The second top destination in Ifugao
By Anthony A. Araos
Visiting the CAR is incomplete if Ifugao is not in the itinerary. What’s the top destination in Ifugao? Many are saying it is Banaue because of its world-renowned rice terraces. What’s the second top destination in the province? Take your pick: Mayoyao, Hungduan, Kiangan or Asipulo. I even heard someone asserting that it is Tinoc. I’ll discuss this matter in my next commentary. Promise, you’ll agree with me because it has a kit of factual moorings, so to speak.
What about new faces at the Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council) in Lamut? The possibility is not being ruled out by many observers in this largely farming town of Ifugao.
Paul Maligro is now preparing for his bid to win a seat at the Sangguniang Bayan. An independent candidate, Maligro is presently the Punong Barangay of Magulon. He is one of the 25 candidates for councilor in Lamut. There are eight seats at stake.
Many are so thankful for his decision to contest the said position and bring new faces and ideas to this legislative body.
Additionally, countless barangay council officials are now looking forward to such an eventuality in the May 13, 2019 midterm polls to give more voices to leaders in the grassroots level in the decision-making process.
Punong Barangay Maligro’s record as a public servant is splendid. He is dedicated, hardworking and caring.
Lamut folks are truly blessed and fortunate to have officials like Punong Barangay Maligro. With this development, barangay council officials are able to pursue their dreams of serving the people even in a higher capacity and create an opportunity to take on other tasks for the widest number of people in the town.
If elected, it is hoped that Mr. Maligro shall be also be instrumental in boosting the growth and productivity of the agriculture sector, an important component of the town’s economy. Like the other ten towns of the province, Lamut’s agriculture sector should venture to a modernization program. Modernizing farm practices that will ensure high crop yield is integral in improving the conditions of farmers. It is surely not hard to recognize the key role of agricultural development in the country’s economic development.
In the event that he gets elected, Mr. Maligro should not the town’s fisher folk. Only then can the Lamut Sangguniang Bayan become a true partner of the agriculture sector.
Over the years, the Ifugao provincial government has been sending too many officials to the annual Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Meet. This year is no exception.
There were 74 delegation officials. Many of them should instead have stayed home. Only those with clearly “necessary” functions should have been given the green light. At most, only seven to eight of them are needed there. Think of the huge expenses in terms of travel, food, uniform and lodging accommodation requirements. A clearer perspective on what public funds are involved in these huge expenditures of officials will resonate.
This is clearly a waste of money by heartless officials!
Ifugao voters, most especially the young and educated ones, must get a dictionary and clear definition of the word “junket” to appreciate this discussion and share the sentiment. Frankly, I’m praying for the emergence of the next governor with a strong political will to once and for all end the practice of having “junket trips” to the CARAA and the likes.
Governance is also a key competitive advantage of implementing a well-meaning and sound sports development program.
On the other hand, young boxers reportedly lacked honest-to-goodness gloves while in rigorous training. Many other athletes experienced the same predicament. All told, Ifugao athletes lack the necessary equipment and training. Small wonder, Ifugao placed a dismal fifth in the overall standings.
This despicable and shabby treatment of athletes is the biggest error in the entire chapter of the Ifugao’s quest for honor and glory this year. There is simply no room for excuses and alibis.
Immediately after the end of the competition in Luna, Apayao, Ifugao folks got a mixed feeling of anger, frustration and pity. Imagine, from third (in the last staging in Bangued, Abra) to fifth thus, Ifugao placed second to the last among the six provinces in the region. Truly, it broke my heart after witnessing athletes giving all their energies in training sites in Lagawe.
Now, let’s go back momentarily to the so-called Ifugao delegation list of honorary officials. For one, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation and concurrent Board Member Aezel Dumangeng is not even included in the said list. Yet, the PCL (Maximillan Luglug) and ABC (James Buhulon) were listed. Lagawe Vice Mayor Vilma Alcayna’s name was nowhere in the list. Instead, Caesario Cabbigat (who was earlier suspended as the town’s vice mayor and is now running for board member in the province’s first district as an independent bet) has been listed as such. Honestly, I do not understand why these glaring errors are still occurring in the age of information technology. Well, the possibility of an incredibly stupid guy once more placing a tarpauling “congratulating” the Ifugao athletes in the just-concluded CARAA competition looms in the air. Only in Ifugao!
Let it be a timely reminder to all concerned parties, most especially the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the youth sector should get its rightful share of the province’s blessings in the budget in the form of novel ways like subsidies for athletes and strategic infrastructure works such as the construction of a sports complex and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, among others. It is, therefore, integral for incoming Sangguniang Panlalawigan members to cultivate more competitive sports populace where thrust for excellence accelerate the people’s journey towards greater glory.
Most Ifugao’s young and promising athletes still utterly lack proper training because sports facilities are antiquated. As a result, they are easily overwhelmed by their counterparts from Baguio City and Benguet province. And this time around, even from lowly-ranked Apayao. Apayao athletes have made Ifugao athletes their whipping boys and girls to the dismay of many.
Contrary to the facile assertion that the host province (or city, as in the case of Baguio City but that is another story because it is a highly-urbanized city) shall simply dominate the CARAA, arguing that what took place in Luna where Apayao trounced the Ifugao contingent and the others with the exception of Baguio City, I submit that facts indeed showed that in the 2018 Abra edition of the CARAA it isn’t true. Thus, Ifugao athletes asserted themselves in Bangued.
Neither does the notion that there is nothing wrong for pupils to be competing in track and field event when in fact, for instance, the Lagawe Central School (Ifugao’s largest public elementary school in terms of enrollment) doesn’t even have a decent, honest-to-goodness oval to begin with. All told, Ifugao’s public schools’ “ovals” are made up of dirt soil refurbished only during district meets.
Ifugao sports program is plagued with several problems. It is high time for incoming officials to attend to these problems and new playing venues and training sites be identified. A task force group from the private sector should be created to conduct an extensive study on the competency of towns, quality of educational institutions and infrastructures.
There is also a need to push for strong partnership between the public and private sectors to strengthen the “Adopt-an-Athlete” program.
Do the Ifugao swimmers deserve a better deal by finally having their own Olympic-sized swimming pool right in their own backyard instead of training in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya? Yes. Would that lead to better results, or such make any sense at all? It is, of course, the only practical solution to this longstanding problem. In fact, it is very costly to send them in Solano or Bayombong for training purposes. Expenditures earmarked for the same are better allotted for acquisition of vitamins and towels and the likes.
As to all these lingering problems and lack of understanding of the province’s genuine needs and wants of its sports program, suffice it to say that appropriate remedial measures can still apply in most case, without prejudice to timely and relevant legislative action that may be resorted to save and invigorate it. Such action, however, is likely to be taken by incoming members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. By March 29, the campaign of local candidates shall start. Even now, most of the board members are already busy going around with their “sorties” and “consultation” meetings in aid of re-election.
To seek a relief to the problem a simple understanding of the fact that young athletes in the primary and secondary levels are the main actors in the playing venues of the CARAA. Officials must first of all understand that they are not entered in track and field, volleyball, sepak takraw or any other event.
Board Member Robert Humiwat opted not to attend the opening program of this year’s CARAA. Lavish trips, meals and accommodations will be a thing of the past if only others follow suit. A law is needed at clamping down on unnecessary or junket trips at the CARAA and other related activities. Fortunately, Board Member Humiwat was among the few “honorable” who realized it was unthinkable and unacceptable to see Ifugao’s best athletes are being “billeted” at cramped up classrooms of public schools during these CARAA meets. To my mind, it imposes a serious threat to their well-being and it is an unforgivable act, to say the least, of ineptness toward these talented athletes.
Once more with meaningful feelings! Once again, March is being celebrated as Women’s Month in the country. I’m inclined to honor the women sector in Ifugao by going beyond the old mindset of merely having women join the usual in-the-box parades. I strongly believe that giving them a greater voice in the decision-making process is vital if we intend to truly realize the goal of women empowerment. By raising the people’s awareness of their role in society, we will be able to attend to their needs, and attain the kind of development that we seek for the nation. Thus, the need to put into office in the May 13, 2019 midterm polls, more women candidates who are socially oriented including in women and human rights issues easily arises. In this sense, the forthcoming electoral exercise in Ifugao is very exciting. There are women candidates in various such as board member, vice mayor and councilor. Presently, women suffer most because of lack of access to basic services from government, most especially in remote villages. One glaring reason is that they are underrepresented in the legislative-making bodies.
Women are key players in the attainment of the objective of safeguarding the environment. They should take the lead role in this very vital task. Verily, the achievements of women leaders in the national level such as Senator Loren Legarda in protecting the environment should serve as inspiration to barangay council and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials to strongly support environmental preservation and protection initiatives being pursued by concerned government agencies as well as the private sector to enhance the prevalence of a clean and green environment beneficial to the present and incoming generations of Filipinos.
The “Women’s Forum on Vital Issues” was conceived to go beyond the mindset of having women join annual Women’s Month parades. As an innovative endeavor, the forum shall engage over and contribute to a wider intellectual front. It is set on March 14 at the Poblacion North Barangay Hall with Atty. Eugene Balitang, former governor of Ifugao, as Keynote Speaker. Balitang, also a former board member, staunch women’s rights advocate and Certified Public Accountant, shall discuss “Women in Governance” topic. An array of distinguished resource speakers are also scheduled to address the forum. The forum seeks to encourage stakeholders to exercise responsible citizenship making them effective agents of change in the community and ensure the women sector is an active part of the government’s inclusive growth program. Participants are from the ranks of women Sangguniang Barangay and SK officials as well as key women leaders in the private sector, whose lives are characterized by selfless service which impacts the lives of the widest many.**