Comfort of Mayoyao development through organic farming
By Anthony A. Araos
Day in and day out, there’s so much life and promise at Mayoyao’s organic farms. Of course, the town has the reputation as “the organic farming capital of Ifugao.” It’s a great feeling for many in this scenic town to be called as such.
It is, therefore, easy to learn something new when a tourist visits Mayoyao. This is a good day to interact with the town’s organic farmers. The tourist- local or foreign– need not just bring his or her camera or cell phone to take a photograph, but also have substantial mental energy to plow through the field blessed with a lot of soil and water in these lush green surroundings.
The interaction is always lively and dynamic. So take time to visit Mayoyao’s organic farms and subsequently accomplish something else.
Mayoyao folks have been given unlimited hope through organic farming, even if some difficulty can obscure their desire to uplift their conditions for a while. The national government, ever ready to support them, offers much to help with assistance not only in the production aspect, but also a lot through credit and marketing systems and this makes sense.
Currently, what to do when one engages in organic farming are almost limitless. I have a friend in Umingan, Pangasinan who is earning well in his organic farm there. This is also true with another one from San Felipe, Zambales. The latter’s farm is attracting foreign tourists. After staying for three days or so in Subic town, they visited San Felipe. To say, therefore, that “there is something for everyone” in an organic farm” is surely an understatement. Hence, Mayoyao’s budding reputation as “an organic farming hub” not just in Ifugao, but also in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has finally come into fruition.
For a local traveler, it may appear to be daunting to have an itinerary in Mayoyao to include a visit to its rice terraces, waterfalls and organic farms. But for foreign tourists to visit the aforementioned sites and many other attractions in two to three days is always a welcomed challenge. Two years ago, I met in Makati City a Romanian tourist who visited the CAR, Boracay, Subic Freeport and Botolan, Zambales during her two-week vacation in the Philippines. She is from Resita City, an industrial center known for as a manufacturer of electrical appliances. She is a young doctor. I recommended Mayoyao (as well as Baguio City, Banaue in Ifugao and Sagada in Mountain Province) as a place for her to visit the next time she is in the country. “From horseback riding to an adventure-filled stay an organic farm in Mayoyao, there is an activity to surely pique your curiosity,” I told her. From one tourist to another, it’s always a pleasure to make an endorsement of Mayoyao as a great place to visit at each opportunity.
In these organic farms, there is calmness and serenity. Indeed, it is a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
I have full faith that Mayor Jimmy Padchanan Jr. will continue to fully support the organic agriculture sector. This sector, without a doubt, is poised for further growth. But as always it will not be easy. In order to make the best of the demands of an increasingly global order, Mayor Padchanan and others in the municipal government (most especially Vice Mayor Rudy Chilagan Jr.) will need to move aggressively to help organic farmers sell their produce beyond the confines of the Mayoyao Public Market.
If Mayoyao is inarguably the best in finding organically-raised crops in this part of the Philippines, where do its organic farmers turn to for profits? Interestingly, the answer to the query is not too far from the country.
There is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) market just waiting in the wings. It has a market of potential of over 620 million customers. The Asean is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mynmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Timor Leste is also a part of the Southeast Asian region. The Asean is no pushover. It is the third largest market in the world, the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh largest economy in the world. It has a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.3 trillion dollars. Wow! In other words, it is a huge market for Filipino organic farmers.
According to the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP), there are 43,470 farmers spread in 107,911 organic production areas in the Philippines about four years ago.
The opening of the markets in the Philippines to its Asean neighbors is integral to the Asean integration program. The program took effect in 2015. The Mayoyao municipal government has to deal with this reality. There is much at stake for its people, many of them are poor.
Rice, vegetables and fruits are grown in these organic farms. It is no longer difficult to export high-value crops to the highly-developed island-nation of Singapore. There is an acute land space problem to even engage in agriculture in Singapore. What to do with the pesticide-free vegetablesof Mayoyao unsold for so many years? The answer is so obvious! For its part, Mayor Padchanan has to certify this matter as urgent. Legislated action from the Sangguniang Bayan is also part of the equation to cash in the lucrative Asean market. Having acquired a reputation as a well-meaning official, I see no reason why Mayor Padchanan shall do otherwise. A dynamic public servant like him is going to need all the extra energy to do this. I can help by all means. Again, the stakes are so high for its impoverished people.
Doing so, the discussion goes, will help to reduce poverty incidence in Mayoyao, create more jobs and allow Ifugao to catch up with other provinces in the CAR.
I’m commending Lamut Mayor Mariano Buyagawan Jr., for his timely actions to contain the dengue problem in his town. Mayor Buyagawan showed it just doesn’t make any sense to squander the golden opportunity to save lives. His action shows he stand ready to work with the Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council) to address the problem. In plain and simple terms, Mayor Buyagawan went to work at the sidelines to protect Lamut’s 18 barangays (villages) without infringing on the constitutional right of the SB to act on this matter. In fact, the SB passed a measure related to the declaration of a state of calamity due to the dengue outbreak. Mayor Buyagawan, a man with a soft heart for the poor, was presented an important opportunity to look at the fact that Lamut faced a serious health problem. He acted swiftly and decisively on the problem. Working toward the betterment of the people means exercise of political will at all times. Also, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the families and victims of this outbreak.
It’s hard to forget August 28 simply because of the long-day power shortage in Lagawe and some other towns in Ifugao. On this day, I dropped by the Schools Division Office of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the capital town. Work was at a standstill. Except at the Supply Office since a small-sized (one horsepower and purchased a year ago) generator took the task of providing electricity for the office. However, it ran out of gasoline at about 4:30 p.m.Again, the brownout spared no one. Not even Schools Division Superintendent Gloria Baya-o. She worked under grueling conditions. Well, it came to me as a shocker to see countless personnel facing the same problem.
For the 2020 national budget, the government shall operate with a PhP4.1 trillion budget.PhP637 billion were earmarked for the DepEd. Yet, this office sadly can’t afford to purchase another generator.
It would be a pity if all the hardwork of these employees goes to waste in the event their health is affected by these brownouts. The government should do something so that this office will be able to buy another generator, so that all will benefit.
To achieve efficiency in operations even during power outages, DepEd needs to invest in vital equipment and infrastructure. The Schools Division Office in Ifugao had been under investing for so many years in basic equipment, which are necessary to attend to these problems. It must find space in the 2020 budget for must-fund items such as a generator.
Make no mistake these brownouts only result to zero productivity. Many went out because conditions were unbearable in their offices. Well, I saw them working in the dark and scorching hot air environment in complete and utter disbelief. There really isn’t a problem about the August 28 power outage in this office if computers were working. Over the years, it has become clear that in all-important DepEd facilities as this one the barriers to overcoming these woes are so pervasive and that these offices are so ill-equipped to address this problem that we must seek official intervention. The well-being of the personnel of the Ifugao Schools Division Office is obviously now in the hands of the DepEd, supposedly identified as the biggest benefactor of the national budget as spelled out by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Achieving this would ensure increase in efficiency and productivity resulting to happierworkforce and work environment.Good to be of help!
For the second time, I saw the presence of heavily-armed policemen during the election of officers of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL)-Ifugao Chapter in Lagawe. I witnessed the same in the previous one. All the while I used to hear Ifugao folks loudly saying that they’re a peace-loving people. For every instance of seemingly battle-ready cops taking part in such an activity there is always a sense of discomfort to many. It was only meant that the councilors possibly were violent-prone and brought with them armed goons. Are they maintaining private armies? I knew too well that the aspirants for various positions are peace-loving and God-fearing councilors. They have nothing to hide. Therefore, the practice of having Philipine National Police (PNP) personnel who armed to the teeth is downright and unconscionable. To my mind, to continue it is absolutely outrageous!
Unlimited odd thoughts unloaded: “Children of my town just won the national competition in declamation,” the mayor said. “What’s the big deal?,” asked a constituent.
“Well, children of my town also won in the provincial musical contest,” the mayor added. “Not only that, children of my town topped the basketball tournament in the elementary division,” he stressed. “Not to mention the fact the children of my town likewise emerged victorious in the swimming event in the regional competition,” he proudly proclaimed. “Still, Mr. Mayor there’s something I can’t figure it out,” the constituent said. “So what’s your question?,” the mayor finally blurted out. “What were the grownup politicians like you have done for our town to win the prestigious ‘Seal of Good Local Governance’award of the Department of Interior and Local Government?
It is not only the Gilas Pilipinascagers who are suffering huge setbacks these days. Unfortunately, Ifugao folks are also being trounced by Kalinga folks. Seven eleven (7-11) opened recently its first store in Tabuk City. Kalinga already has a Jollibee store to speak of, also in Tabuk City. There is none in Ifugao. City residents will now experience the convenience of buying their provisions for 24 hours. Ifugao is surely lagging behind Kalinga. For sure, incredibly stupid folks are going to say all over again that there is no need for development or progress in Ifugao. The absence of a mall, theater, airport and fastfood outlet easily explains this and the underlying underdevelopment here. A few individuals in the moneyed elite are frightful of changes for it shall result to their displacement and end up wielding power, influence and wealth.
Finally, here are some thoughts for our readers: “I will quit the warpath and live at peace hear after.” Geronimo, famous Indian apache
“When I began selling shoes in Manila right after the Second World War, I thought then that if I sold a pair of shoes to every Filipino even with very low margins, I would be a successful businessman.” Late Shoemart (SM) patriarch Henry Sy
“Notice good people, observe the righteous; peaceful people have descendants.” Psalm 37**