Dragon fruit’s promise as competitive edge of Alfonso Lista

By Anthony A. Araos

“If I have it my way, just to help promote the tourism industry of Alfonso Lista, I’ll put up a travel and tour firm and then come up with a customized tour package for local and foreign
tourists.”

In seeking out the pleasure of having a dragon fruit shake for merienda, my attention immediately shifted to the urgency of urging highly-placed officials of the fast-growing towns like Alfonso Lista to realize the benefits of domestic tourism. Presently, domestic tourism is soaring in the country. In other words, Filipinos are visiting various destinations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Certainly, the best place in the Philippines to enjoy a dragon fruit shake is Alfonso Lista. The reason is obvious. Dragon fruit is a major produce of the town.
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The capital town of Lagawe is set to host this year’s edition of the Ifugao Athletic Association Meet or the provincial meet. The meet takes place around the middle of November at various venues.
Truth to tell, the conditions there for the all-important track and field completion are below standards. The so-called “oval” is nowhere in the definition of an oval. Young athletes from the province’s 11 towns are to run and chase their dreams for honor and glory at competition times. Translation: youthful and promising athletes are out to snatch slots for Ifugao’s CARAA (Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association) team at the dirt-soiled “oval.” The teacher who has devoted the best part of his or her life to a noble cause cannot afford to let his or her pupil or student to compete in such horrible conditions is simply helpless.
In order to ensure that, for example, the 100-meter dash event is competitive, these Ifugao tracksters should be wearing rubber shoes. Yet, many are not. Bare-footed athletes are trying their luck against the elements of the so-called “oval.” Can’t believe it, but it is true! Bottom line: Ifugao is in dire need of a Sports Complex. The province should construct a world-class track and field oval.
Sadly, it does not even have an Olympic-sized swimming pool for competition. Swimming events are conducted at Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya. Ifugao swimmers train in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and at times even in far-away Isabela. I don’t even want to venture into discussing the fitness of the other venues of the meet. It makes me utterly sick to think of these despicable facilities, to say the least.
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Congratulations to Alfonso Lista town (as well as Asipulo, Lagawe and Lamut) for being the recipients of the prestigious Seal of Good Local Government (SGLG) from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). This is the first time Alfonso Lista emerged a national awardee.
Mayor Edralin Alipio received the award from Interior Secretary Eduardo Año during the culminating ceremony of the 28th anniversary of the Local Government Code at the Manila Hotel. Surely, it symbolizes the town’s historic journey towards good local governance upholding the standards of transparency, integrity and service delivery.
In the post-November 4 period following the jubilation of municipal government officials, Mayor Alipio should look forward and hurdle any and all new challenges that will make Alfonso Lista a better and more prosperous town not just in Ifugao and CAR, but all over the country. It is the most opportune time to help each other. Thus, efforts to strengthen public and private sectors ties should be pursued without let-up each second of the day.
Why suddenly the big buzz over the SGLG feat of Alfonso Lista?
The SGLG is no ordinary award. To my mind, it is an extraordinary award. It is an extra-special award. Passing the test of good governance means having complied with all the requirements of core areas- financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection, business-friendliness and competitiveness, peace and order, environmental management and culture and tourism and so it is easy to conclude that this is a serious matter.
Along with the SGLG plum, there is the rare opportunity of availing an incentive fund known as the Performance Challenge Funds, and will be able to access other DILG projects.
More than anything else, the SGLG truly means more than that. There is much more to the award than the prestige and the cash awards attached to it. It is a mirror of the realities on the ground that the municipal government was at least achieving its goal to reduce the number of people getting hungry or who are living in poverty incidence. Residents need not wait for direct trickle down effects of the economic growth such as job generation.
Make no mistake about it that the government is cognizant of the fact that public servants are in the forefront of the quest to achieve real increase in people’s income and decline in poverty rate. These are challenges to the 11 poverty-stricken towns of Ifugao. The message to the province’s officials is quite crystal clear: Don’t make life harder for Ifugao folks by living in a state of denial. There are multiple deprivations experienced by your “beloved” constituents with respect to education, health and living standards.
Verily, I am urging that all stakeholders continue praying for a brighter future for Alfonso Lista.
Of course, without a doubt, that I am ever optimistic that Mayor Alipio, Vice Mayor Agapito Dominguez Jr., councilors and barangay council and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials shall exert their utmost to raise the bar of public service by setting good example. There is simply no room for mediocrity in the coming years. It is for this reason that I remain bullish on the prospects of improving the town’s status as a third-class municipality because of the need for competent, caring and compassionate officials.
The SGLG award further should foster good governance among municipal and barangay government employees by promoting people excellence through professionalism, integrity and excellence as its core values. Guided by these principles, these personnel are transformed from government employees into servant heroes through their daily service. Through this honor and recognition, they are inspired to serve better the people at all times. For short, the award serves as an important tool in human resources development at the municipal and barangay halls.
At the plush Fiesta Pavilion of the famed Manila Hotel, it is very rewarding when each one thanks you for the work you do. It motivates Mayor Alipio to do more.
November 4 was such a great and historic day for Alfonso Lista. Mayor Alipio shared the limelight with many other mayors in the country. He received the SGLF award for the town. Well, who really won? Truth to tell, Alfonso Lista folks- young and old alike, also shared the centerstage with him when the award was given.
Today, the stakes can’t get ay higher. Alfonso Lista can now tune into the future.
Meanwhile, this is an excellent time for Mayor Alipio to underscore the need for Alfonso Lista folks to take the rare opportunity to grow in closeness and fully understand the essence of solidarity.
For now, it is recommended that Mayor Alipio meet key sectoral leaders of the town. Its objective is to amply tell them what took place on November 4 at the Manila Hotel. He should expand the people’s understanding of the ideals of the SGLG award and how will it relate to them in their daily lives. It is a big chance for him to interact with them. He may even tell them a funny anecdote about the program. Carry on an interactive discussion with them.
Likewise, a “Thanksgiving Program” should be conducted. Make this activity as impressive and meaningful as possible. It is a recognition of the municipal government’s achievement in upgrading the people’s well-being.
It is my prayer that Alfonso Lista folks can all contribute to this task to see a transformed and progressive town through the SGLG feat. It starts within all of them, when they decide to fully support and cooperate with the Alipio administration. Let us help in the socio-economic renewal of the town by spreading and backing the call for stronger ties between the public and private sectors. May they be truly be united despite the daily difficulties and obstacles, therefore reflecting the spirit of oneness. This is now the opportune time to trumpet the call for unity, and a “Thanksgiving Program” is a fitting response to this call.
I just coined a rallying slogan for the town: “ALista: The Best Ka! Every Body Active!” This slogan stresses the need for unity and active involvement in nation-building and the people’s strategic capability to make this happen. Town folks can no longer afford to sit complacently or idly and wait for dole out-filled events to unfold before their very eyes. There is no other alternative but to be in solidarity with one another. But that can only be done through the encompassing power of the aforementioned slogan. I earnestly pray that Alfonso Lista folks will discover the message of ensuring good governance in their midst and bright hopes for all of this which the SGLG embodies.
Meanwhile, let me go back commending Mayor Alipio, Vice Mayor Dominguez and above all, then Mayor Glenn Prudenciano, who is now the vice governor of Ifugao.
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Did you know? Evacuation is the act of evacuating in times of peril or danger. Most often, distressed individuals go to an evacuation center for their safety and well-being. As such, an evacuation center is generally filled by evacuees after an earthquake, tsunami (tidal wave), fire or typhoon hit a locality. An evacuation center is properly identified as such. Over the years, the municipal government has prioritized the provision of an evacuation center in the town. To date, Alfonso Lista has two evacuation centers.
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If I have it my way, just to help promote the tourism industry of Alfonso Lista, I’ll put up a travel and tour firm and then come up with a customized tour package for local and foreign tourists. Here is the deal: First, the inclusions: 3 days and 2 nights’ accommodation at a lodging inn. Breakfast is included. The Alfonso Lista countryside tour include visit to the 1,000 Steps site, migratory bird sanctuary, dragon fruit farms, corn plantation sites, Rancho Domingo, municipal hall, public market, Ifugao State University (IFSU) Potia campus and parts of Magat Dam. It is absolutely a wonderful tour package. This is a superb idea to finally invigorate the town’s tourism industry.
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Unlimited odd thoughts unloaded: Don’t ever send an e-mail to the person at the next door of your office telling him or her that your boss is stupid. You’re in big trouble!
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Finally, here are some thoughts for our dear readers: “My only consideration. The only standard, the only thing that I would ask for the next PNP chief is honesty. Even if you are not intelligent, you’re not the number one in class in PNPA (Philippine National Police Academy), even if you are the goat of the class but if you are the honest guy, I will go for you.” President Rodrigo Duterte
“The Philippine General Hospital is often the first option of and the last resort of the poor and the middle class to get the best medical treatment so any cut on its budget hurts the deepest.” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
“He must become greater, I must become less.” John 3:30

“The heavens proclaim that God is righteous, that He himself is judge.” Psalms 49, 50**

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