Rice paddies serve two fronts

By Anthony A. Araos

“ A rice paddy in Barangay Poblacion East in Lagawe is arguably the single most fascinating site in the province’s first district.”

Rice paddies are ideal destinations for those who like a trip highlighted by a place blessed with a nature setting. These rice paddies also offer breathtaking sceneries.
At one time, I saw a scenic picnic site at rice paddies in Hingyon town. Not too long ago, I was impressed by the rice paddies in Banaue, Kiangan, Lagawe and Mayoyao towns. Without a doubt, these are must-visit municipalities for local and foreign tourists who are on the lookout for the same.
Banaue, Hingyon, Kiangan, Lagawe and Mayoyao towns have basically agriculture-based economies. Small wonder, there are farmers and rice paddies. In between are soil tiller beneficiaries and hardships in coping with the high cost of living. A rice paddy in Barangay Poblacion East in Lagawe is arguably the single most fascinating site in the province’s first district. You’ll get to see sun-baked farmers early in the morning. For critical thinkers, it is not hard to see the urgency of providing them support to achieve rural and community-driven development. It shall increase farm productivity and income. A significant infusion of funds to the all-important agriculture sector by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is a significant step toward achieving the goal of boosting agriculture and farm tourism. In other words, a stimulus package shall create new opportunities for sustainable development in poverty-stricken Ifugao.
Throw away your plans for a Boracay trip. A trip to these rice paddies is entirely a different experience. What you see, mean and feel is the key to a harmonious existence with nature. Come to think of it some of these rice paddies are pleasantly framed by lush forests and hills. So don’t forget to take photographs for fond memories.
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I would like to acknowledge and underscore the significance of the simple but meaningful “thanksgiving” party of Ifugao Representative-elect Solomon Chungalao held recently at the Ifugao State University (IFSU)-Lagawe campus gymnasium.
The activity brought the spirit of genuine camaraderie among the people of the past to the present in this part of the province. Well, I am told the celebration was intended for residents of Lagawe and Hingyon towns. It is one of the many steps Atty. Chungalao is taking to broaden his reach, to serve more of the people where they are.
The first post-election activity in the capital town of incoming Representative Chungalao has concluded on an optimistic note. I described the mood of the crowd of 400 as “upbeat.”
Unfortunately, some politicians are still harboring ill-feelings about the results of the May 13 polls. Sadly, sharply focused collective memory for setting aside politics and moving forward seems to be elusive in this part of the region.
Governor-elect Jerry Dalipog, Board Member-elect Ceasario Cabbigat of the first district, former Governor Denis Habawel and former Vice Governor Nora Dinamling must have felt the same way because they decided to take part in the program. They want a new start. Their (Dalipog is from the National Unity Party, Cabbigat is an independent, Atty. Habawel is with the Nacionalista Party and Dinamling is allied with the PDP-Laban) mere presence signifies a change in Mr. Chungalao’s approach to governance. So much so that it looks like a good opening move in a chess game. Chungalao is recognized for his vision and insight, which foresaw the potential of harnessing resources to change how people live and so that they become responsible members of society. Chungalao said: “If some people who voted for others in the congressional race still don’t want to support and cooperate with us, the least I am asking them now is please allow us to do our work!”
The cooperation of all sectors to the incoming congressman as well as the governor shall certainly pave the way for the collective advancement of the aspirations of the people for a brighter future. The importance of solidarity toward progress in Ifugao is hard to refute. The ultimate goal is to come up with a consensus.
Verily, Chungalao vowed to work hard for Ifugao folks right on July 1, 2019. To buckle down to work even for those who supported his rivals in the last polls. To do otherwise now would be a betrayal of trust.
The future will surely be shaped largely by the performance of the incoming representative. It is because of this it is deemed essential to record and recount the story of Congressman Chungalao’s renewed stint at the House.
I worry about the dire consequences of squabbles and bickering among officials who are about to walk soon in the corridors of power as well as sniping remarks of soon-to-be out-of-commission politicians. This is not the proper attitude for officials. They should develop a better frame of mind.
I welcome the news that Representative-elect Chungalao shall give premium to the principle of transparency. His office should lead the drive to be transparent in government operations. It should openly share its information and plans to the public.
Glad to see you back, Congressman-elect Chungalao! Ifugao folks have to understand and realize what really is the job of the congressman in the first place? A congressman is to engage in productive discussions, legislating laws and serving his or her constituents and the nation. Not to be the guest speaker in a barangay fiesta, to be seen in birthday and wedding parties and giving prizes in sports or musical contests. The key strategy, therefore, is to keep in touch with the people through consultations on a regular basis. He should weigh carefully the costs, risks and implications associated with proposed measures.
I see Representative-elect Chungalao once more working on the legal framework and keeping things within the bounds of the law at the House of Representatives.
What I really want to see are full, open and dispassionate dialogues or discussions on proposed House Bills he is pursuing, whether as main author or co-author. It is simply incredulous for Ifugao folks to think if such discussions are no longer necessary. Sometimes, I get paranoid with the gravity of what incredibly stupid folks are saying that they want more to see their congressman attending a Gotad event than actively taking part in House deliberations of a key concern in the country. It is hoped that information on how much the government is helping the province is underscored by the next congressman during the 2020 Gotad and not the floats and parades.
At present it is heartening to find some local officials who are very much interested and willing to work hand-in-hand with the incoming congressman and governor to gain experience in propelling rural development through new approaches.
Notwithstanding the fact that traditional politicians continue to behave irrationally, one can readily point out the scant evidence of the sentiment for them to change their ways is being felt by the people. To Rep.-elect Chungalao: Ignore them and instead encourage collaborative and transformative actions from nongovernment organizations and the private sector as a means of building an economic order that promotes growth and spread its benefits more broadly.
Considering the renewed vigor of incoming Representative Chungalao and Governor Dalipog, I am excited to hear how they will make changes in governance in impoverished Ifugao.
I am fervently praying that the Almighty Creator shall continue to provide Congressman-elect Chungalao with the necessary tools and resources that enable him to effectively fulfill his duty as defender of Ifugao in Congress. A prayer: “I am trusting in the Lord for more blessings to the next congressman so that he may work zealously for the people’s welfare.”
Like others, I stand ready to work with them to bring about sustained and inclusive economic growth in the province. I will reach out with many others to help promote the noteworthy objectives of Rep.-elect Chungalao and Gov.-elect Dalipog.
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By the way, the “thanksgiving” party of the next Ifugao congressman also featured a modern dance number of kids. It is a welcome development. Efforts to modernize in the province will usher in more opportunities to end poverty in most places here. If the incoming congressman wants to draw investors to Ifugao, the Office of Representative Chungalao should stand ready to assist municipal governments in addressing socio-economic inequalities in their villages and in preparing to roll out initiatives to cope with the challenges of the global order. This particularly holds true in the area of infrastructure. A proactive platform, along with investments in agriculture to be made in the next three years, puts the Office of Representative Chungalao in a good position for a leadership role in Ifugao. While other provinces are on continuing investment binge, Ifugao’s agriculture is in a dismal state. Thus, efforts over the next three years should be focused on mechanized farming and diversification of crops.
Atty. Chungalao should establish the much-needed platform for a modern and market-oriented agriculture sector in order to improve competitiveness. From now on until 2022, rethink of the need for farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, drying and milling facilities, trading posts, tramlines, livestock auction markets and the like and redirect efforts to help better conditions in the fishery sector. This is what poverty reduction, inclusive growth and job creation are all about.
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The PDP-Laban slate in Ifugao suffered a huge setback. The ruling party’s candidates for congressman, governor and board members (except Agustin Calya-en) lost. They started at the wrong foot and ended up in shambles. A party headquarters (HQ) was set-up in Barangay Poblacion East in Lagawe. It hardly operated. Vice Gov. Jose Jordan Gullitiw, who ran and lost for governor, opted to take the battle at his separate HQ in another barangay. The slate lacked a “think tank” to take care of mapping out strategies. Miraflor Capuyan, who is gifted with many years in the public sector and renowned for her intelligence, was given menial tasks of preparing schedules of sorties of congressional bet Timmy Mondiguing, who placed fifth and last. Their campaign materials were plastered around the province. Someone forgot to tell them that tarpaulins don’t vote. “Many other unfortunate things that happened should not happen again,” is the summary of the vaunted well-oiled PDP-Laban failed Ifugao campaign.
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It is disheartening to see some very old houses- probably century-old ones, being demolished in just a couple of days at certain towns in Ifugao. Instead, efforts should be pursued to declare the same as “architectural gems” for tourists to visit. These are architectural and historical gems; all good for the province’s cultural development. To my mind, this is a lasting testimony to the province’s past and for tourists to get to enjoy a close brush with perhaps 100 years or so of civilization.
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For our food delights corner: It is very hard to resist a home-made pizza at snack time. A succulent take is in a pizza treat with lots of meat balls, ham, mushroom and cheese. For those who are eager to be a bit more hands-on, there is always room to add more items to a pizza. A must-try for households in Ifugao and the rest of the Cordilleras is the tuna and bacon pizza. Excellent with French fries and chilled mango juice!
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Finally, some thoughts for our readers: “I am pleased when you share with others.” Heb 13:16
“My soul, give praises to the Lord.” Ps 146:7, 8-9, 10-11**

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