Teaching a heritage site right, not quite!
By Anthony A. Araos
Barangay health workers (BHWs) have augmented the insufficient medical personnel during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Reflecting on their actions during the crisis, a number of right-thinking Filipinos in the public and private sectors realize that the situation now and even in recent past has yet to lend itself ell to meaningful social reforms, and that reality must challenge Congress to push for immediate legislated action. I’m referring to the need for the inclusion of BHWs in the list of barangay officials who are receiving fixed allowances. Yes, I’m batting for the provision of a fixed monthly allowance for the BHW in recognition of her invaluable contributions to upgrading the country’s health care program.
Most Filipinos who can’t go to a hospital and seek treatment from a doctor, most especially in distant and underserved villages, rely on the BHW.
I’m strongly recommending a review of Republic Act 7883 (Barangay Health Workers Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995) for the betterment of their welfare. I’m thrilled to send letters to Senators Christopher Go, chairman of the committee on health, and Francis Pangilinan, also a staunch health advocate, urging them to advance this cause on a bi-partisan spirit. I hope that Senators Go and Pangilinan take the chance to work for granting of permanent salaries to BHWs (as well as Barangay Nutrition Scholars or BNSs).
The salaries (honoraria, as it is called now) of BHWs need to significantly improve. Their wages should be increased and commiserate to the high cost of living. Praise should be heaped on the BHWs. With their ideals still intact, they go house-to-house in the community with scarcely few pesos because of their meager allowances to make both ends meet, not knowing where the money to buy food will come from. BHWs are not just front liners, they are also consumers. They have families to feed and take care of. It is high time to promote their well-being. The BHW also deserves a good, decent, comfortable and happy life. This is indeed fitting to those who provide vital health care services and serve as health educators in the grassroots level. The BHWs proved in the drive to fight and contain the COVID-19 disease that they deserve a better deal. Be just! It is high time to enact a law on the foregoing concern.
Senators and congressmen should double time in order to pass key measures needed to resuscitate a battered economy following the COVID-19 crisis. This is particularly true for members of the lower chamber. The House of Representatives possesses the power to allocate funds for government expenditure.
Believe it or not: lawmakers at Congress have a month-long Halloween break. With due respect, my esteemed friends there please forgive me for holding the idea that the “Trick or Treat” fun fare is merely a one-day affair. For short, a 30-day recess is simply too long.
It would be an understatement to say that Ifugao farmers are fervently praying for a “miracle” to take place. This has reference to assistance from the provincial government. To this day, many are scratching their heads why the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is not allocating sufficient funds for the modernization of the agriculture sector. Increased budgetary allocation for this sector is the right step leading farmers and fishermen towards prosperity. Even the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has acknowledged that agriculture is among the sectors which consistently registered the highest poverty incidence since 2006.
Additional allocation for 2021 for the agriculture sector means greater capacity to purchase essential equipment such as hand tractors, rice threshers, tillers and rice reapers.
More importantly, since backward practices among soil tillers are still prevalent, there’s a chance to finally attain farm mechanization in Ifugao.
For our food delights corner: a trip to Taipei is simply incomplete without partaking a meal of chicken steak, steamed crab glazed with honey, asparagus soup and java rice. An authentic taste of Taiwanese cuisine is always possible anywhere in the world because ingredients used are easily available. Just make sure that the prime meal of chicken steak is fresh, juicy and crispy. Make the grade so that the chicken steak is a runaway winner. After sampling the chicken steak at lunch with the family, go for BBQ fried chicken- another must-eat Taiwanese treat at the table. Taiwanese chefs have a reputation for impeccable mastery of cooking steaks, barbecues, ribs and fillets. Hear this: there is more to dumplings, dim sum and the likes in the Taiwanese gourmet. I do cook. I’m most willing to share more insights on these items. I take pleasure in sharing these thoughts on traditional Taiwanese cooking. Also, the preparations of Taiwanese traditional dishes seem all too, well, social-structured. Dining becomes more meaningful when spent with family.
For appetizers and dessert: there is lychee-strawberry tart, blueberry sorbet and the famed extra-sweet Taiwanese pineapple. Great with chilled apple juice at the side and this is what fine Taiwanese dining is all about. Proudly Taiwanese, it is a fantastic meal even anywhere in the Philippines.
I have met a number of corn farmers who are entertaining the thoughts of shifting to planting vegetables. They surely have serious doubts because of the claim that vegetable farming is a low enterprise. Moreover, the risk of failure is quite high. This is largely true. The problem is man-made. Of course, the solution is man-made too.
Farmers who are in this predicament certainly need new farming knowledge and skills, as well as resources in order to succeed. Do not be afraid of creative change. Do not be afraid of doing your best out there in the fields! Make this happen in a farm school and make all stakeholders feel good.
Brainy tidbit: Milk is rich in calcium. It also contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, protein and several important minerals. Studies have shown that adults who get less than two-thirds of the recommended intake of calcium are technically deficient in four to six other key nutrients. Drinking milk every day is the solution.
Brains-for-rent bits: An official’s contention that he has nothing to worry even if the enhanced community quarantine is extended to a year and rice relief packs are to be given to his constituents each week. “We have the money. There is a calamity fund. I have a detailed plan,” he declared. Of course, that’s not possible. The calamity fund clearly cannot contain details because there is no way to predict just how many typhoons and other calamities would take place in his municipality in a given year. There’s really nothing inside his brains. Yet, there is definitely something for everyone. Rent-a-brains solution- especially for grownups! Allowing these grownup officials to still call the shots is the greater disaster wrought by COVID-19. It pains me to see the incredibly stupid masses addressing them as “Honorables.”
Ifugao teachers are likely to have a very difficult time teaching students the “true state” of the famed Banaue Rice Terraces. Over the years, they were told the Banaue Rice Terraces in Barangay Battad gained the distinction as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization)-declared World Heritage Site.
Something took place along the way four years back. In 2016, it was delisted as such. I don’t know if people just forget this history or what. Four years Ifugao students of all levels cling to the idea that the Banaue Rice Terraces were still in the UNESCO list. To say it was merely an isolated case of “miseducation” of the young learners was to greatly minimize what took place. There is nothing isolated about being imparted of “outdated” information. Everything else is up to par; upgrading the quality of education in the countryside. Misconception or ignorance would convey a bad message. So I asked recently a Lagawe Central School teacher what the Department of Education (DepEd) is going to do about it. “We can’t do anything about it,” she replied. I disagree. On the contrary, it is time to rewrite textbooks regarding this matter. It is a good beginning.
Teaching the young is like nurturing their minds. Telling them of the Banaue Rice Terraces unique tag is a matter of expressing one’s pride. Is it right? Not quite. Teaching a heritage site right is a matter of accuracy. There is no panacea for imparting this information as each Ifugao learner will face unimaginable challenges as digital information continues to revolve overtime. Several of us know the importance of a discerning and critical eye for information in the digital age. The DepEd should develop the potentials of the young people and equip them with important knowledge for the 21st century. It should be mindful of what’s right and wrong. It is all about the former. It says so much. This is no small matter.
Finally, here are some thoughts for our dear readers: “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.” Lk. 13, 1-9
“We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19.” World Bank president David Malpass**