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This story was taken from Bulatlat, the Philippines’s alternative

weekly newsmagazine (www.bulatlat.com, www.bulatlat.net,

www.bulatlat.org).

Vol. V, No. 37, October 23-29, 2005

Mines over Citrus in Nueva Vizcaya

10,000 rights violations reported due to mining

To the farmers, Ifugao communities, some business leaders and

government officials of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, northern Philippines

a far worthy treasure more than mines exists in a budding citrus fruit

industry in their province blessed with fertile land, a hospitable

climate and lush forests.

BY FELICISIMO MANALANSAN

Bulatlat

Citrus or mines?

To the farmers, Ifugao communities, some business leaders and

government officials of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, northern Philippines

a far worthy treasure more than mines exists in a budding citrus fruit

industry in their province blessed with fertile land, a hospitable

climate and lush forests.

Despite of the billions of pesos expected to be gained from the

Citrus farms, government favors the extractive, destructive mining by the

Australian Climax-Arimco Mining Corp. (CAMC), recently renamed

Australasian Mining.

This threat of foreign mining on Nueva Vizcaya’s citrus fruit farms

was among the highlights of the mining forum entitled “Defend Land,

Life and Resources” held on Oct. 10 at the Quezon City Memorial

Circle Seminar Hall. Organized by Defend Patrimony, the forum was attended

By more than 100 participants who later on marched to the Department of

Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in a symbolic protest

action.

A budding citrus druit industry

Anti-mining groups in Nueva Vizcaya have vowed to oppose the

Australasian Mining under the Didipio Earth Savers Movement (Desama).

Desama leaders who attended the conference believe that the mining

will devastate the Cagayan Valley watershed, aside from denying the

land’s bounty to the people of Didipio and the entire province.

“Parang di ekonomista ang pangulo samantalang mas malaki ang kikitain

sa citrus kaysa sa mining” (The President is not really an economist

considering that citrus will yield more earnings compared to mining),

said Alfonso Acoje, an agriculturist who claimed to have started the

citrus fruit industry in Didipio in 1997.

Currently, 500 hectares of land in Didipio are planted to citrus

oranges. This is projected to earn the province P806 billion ($14.6

billion at P55:$1), according to a power point presentation during

the

forum. “Imagine if instead of just 500 hectares, we could have 5,000

hectares of citrus,” said Acoje whose plan to expand citrus farms to

benefit farmers throughout the province is frustrated by the mining

company.

In contrast, according to John Olandi of the Didipio Earth Savers

Movement (Desama), CAMC forecasted a dismal $1.2 billion as proceeds

of its mine after mine life. Furthermore, CAMC is silent about the

environmental costs of its operations, Olandi said.

But Olandi alleges CAMC’s bribery and “dirty tactics” are making it

hard for the people of Didipio to make a united stand. Already 12

members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial council) of Nueva

Vizcaya gave their consent to the mining project as against only one

opposed, says Olandi.

Australian CAMC officials claimed they have the backing of the

national government in the Financial and Technical Assistance

Agreement (FTAA) for mining project.

Olandi also said that since the mining company started in 1994, some

farmers from the Ilocos provinces also started settling in Didipio.

He said these settlers sold their land to the mining company and now

constitute the “anomalous majority” favoring CAMC’s mining project.

More than 10,000 victims of rights violations

The forum also cited a total of 10,500 individual victims of human

rights violations related with mining projects throughout the country

in 1994-2005.

The violations reflect a nationwide trend in human rights abuses in

places where there are mining projects, according to Clemente

Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, a member of Defend Patrimony.

 Nine activists opposing large-scale foreign mining Projects have already been killed in

 different parts of the country recently, he said.

The groups Soccskargends Agenda and Inpeace Mindanao accounted for

The rights violations in 60 documented cases involving 3,181 families in 30 communities,

 most of them indigenous B’laans, in the boundaries of Saranggani, Davao del Sur,

Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.  The

cases were documented by a solidarity and sympathy mission (SSM) led

by the two groups last September.

The human rights violations involved cases of massacre, frustrated

massacre, strafing, torture, denial of medical attention, illegal

arrest, search and seizure, harassment, displacement and

reconcentration of communities, food blockade and divestment of

property. According to the SSM report, human rights violations, happening from

1994 to January 2005, coincided with the entry in Tampakan, South

Cotabato, of Australian-owned Western Mining Company (WMC), now

Sagittarius Mining, Inc. (SMI), one of two transnational mining

corporations, which hold existing Financial and Technical Assistance

Agreements (FTAA) with the government.

The violations also coincided with increased military operations in

the area. Five battalions of the Philippine Army, including Scout

Rangers, patrol the quadri-boundary within the vicinity of SMI’s mine

site. B’laan leader Dulphing Ogan, secretary general of Kahugpungan sa mga Lumad sa Halayong

 Habagatang Mindanaw (Kalubhamin), believes there is coincidence in the entry and operation

of SMI and increased military

presence in the quadri-boundary. To him, SMI is directly and

indirectly to blame for the human rights violations, adding that the

mining company may even be funding the military operations in the

area.

“Hindi kaya ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) ang marami at

sunud-sunod na mga operasyon kung walang pondong nanggagaling sa SM”

(The AFP cannot afford the series of multiple military operations

without funds coming from the SMI), says Ogan.

“Where else can we go?”

Meanwhile, B’laan families in barangays Danlag and Tablao, Tampakan

are now being coerced and intimidated to leave their dwellings and

farms to make way for SMI’s operations, it was learned. Ogan says the

B’laan communities in these barangays are located directly below the

base camp of SMI. The communities will be buried with SMI’s mine

waste, says Ogan.

But most B’laans in the said barangays do not want to leave, says

Ogan.  Ogan adds he foresees a repeat of bombing incidents in 1994

when a B’laan woman and the child in her womb died when the military

resorted to aerial bombardment to force B’laan communities out of

exploration sites of the former WMC.

During the forum, indigenous peoples of Cordillera revealed similar

threats of displacement. Nearly half of the Mt. Province’s 1.8

million

hectares of land, or 730,000 hectares are now applied for mining

permits by transnational mining corporations (TNCs), according to

Pastor Vergel Aniceto of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) and

APIT-TAKO.

“Saan na pupunta ang mga Igorot, Kankana-ey, Kalinga at iba pa naming

katutubong mamamayan ng Cordillera?” (Where else will the Igorots,

Kankana-ey, Kalinga and other Cordillera indigenous peoples go?”

Aniceto asks.

Aniceto, however, says that most people in Cordillera, including the

local government, are determined to oppose new mining ventures in the

Cordillera provinces. He cites as example a recent multi-stakeholders

meeting in Baguio City where the participants united to block any new

mining projects, despite being denied to speak during the meeting.

The multi-stakeholders meeting was convened by the Office of the

President through presidential envoy for mining Delia Albert,

according to Aniceto. Bulatlat

© 2005 Bulatlat ”  Alipato Publications

Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article,

provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and

notified.

 

 

<http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20051027/lf_afp/afplifestyles_051027195738>

Thu Oct 27, 3:57 PM ET

Ilocano way of Cooking

BATAC, Philippines (AFP) - Bile stew, buffalo brains, termites and raw
grasshoppers -- even by adventurous Asian tastes the cuisine of the
Philippines' Ilocos region makes some visitors balk.

Over centuries such delicacies have blended by necessity into the
gastronomic traditions of this parched northwestern corner of the
Philippines, where a brief rainy season heralds a time of plenty.

The tamarind trees on its scraggly hills shake violently as children
come to pluck the slumbering June beetles, while termites fly out at
night at their peril to shed their wings into large vats filled with
water.

Frogs are caught on the rice paddies, as are crickets and snails of
various shapes, all of which take pride of place as entrees on dinner
tables alongside young bamboo shoots, mushrooms and various vegetable
shoots all smothered in cane vinegar and fish paste.

"Subtlety is not found in their gastronomic dictionary. Reflecting the
difficult conditions of the land, most of the dishes are either salty
or bitter," says the official tourist guidebook of the cuisine of
Ilocos Norte province.

"The Ilocanos' penchant for whipping up dishes from ingredients which
others would consider inedible gives Ilocano cuisine its distinct
edge," it adds.

At the weekly livestock fair on the outskirts of Batac, spouses
Franklin Calacal and Minda Tan serve water buffalo meat and tripe
cooked in bile, ginger and black pepper and served in a scalding soup.

The diner used to cater to farmers and other livestock traders who
haggle over water buffalo, cattle and other draft animals beneath the
shade of spiny monkeypod trees. But locals say the 35-peso (62.5 US
cents) dish has turned it into the most popular restaurant in the
province.

Local officials, doctors, and other professionals from across Ilocos
Norte and other nearby provinces as well as increasing numbers of
tourists from elsewhere take the long drive every Sunday to dine al
fresco on long communal tables on a dirt floor.

"They eat breakfast here, snacks, and then lunch," eating the same
dish, Calacal tells AFP. Many of the diners are in their Sunday finery,
having just attended mass at the Batac church.

For those averse to bile stew, there is buffalo brains and a pork dish
made of minced pig ears mixed with chopped onions and lime.

"The peak periods are Lent and the Christmas season," says Calacal, a
former tricycle driver who gets the wood-burning stoves fired up at
dawn.

"After a week, they cannot wait to eat water buffalo meat. They say it
is tastier and juicier than beef," says his wife.

Western-style fast food restaurants are mushrooming across the region,
"but I still go for Ilocano food", says Jocelyn Corpuz, who helps her
mother run a 40 year-old meat pie business beside the Batac Roman
Catholic church.

She says Ilocos food is different -- the meat pie is made from papaya
shavings, bean sprouts, and egg wrapped in tangerine-colored rice dough
then deep-fried. To non-Ilocanos, "they think all we eat are weeds",
she tells AFP.

An Ilocos-born Filipino senator once famously blew his top when his
staff threw out the contents of his lunch box -- nalta jute herb leaves
that they mistook for garbage.

When Ilocanos butcher a pig, nothing goes to waste with innards and
pig's blood sauteed and cooked in vinegar, crushed garlic, ground
pepper.

It's the same story for goats, a regional favorite. The animal is
force-fed with vinegar then butchered and hauled over an open fire to
burn off the hair. Thin slices of meat and liver are then served up,
marinated in vinegar and mixed with chopped garlic and mixed with
partly digested juices from the tripe.

Tina Bayden hawks frog meat for 150 pesos (2.68 dollars) a kilogram
(2.2 pounds) on Wednesdays and Sundays in the public market of nearby
Laoag, the provincial capital.

The white meat is marinated in vinegar or lime and deep-fried, or
seasoned with vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce like a pork dish.

She keeps a few frogs alive in a small sack, just in case the buyers
want to prepare the dish differently. Fishermen catch the croakers from
rice paddies in nearby villages around Batac, using ordinary baited
fishing rods.

The dry season brings a new set of delicacies, including certain types
of grasshoppers that are eaten raw in situ as farmers harvest the rice
crop.

The leaves, shoots or flowers of many vegetables, and even trees, are
considered edible, including the crescent-shaped white flowers of the
corkwood tree.

It is also the time when giant red tree ants build nests atop trees to
breed their young. The large white eggs of these ants, which faintly
taste sweet and sour, are among the most expensive of Ilocano
delicacies.

For the less adventurous, the less starling faces of Ilocano cuisine
are the homemade sausages made from ground pork, pork fat, chopped
garlic, ground pepper and marinated with cane vinegar, and deep-fried
slabs of pork.

The latter is the garnish of choice for the region's most popular dish
-- eggplant, bittergourd, gumbo, and string beans cooked in fish paste.

 

 
Wealthy Indian trader killed in Nueva Vizcaya
 
A wealthy Indian national engaged in buy-and-sell business was shot 
dead while five persons were seriously hurt in two separate incidents 
here on Monday.
 
Provincial Director Robert Mangaccat identified the victim as 
Ragvander Singh, 34, Indian national. Singh's assailant who still 
remains unidentified shot the victim inside a videoke bar here.
 
Police reports showed that Singh and a certain Renato Jose were 
engaged in a drinking spree inside the bar when an armalite rifle 
wielding man wearing a bonnet fired at him. Singh was hit in his left 
chest. He died while undergoing treatment at the Veterans Regional 
Hospital here.
 
On the other hand, Chief Superintendent Jefferson Soriano, Cagayan 
Valley regional police chief, said five persons were seriously 
wounded on Monday when two vehicles fell into a ravine along the 
national highway here.
 
Two of the victims were identified as Sonny Sozimo and Caesar Franco, 
both residents of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija.
 
They, along with the three others, whose identities have yet to be 
determined, are now undergoing treatment for their multiple injuries 
at the Magsaysay Provincial Hospital in Bambang town and Veterans 
Regional Hospital.
 
The incident took place after the Isuzu elf driven by Sozimo rammed 
on another elf truck parked at the roadside of the national highway 
in Barangay Almaguer, Bambang, causing them to plunge into the ravine. 
 
 
Baguio-Aritao road now 35% complete
 
ARITAO, Nueva Vizcaya, Nov. 9 - The regional office of the National 
Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has expressed optimism that 
the 102-km. Baguio-Aritao road network will further hasten the flow 
of trade and commerce between the Cordilleras and Cagayan Valley once 
it is completed. The NEDA regional office, which also serves as the 
secretariat of the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region II, 
said as of last month, the project is already 35 percent complete. 
Acting regional director Mary Anne Darauay said the road improvement 
project, being undertaken through a loan with the Japan Bank for 
International Cooperation (JBIC), will be the shortest road link 
between Cagayan Valley, Benguet and the Ilocos provinces in Northern 
Luzon. Transport of the region's agricultural products especially 
vegetables will soon be facilitated as most of the vegetable produce 
of Nueva Vizcaya land in Baguio City markets, she added.
 
 
Historic Dalton Pass to be renamed Balete Pass
 
To "Filipinize" Dalton Pass and highlight its historic value, the 
provincial government here and some government line agencies have 
made a move to rename it as "Balete Pass" to give back its glory.
 
After passing through Carranglan town in Nueva Ecija, motorists from 
the rest of Luzon enter the marker gateway to the Cagayan Valley 
region.
 
At the left side of the road on top of a mountain about 3,000 feet 
above sea level is the famous Dalton Pass.
 
A rugged terrain and the only access road between Pampanga and 
Cagayan Valley, it is also the gateway to the world famous Banaue 
Rice Terraces in Ifugao.
 
During World War II, Balete Pass played an important role in the 
country's struggle for freedom from the Japanese forces.
 
The Battle of Balete Pass is one of the 16 significant events in the 
liberation of the Philippines then.
 
The Battle of Balete Pass, the gateway to the Cagayan Valley, was 
declared Japanese-free by General Kruger on May 13, 1945. The drive 
through it cost 2,200-battle casualties with 544 soldiers killed.
 
In memory of the battle, Balete Pass was renamed Dalton Pass after 
Col. James L. Dalton II, 161st Infantry Regiment Commander, belonging 
to the 25th Division, I Corps, US Sixth Army, which led the main 
attack to Balete Pass.
 
Authorities at present, however, deem it proper to resurrect the 
road's old name.
 
Earlier, the national government, in cooperation with the provincial 
government of Nueva Vizcaya and some line agencies constructed a view 
deck at the road's highest point as a tribute to its importance in 
Philippine history,.
 
The view deck, which is being maintained by the local government unit 
of Sta. Fe through the leadership of Mayor Florante Gerdon, now 
provides a rest area for motorists as they enjoy the view of the 
headlands.
 
Vacationers and motorists just passing by the area enjoy having their 
meals in this breezy and breath-taking spot. 
 

 

 

THE COUNTRY'S poorest provinces have conditions already approximating those in some African countries, while the most progressive ones are just at par with Jamaica or Turkmenistan.

A United Nations-sponsored study gave this analogy in ranking the "Top- and Bottom-10" provinces in terms of their Human Development Index, a measure of well-being based on life expectancy, literacy, enrollment ratio and per capita income.

The 2005 Philippine Human Development Report (PHDR) said the Top 10 provinces were as follows (from highest to lowest): Benguet, Laguna, Batanes, Rizal, Cavite, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan and Ilocos Norte.

The bottom-dwellers, in descending order, were Lanao del Sur, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte, Masbate, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Sulu.

 
 
Veggie festival to be held in Nueva Vizcaya
 
BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya, Oct. 21  - After the successful Citrus 
Festival at the Malabing Valley in Kasibu town two months ago, the 
Nueva Vizcaya agricultural terminal (NVAT) will hold its 
"Panagnanateng 2005," a festival featuring the province's different 
vegetables at the NVAT compound in barangay Almaguer here before the 
month ends. The festival will feature not only vegetables like beans, 
squash, ginger, onion, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots but also farm 
machineries, vegetable seeds and supplies and other farm implements. 
NVAT general manager Gilbert Cumila said during the festival, 
Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban will also inaugurate the 
three newly-constructed multi-purpose buildings and the retail market 
outlet fronting the NVAT. Cumila said buyers from Divisoria, Urdaneta 
and Balintawak were invited to likewise grace the vegetable auction 
during the festivities. Bernabe Almirol of the provincial 
agriculturist office said Nueva Vizcaya is also supplying some of the 
vegetable products sold in Baguio City. "Some buyers in Baguio City 
think that Baguio beans come only from Benguet and the Mountain 
Provinces, rarely do they know that a larger percentage of the Baguio 
beans are produced in Nueva Vizcaya," Almirol said.

 

  This story was taken from Bulatlat, the Philippines's alternative
  weekly newsmagazine (www.bulatlat.com, www.bulatlat.net,
  www.bulatlat.org).
  Vol. V, No. 37, October 23-29, 2005
 
  Mines over Citrus in Nueva Vizcaya
  10,000 rights violations reported due to mining
 
  To the farmers, Ifugao communities, some business leaders and
  government officials of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, northern Philippines 
a
  far worthy treasure more than mines exists in a budding citrus fruit
  industry in their province blessed with fertile land, a hospitable
  climate and lush forests.
 
  BY FELICISIMO MANALANSAN
  Bulatlat
 
  Citrus or mines?
 
  To the farmers, Ifugao communities, some business leaders and
  government officials of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, northern Philippines 
a
  far worthy treasure more than mines exists in a budding citrus fruit
  industry in their province blessed with fertile land, a hospitable
  climate and lush forests.
 
  Despite of the billions of pesos expected to be gained from the 
citrus
  farms, government favors the extractive, destructive mining by the
  Australian Climax-Arimco Mining Corp. (CAMC), recently renamed
  Australasian Mining.
 
  This threat of foreign mining on Nueva Vizcaya's citrus fruit farms
  was among the highlights of the mining forum entitled "Defend Land,
  Life and Resources" held on Oct. 10 at the Quezon City Memorial 
Circle
  Seminar Hall. Organized by Defend Patrimony, the forum was attended 
by
  more than 100 participants who later on marched to the Department of
  Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in a symbolic protest 
action.
 
  A budding citrus druit industry
 
  Anti-mining groups in Nueva Vizcaya have vowed to oppose the
  Australasian Mining under the Didipio Earth Savers Movement (Desama).
  Desama leaders who attended the conference believe that the mining
  will devastate the Cagayan Valley watershed, aside from denying the
  land's bounty to the people of Didipio and the entire province.
 
  "Parang di ekonomista ang pangulo samantalang mas malaki ang kikitain
  sa citrus kaysa sa mining" (The President is not really an economist
  considering that citrus will yield more earnings compared to mining),
  said Alfonso Acoje, an agriculturist who claimed to have started the
  citrus fruit industry in Didipio in 1997.
 
  Currently, 500 hectares of land in Didipio are planted to citrus
  oranges. This is projected to earn the province P806 billion ($14.6
  billion at P55:$1), according to a power point presentation during 
the
  forum. "Imagine if instead of just 500 hectares, we could have 5,000
  hectares of citrus," said Acoje whose plan to expand citrus farms to
  benefit farmers throughout the province is frustrated by the mining
  company.
 
  In contrast, according to John Olandi of the Didipio Earth Savers
  Movement (Desama), CAMC forecasted a dismal $1.2 billion as proceeds
  of its mine after mine life. Furthermore, CAMC is silent about the
  environmental costs of its operations, Olandi said.
 
  But Olandi alleges CAMC's bribery and "dirty tactics" are making it
  hard for the people of Didipio to make a united stand. Already 12
  members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial council) of Nueva
  Vizcaya gave their consent to the mining project as against only one
  opposed, says Olandi.
 
  Australian CAMC officials claimed they have the backing of the
  national government in the Financial and Technical Assistance
  Agreement (FTAA) for mining project.
 
  Olandi also said that since the mining company started in 1994, some
  farmers from the Ilocos provinces also started settling in Didipio. 
He
  said these settlers sold their land to the mining company and now
  constitute the "anomalous majority" favoring CAMC's mining project.
 
  More than 10,000 victims of rights violations
 
  The forum also cited a total of 10,500 individual victims of human
  rights violations related with mining projects throughout the country
  in 1994-2005.
 
  The violations reflect a nationwide trend in human rights abuses in
  places where there are mining projects, according to Clemente 
Bautista
  of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, a member of Defend
  Patrimony. Nine activists opposing large-scale foreign mining 
projects
  have already been killed in different parts of the country recently,
  he said.
 
  The groups Soccskargends Agenda and Inpeace Mindanao accounted for 
the
  rights violations in 60 documented cases involving 3,181 families in
  30 communities, most of them indigenous B'laans, in the boundaries of
  Saranggani, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.  The
  cases were documented by a solidarity and sympathy mission (SSM) led
  by the two groups last September.
 
  The human rights violations involved cases of massacre, frustrated
  massacre, strafing, torture, denial of medical attention, illegal
  arrest, search and seizure, harassment, displacement and
  reconcentration of communities, food blockade and divestment of
  property.
 
  According to the SSM report, human rights violations, happening from
  1994 to January 2005, coincided with the entry in Tampakan, South
  Cotabato, of Australian-owned Western Mining Company (WMC), now
  Sagittarius Mining, Inc. (SMI), one of two transnational mining
  corporations, which hold existing Financial and Technical Assistance
  Agreements (FTAA) with the government.
 
  The violations also coincided with increased military operations in
  the area. Five battalions of the Philippine Army, including Scout
  Rangers, patrol the quadri-boundary within the vicinity of SMI's mine
  site.
 
  B'laan leader Dulphing Ogan, secretary general of Kahugpungan sa mga
  Lumad sa Halayong Habagatang Mindanaw (Kalubhamin), believes there is
  coincidence in the entry and operation of SMI and increased military
  presence in the quadri-boundary. To him, SMI is directly and
  indirectly to blame for the human rights violations, adding that the
  mining company may even be funding the military operations in the
  area.
 
  "Hindi kaya ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) ang marami at
  sunud-sunod na mga operasyon kung walang pondong nanggagaling sa SM"
  (The AFP cannot afford the series of multiple military operations
  without funds coming from the SMI), says Ogan.
 
  "Where else can we go?"
 
  Meanwhile, B'laan families in barangays Danlag and Tablao, Tampakan
  are now being coerced and intimidated to leave their dwellings and
  farms to make way for SMI's operations, it was learned. Ogan says the
  B'laan communities in these barangays are located directly below the
  base camp of SMI. The communities will be buried with SMI's mine
  waste, says Ogan.
 
  But most B'laans in the said barangays do not want to leave, says
  Ogan.  Ogan adds he foresees a repeat of bombing incidents in 1994
  when a B'laan woman and the child in her womb died when the military
  resorted to aerial bombardment to force B'laan communities out of
  exploration sites of the former WMC.
 
  During the forum, indigenous peoples of Cordillera revealed similar
  threats of displacement. Nearly half of the Mt. Province's 1.8 
million
  hectares of land, or 730,000 hectares are now applied for mining
  permits by transnational mining corporations (TNCs), according to
  Pastor Vergel Aniceto of the Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA) and
  APIT-TAKO.
 
  "Saan na pupunta ang mga Igorot, Kankana-ey, Kalinga at iba pa naming
  katutubong mamamayan ng Cordillera?" (Where else will the Igorots,
  Kankana-ey, Kalinga and other Cordillera indigenous peoples go?"
  Aniceto asks.
 
  Aniceto, however, says that most people in Cordillera, including the
  local government, are determined to oppose new mining ventures in the
  Cordillera provinces. He cites as example a recent multi-stakeholders
  meeting in Baguio City where the participants united to block any new
  mining projects, despite being denied to speak during the meeting.
 
  The multi-stakeholders meeting was convened by the Office of the
  President through presidential envoy for mining Delia Albert,
  according to Aniceto. Bulatlat
 
  (c) 2005 Bulatlat ”  Alipato Publications
 
  Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article,
  provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and 
notified.
 
 
They are from Bambang, NV
 
Guen is best pal of slain Filipino Domestic Helper
 
BAGUIO CITY - "Guen could not have killed Jane, 
because they were best friends," said Edwin 
Aguilar, 27, husband of Guen Garlejo Aguilar, the 
Filipino maid charged with killing fellow 
domestic helper, Jane Parangan-La Puebla.
 
"It’s so painful for me to hear that my sister 
has been killed that way by her own friend," said 
Julie Fe Parangan, the victim’s younger sister.
 
Guen Aguilar and Jane La Puebla, longtime friends 
and residents of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, applied 
for work abroad together, lived in neighboring 
apartments in Singapore. And now tragedy and horror inextricably bind 
the two.
 
Aguilar faces Singapore’s mandatory death 
penalty, execution by hanging, if found guilty of dismembering La 
Puebla.
La Puebla’s head and limbs were found in a sports 
bag behind a metro station on Orchard Road, 
Singapore’s main shopping district, on Friday.
 
The torso of a woman dressed only in 
undergarments was found at MacRitchie Reservoir, 
a heavily wooded park several kilometers away 
from the spot where a cleaner made the first 
grisly discovery. Police are still carrying out 
tests to determine if the torso was La Puebla’s.
 
Aguilar was arrested 12 hours later at her 
employer’s house, where a cleaver was seized. She 
has yet to enter a plea. Manila’s labor attaché 
in Singapore, Miriam Cuasay, is providing 
assistance to the suspect. A Philippine legal 
counsel, Maria Isleta, is assigned to Aguilar’s case.
 
In Bambang the families of both victim and 
accused bewail their plight and grapple with how 
and what to tell their children.
 
"Our eldest has been asking what has happened to 
their mother. They already know about their 
mother’s incarceration but they could not yet 
understand fully. I just tell them that she’s all 
right, and is still abroad working," Edwin Aguilar tearfully explained.
 
Aguilar’s seven-year-old eldest child Mark Angelo 
is sick. He has been feverish for the past week, 
according to his father. The boy has a 
six-year-old brother, Mark Edwin. Together with 
their father Edwin, who works as a farmer, the 
children live in a one-room 30-by-40-square-meter 
bamboo shanty in Barangay Baracbac in Tagudin, 
four to five kilometers from the Ilocos Sur highway.
 
Speaking in Ilocano, Aguilar pleads with his wife 
to "tell the truth of what really happened, that 
you (Guen) are innocent, because the way that the 
crime was committed makes it impossible for my wife to have done it."
 
Edwin’s last telephone conversation with Guen was 
on August 28. He said their conversation was 
light banter and that she neither confided any problem nor sounded 
agitated.
 
In another part of Bambang, La Puebla’s husband 
Eddie and their nine-year-old son, Clifford John, 
could not be interviewed, because both still had 
to come to terms with the death of their wife and 
mother. For her part, La Puebla’s sister says, 
"She didn't come home for four years, because she 
wanted to earn much for her family only to be killed nonsensically."
 
For its part, the government has extended aid to 
both families. The Overseas Workers’ Welfare 
Administration has extended financial assistance 
to Aguilar’s husband. According to the OWWA 
officer, Marco Antonio Liwag, who headed the OWWA 
team that visited the Aguilars, the OWWA is in a 
predicament because La Puebla, unlike Aguilar, is 
not an OWWA member, making it difficult for them to extend assistance.
 
The Assistance Council for Vizcayano Overseas 
Workers said they tried to contact the Department 
of Foreign Affairs office in Singapore but only 
got word from a staffer that La Puebla’s body 
could not yet be brought home because of an 
ongoing investigation by Singapore police while 
the suspect is in jail awaiting court proceedings.
 

his story was taken from Bulatlat, the Philippines's alternative
weekly newsmagazine (www.bulatlat.com, www.bulatlat.net,
www.bulatlat.org).
Vol. V, No. 32, September 18-24, 2005

Kamote: Poor Man's Staple Food

The lowly rootcrop is a lifesaver to many families in the Cordillera.

BY Johnny Fialen
Northern dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY
― In the Cordillera mountain region and adjacent

provinces, kamote or sweet potato is the staple food of most
villagers, especially those living far from the provincial centers. It
is the only reliable crop in times of drought, typhoons, as well as in
times of economic crisis.

Kamote (Ipomea Batatas) is a common substitute food for rice and corn
especially for families living below the poverty line. This crop does
not require intensive care since it grows on the ground and can
survive in poor soil. It contains all kinds of essential amino acids
to supplement other plant proteins.

Elleo Docio, 56, a farmer who lives in a mountain village called
Boundary in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, said kamote is their staple food in
the mountain. Living far from the market, he said it has been their
staple food ever since he was a child.

"Gapu iti kamote nabiag ko ken napag-adal ko dagiti putot ko, isunga
saan a basta-basta ti kamote ta dakkel la unay ti naitulong na dayta
kadakami a marigrigat. Mabalinmi nga ipalastog ditoy nga adu ti
nakaadal nga ubbing gapu iti kamote laeng  Adda ti maestro, abugado,
inhenyero, pulis ken dadduma pay," (Because of kamote I was able to
raise and send my children to school, that's why kamote is very
important especially to us poor. We are proud to say that because of
kamote many of our children finished their studies, we have teachers,
engineers, police, lawyers and others).

Docio said that most of them are gardeners, who also plant vegetables
but mostly for consumption. Their products are primarily kamote and
banana, and they use carabao-drawn carts to bring their products to
the market, a good two hours trek away.

"My wife and my children help each other to sell kamote in the town
center. We boil, fry or bake it. It sustains the schooling of our
children," he said.

Most of Docio's buyers are from Baguio City and the lowlands, mainly
from the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Pampanga, and Isabela.
The customers get five to six sacks of kamote at P180- P200 for every
sack and P6 to P8 a kilo.

The farmers are able to sell 25-28 sacks in two days, earning them
P4,500 to P5,300. But, Docio said, this is not enough for their daily
needs and for their children's school needs.

Not ashamed

Meanwhile, Fermina Odsi, 27, a teacher from Nueva Vizcaya and member
of the Kalanguya indigenous group, said, "I'm not ashamed to say that
from childhood until graduation, kamote was my staple food. It still
is because I seldom eat rice. There was no budget to buy rice with
since my parents relied only on selling kamote in the town centers.
They were too hard up."

Odsi recalls, "Studying in Baguio City was not easy for us.  I had to
buy all that I needed. But for me, material things were not so
important. I only had a pair of shoes, four T-shirts, and two pairs of
pants until I graduated. Many of my boardmates helped me, offering
food and clothing because they observed that I was always eating
kamote and walking to and from the school."

"Gapu ta kayat ko a makalpas iti eskuwela, inanosak amin a rigat ti
biag. Ti kamote ket importante la unay kanyak gaputa isu ti
mangipalagip kaniak ti napalabas ken kasano ngay ngata ti biag dagiti
napopobre no awan daytoy? (Because of my strong determination to
finish my studies, I tried to overcome those difficulties in life.
Kamote is very important to me because it reminds me of the past, and
I'm always thinking that, what will happen to poor people without
kamote), she said.

Kamote has three new varieties: the VSP-1, VSP-2 and the VSP-3 which
can be harvested within 105 to 115 days. The traditional kamote takes
from five to seven months before harvesting. This plant also is a good
source of vitamins A and B, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Sodium that
other plants do not have.

Kamote can also be fermented into vinegar and wine. All these are
reasons why kamote production in the country has been increasing,
making it a valuable commodity.

Upland indigenous communities in the Cordillera and nearby provinces
subsist on kamote mainly because rice, which is grown on narrow strips
of rice terraces, usually lasts for a only a couple of months. Kamote
is thus the main staple food throughout the year.

Rice production has been destroyed by forest denudation in the whole
region which depletes water irrigation as well as by artificial
farming that was introduced during the Marcos dictatorship's Green
Revolution. Northern Dispatch/Posted by Bulatlat

(c) 2005 Bulatlat ■  Alipato Publications

Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article,
provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.

 
 
 
 
Prominent Nueva Vizcaya lawyer shot
 
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — A prominent lawyer here was still fighting 
for his life as of presstime after two motorcycle-riding men shot him while on board his car before noon yesterday.
 
The victim, Virgilio Castro, 52, former president of the Integrated Bar 
of the Philippines’ local chapter, was about 50 meters away from his residence in neighboring Solano town when he was attacked, police said. He had come from a court hearing in this capital town.
 
Four of the five caliber .45 bullets that pierced the tinted window of 
Castro’s Mitsubishi Lancer hit him in the chest, police said.
 
Probers could not say what the motive could be behind the attack on 
Castro, who has handled several controversial cases, including the kidnap-slaying of Allan Que and graft and corruption complaints against local officials.
 
He is currently the legal counsel of Santiago City Mayor Jose Miranda 
in his electoral case against former mayor Amelita Navarro.
 
 
Typhoid fever outbreak downs 26 students in Nueva Vizcaya
 
BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya — Twenty-six students including three teachers 
here were
hit by typhoid fever in only a week time this month, rising fear of a
widespread of the disease in this province's southern commercial town.
 
Eloisa Ang, principal of Bambang National High School, confirmed the 
outbreak
of the bacterial disease yesterday while predicting that more students 
could be
afflicted with the bacteria if no appropriate measure will be taken to 
prevent
its possible outbreak.
 
The disease, she said, started to persist here following the continuous
rainfall hitting this landlocked province for the past few weeks now.
 
Typhoid fever, according to Health officials is an acute disease caused 
by a
bacteria from impure food or water, producing longed, debilitating 
fever and
diarrhea.
 
Ang said Health officials are still determining the source of the 
disease as
the school's source of potable water has been cleared of any bacterial
contamination.
 
The students and teachers, she added, have started consuming commercial 
bottled
water provided for them by the municipal and provincial governments, 
pending
further bacteriology testing to ensure the potability of their drinking 
water.
 
(news from PNA re-printed in part for discussion only)