about it.
To my mind, Barangay Pindungan is the winner this summer. Not the proverbial candidate who engaged in overspending to emerge triumphant in the polls. Hopefully, they’ll see the light that Barangay Pindungan is indeed a good destination for tourists who enjoy serenity and a lush scenery. It is best to spend more time in an unspoiled place as this one.
Walls plastered by streamers and other campaign materials and streets dampened by litter from the same may be part of the price Filipinos have to pay with the circus-like phenomenon brewing from the May 13, 2019 midterm elections. Honestly, the true winner is outside of the political spectrum.
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Over in Lamut, I’m praying for voters to consider supporting the bids for councilor of Rudy Dulnuan (independent) and Pio Famorca Jr. (Partido Federal ng Pilipinas). I’m commending both candidates for their commitment to promote the welfare of the people, most especially the poor, and eradicating poverty. They are also hardworking and highly-motivated.
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Should Ifugao voters just give up on the failure of the provincial government to be awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)? Good question.
The award’s criteria is excellence in financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection and peace and order.
Sadly, Ifugao has a dismal record on this score. Believe it or not: Quirino province emerged a national awardee in 2016 and 2017. In other words, Quirino is a back-to-back winner of this prestigious award.
How can Ifugao voters improve the province’s record? If they want to be a “winner,” they need to change their mindsets!
On May 13, 2019, Ifugao voters should have the courage to change things in this impoverished and backward province and the wisdom to know the difference.
The three candidates for governor are outgoing Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. of the Liberal Party, outgoing Vice Governor Jose Jordan Gullitiw of the ruling PDP-Laban and outgoing Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog.
Ifugao voters shoulder the heavy burden of choosing just one from the three worthy contenders.
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Incoming governor, vice governor and board members should wake up and realize the need of crafting an Ifugao Tourism Development Plan instead of again relying on the obsolete and outdated tourism program. The provincial government has failed to lift its tourism industry. A new tourism masterplan is badly needed by the province, one that is crafted by the private sector.
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The next governor, vice governor as well as board member who shall assume the chairmanship of the all-important committee on agriculture, environment and natural resources at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan should genuinely work for the protection of the rights and welfare of farmers.
Through several administrations, Ifugao has failed to modernize the agriculture sector thus, resulting to the unaddressed problem of poverty in the province. The lack of self-sufficiency in food production is glaring. It should be noted that Ifugao got stuck to the idea of mere “tinawon” rice farming without considering other commodities in which the proince may have more competitive advantage. “Tinawon” rice farming has been the model Ifugao farmers have followed for decades, which has led them nowhere. Backward practices only led them to low production.
Ifugao agriculture sector’s problems are easily analyzed as reflective of what have been going on in the national scale. The Philippines should not depend on importation of agriproducts like rice. Filipinos should be self-sufficient to ensure food security in the country. Sadly, farmers and their beneficiaries have been neglected by the government for so long. I struggled with that thought for years.
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The participation of the candidates for governor and representative (or congressman) in a forum just like the Ifugao Sangguniang Panlalawigan Candidates Forum for Good Governance at the Don Bosco High School Gymnasium is important as Ifugao gears toward making a turnaround of sorts from its notoriety as one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines into a better one, which is envisioned to provide more opportunities for the people. Please hold one in 2022!
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On May 13, 2019, Use your Voice, For the Voiceless.
Just by voting wisely, your voice will make a big difference. Don’t waste your chance to elect better officials- those who are competent, caring and compassionate- not clowns, carabaos and crooks! Vote for intelligent candidates for the collective good.
If the Philippines is at a crossroads and still Filipinos don’t know which way to turn, think of the consequences of the wrong choices in the May 13, 2019 midterm polls. All they need to do is listen. And listen well!
Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Randy David pointed out in his widely-read “Public Lives” column on May 5 timely insights on this matter. He said: “There can be no doubt that, on almost every criterion used in modern political systems, President Duterte’s personal choices for the Senate pale in comparison with those offered by the opposition. Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Pilo Hilbay, Romy Macalintal, Mar Roxas and Erin Tanada are about the best we could possibly get if we were forming a professional political class to help our country and people navigate the complexities of a globalized world. Highly educated, adequately informed about national and world affairs, and widely experienced in public service, the Otso Diretso candidates exude dynamism, vision, intelligence and love of country. They are not just names of individuals who happen to be endorsed by a popular president. These are outstanding professionals who are running on their own qualifications and experience.” Well said and stressed. A vote for the Otso Diretso senatorial slate is clearly a Vote to Secure Democracy and Build a Future.
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Sleeping with a strange bedfellow may be better alternative for Julio Tindungan, a candidate of the ruling PDP-Laban for board member in the first district of Ifugao.
Tindungan, an engineer, is reportedly not getting any support from his well-entrenched political party. Out of nowhere, I saw tarpaulins of the tandem of Mr. Tindungan, a distinguished professional and civic leader of Hingyon, and Romy Macalintal of the opposition Otso Diretso. Macalintal, a distinguished lawyer, is an advocate of the rights of senior citizens.
Tindungan took a calculated risk and adopt innovative ways of meeting the challenges of the times amidst limited resources. He is not a traditional politician or “trapo.” Tindungan’s platform for small farmers and fisher folk is well-pronounced. If elected, I am praying that Mr. Tindungan take a strong hand in ensuring financial inclusion for them. Farmers and fisher folk are not able to borrow due to their inability to comply with stringent credit policies and requirements on banks.
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A good friend of mine who is presently working with an Ifugao board member meant no ill will when he invited Don Rolloda, a senatorial candidate of the UNA during his May 4 wedding in Lagawe. Rolloda, a former Manila councilor, reportedly has been scheduled to hold some sorties in Kiangan, Lagawe and Banaue. Well, another friend of mine said just a few days before the wedding day that Mr. Rolloda cancelled his trip to Ifugao. What’s the reason? She said that Mr. Rolloda got a call from President Duterte and asked him to go to Davao City. The Chief Executive said he’s doing well in the surveys and something like he’s in the range of the 15th slot. My goodness, the guy is faring better than the likes of re-electionist Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and former Senator Serge Osmena. Pardon me, it is a sign that we see gullible folks rise at a terrifying scale.
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Jobless Ifugao folks have thousands of pesos two days before the May 13, 2019 polls. It is something beyond comprehension, beyond measure, not to be excused and shameful. What is the reason? The problem isn’t that there are vote buyers, the problem is how the number of voter sellers is growing.
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In his closing grand rally at the Kiangan municipal gymnasium, congressional candidate Atty. Eugene Balitang vowed to prioritize programs to further improve the quality of life in the countryside. A former governor, Balitang is running under the LDP and has been described as the “people’s choice.”
I fully agree. If elected, Atty. Balitang should initiate an inquiry at the House of Representatives on the matter related to the practice of “zero budget” imposed on opposition lawmakers. Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez got away with this. Ifugao Rep, Baguilat became the “guinea pig.” Ifugao people were the unwilling victims. Depriving them of their hard-earned tax payer’s money is absolutely unnecessary, irregular, illegal and reprehensible.
For our food delights corner: Here’s one great treat you can’t resist. So let’s have pork adobo with banana blossoms, a rich source of fiber. Get the freshly-picked ones. It is best served with steamed rice and tortang talong (eggplant omelet) at lunch or dinner. It is my all-time favorite since my grade school days in Metro Manila. Just add bananas, mocha cake and chilled orange juice at the table for appetizers and dessert. And, of course, don’t forget to say your prayers for all these blessings.
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Finally, some thoughts for our readers: “All your days are known to Me and your inheritance is secure forever.” Ps 37:18
“I have said this before, and I will say it again. All things work for good to those who have love God.” Late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago**

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