Monday, January 28, 2019

The budget nooses


 Conflicts arise when personal interests collide.

This is now front and center at the Laoag City Sangguniang Panlungsod as two warring factions are duking it out for the city government's 2019 annual budget.

The budget proposal, submitted October 16, 2018, remains unpassed for months, and was disapproved via vote of 7-5 in a special session on January 3, 2019.

Though unlike in the Unites States of America where an unapproved budget results in a shutdown, Philippine laws call for an automatic reenactment of the last approved budget when this happens.

But what will happen to a local government operating on a reenacted budget?

All operations are hampered: from basic services to employee salaries and city government projects. This is so as the city government is forced to operate using last year's budget. And common sense dictates that past expenditures are usually lower than present expenditures; more so in the face of high inflation rates last year. It will more so affect all forms of public services, which are expected from the city government.

This is an easily preventable situation. The city council, after all, had more than two months to study, scrutinize and to correct possible faults and flaws in the proposed budget.

And for a faction to raise questions now to hinder the budget ordinance's passage is nothing short of politicizing the issue; we are, after all, already in the middle of election season.

Today's zeitgeist may be more about division, fanning hate and exclusion but as elected officials, they are expected to think of public welfare first and last, always and all the time.

And in light of this, the most prudent—and really best—thing to do is for the council to just pass the budget.

If there may be irregularities in the proposed budget, as the new majority avers, then they will just have to watch the implementation of the budget closer. After all, even if they do stumble upon something while they re-scrutinize the proposed 2019 budget, there will never really be anything that can do but to reprogram the funds. They cannot make any drastic changes since they do not hold the absolute majority.

As we get deeper into 2019, the noose tightens for whichever faction the public deem responsible for the dire consequences that may arise from the unpassed budget. And if this just a political ploy, the people of Laoag will see through it. And whoever ends up on the wrong end will really suffer come election day.

If our councilors really do think of the city’s residents first and foremost, then they should set aside any political animosity and just pass the 2019 budget. After all, both factions can move on from there and show who really deserve the people’s vote in the coming midterm elections.

For if there are really irregularities in the budget, the majority should give the administration enough rope to hang themselves; otherwise their continued hindering of the budget’s passage will only tighten the nooses on their collective necks.

Baro a Badoc




Babaen ti pinangidaulo ni Mayor Maximo Cajigal, nagbalin a natalna, napintas ken naragsak ti ili iti Badoc. Daytoy a panagdur-as ket nagun-od babaen  ti panangibabaet ni Apo Sta. Maria, La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc ken ti Patron iti ili a ni San Juan Bautista kasta met iti panagkaykaysa dagiti umili.

Iti laeng uneg ti dua a tawen ken innem a bulan ket adun ti nagapuanan ti Baro A Badoc. Iti kangrunaan a sinolbar ti administrasyon ket dagiti kaso a mainaig iti illegal nga droga kasta met ti pannakatagiben ti linak ken talna. Idi tawen 2015, umabot ti 117 ti bilang iti crime volume, ita nga tawen bimmaba ti bilang ket agdagop laengen ti 56 segun ti kamaudian a datos.

Ita a tawen, nangilatang iti administrasyon  iti P 640,000.00 a pondo para iti scholarship program. Kasta met a naidonar dagiti lote a pagpatakderen ti school buildings. Dagiti saan nga sakup ti Special Education Fund (SEF) nga pagkasapulan ti pagadalan ket inikkan tulong iti agdama nga dministrasyon.

Agtultuloy ti pannakaipaay ti Social Pension kadigiti senior citizens. Inadaptar ti local government unit (LGU) ti Centenarian Law ket nangibudgetda ti Php 20,000.00 kada centenarian a kas nayon ti ited ti gobyerno nasyonal. Aggapu ti pundo ti SEF, naikkan ti honorarium dagiti Child Development Workers ti gatad ti Php 300.00 kada bulan. Naipatakder met ti National Child Development Center nga agserbi para kadagiti umili. Nagbalin a frontliners dagiti opisyales iti tiempo ti layus, bagyo ken ania man a pagkasapulan ti naalisto a desisyon.

Naisayangkat dagiti farmers’ trainings tapnu ad-adda pay a mapaadu ti apit a pagay, mais ken natnateng. Naited iti barbarangays dagiti tractors, back pack sprayers, fertilizers, water hose, jetmatic pumps ken dadduma pay a naggapo iti pundo ti Tobacco Excise Tax a gatad ti RA7171. Kasta met nga babaen iti tulong ti Bureau of Aquatic and Natural Resources (BFAR) ken iti Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) ket nangrugin ti seaweeds production and processing dagiti umili. Naipaayan pay ti vegetable seeds dagiti mannalon ken naisayangkat ti livestock vaccination kadagiti naduma-duma a dingwen. Kasta met a naipaayan dagiti naduma-duma nga barangay  ti pagpurga kadagiti taraken a baka ken nuang a napunduan ti Php100,000.00. Mamentenar met a nalaing iti fish sanctuary kasta met a naipaayan pay ti tilapia fingerlings dagiti agtagikuwa ti fish cages.

Agtultuloy ti libre nga Tour Guiding Training Program para iti amin a mangayat a makipagpaset babaen ti Municipal Tourism Office.    Kasta met a mapasayaat ti libre a Tourism Awareness Training and Programs tapnu iti kasta ket umuneg pay  ti pannakaawat dagiti kailian tayo ti kaipapanan ti turismo ta daytoy ti maysa a kalakaan nga pagsapulan ken maaddaan ti kababalin dagiti tattao nga agsapul. Kangrunaan a prayoridad iti agdama nga administrasyon ti pannakatagiben ti linak, urnos, ken talna kasta met  ti pannakatagiben kadagiti tourism sites iti ili. Maibilang pay ti pannaka mentenarti kinadalus ti aglawlaw. Agtultuloy pay dagiti programa a pannakabiag kadagiti napipintas a kannawidan ni Badoqueño.

Babaen ni Mayor Cajigal ken ti panangtarabay ni Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Virgilio Calajate, nagbalin a nagasat iti agdama nga administrasyon ta iti inda panagtugaw nga agserbi ket napasamak dagitoy a milagro—pannakakorona ni La Virgen Milagrosa ken ti pannakaital-o ti simbaan a Basilica Minore. Daytoy ken mangitunda tapnu mapauneg pay ti pammati dagiti taga Badoc kenni Apotayo.

Nu kasta nga agtultuloy ti inda panagakem kas opsyales, maitultuloy to ti pannakatagiben ti linak ken talna, pannakasemento dagiti saan pay a nalpas a barangay roads nu pay maanayen a bilang dagiti nasementon, pannakapaitakder dagiti pagtagilakuan para kadagiti small businesses, ken kasta pay ti capability building trainings para kadagiti empleyado ti LGU tapno nasaysayaat ti inda pinagtrabaho.

Masaluadan ken matagiben dagiti nagapuan ti Baro a Badoc tapno agtultuloy iti pannakapadur-as iti ili ken agbalin a lugar a maipagtangsit iti siasinoman, natalged, natalna ken naragsak a pagnaedan dagiti agdama ken sumarsaruno a henerasyon. (REA)

Simbaan ti Badoc, naan-anayen a Basilica Minore




Naimbag a damag para kadagiti deboto ni Apo Santa Maria.

Naaprobaranen ti panagbalin ti St. John the Baptist Church iti ili a Badoc a kas basilica minore.

Inbunannag mismo daytoy ni Bishop Renato Mayugba iti nasapa a paset idi Disiembre. Narambakan iti maysa a misa iti panagyaman idi Dis. 27.

Mainaig iti daytoy a pasamak, dakkel a suporta ti naggapo kadagiti umili nga idadaulwan ni Mayor Maximo Cajigal ken ti panangtarabay ni ABC President Virgilio Calajate tapnu magun-odda daytoy a gagem. Dakkel a tulong daytoy iti itantandudo ni Gobernadora Imee Marcos ken ti gobierno probinsial nga agbalin a kabbaro a destinasion iti ili para iti “faith tourism”.

Iti baet daytoy, kinuna ni Municipal Tourism Officer Mr. Cesar Jade Raquel a kadagitoy pay laeng a gundaway ket namnamaendan a dayuen dagiti turista ti ilida a kas iti panagdudupudop dagiti deboto iti Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary idiay Manaoag, Pangasinan.

Ni Mrs. Josephine Prieto Calajate, Ilocos Norte Provincial Treasurer, ti nag-Hermana Mayor idi coronasion pontifical ni Apo La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc idi Mayo idi napan a tawen. Naiget iti pammati na nga aglaplapunosan dagiti bendision ken grasia a maawat pay iti ili ti Badoc ken dagiti amin a deboto nu agtultuloy a papigsaen iti debosion ken ni La Virgen Milagrosa nga isu a patron iti Probinsia iti Ilocos Norte. (REA)

The new Badoc


In the not-so-distant past, Badoc was infamous for a lot of things—all of them violent.

Recently, however, the province’s southernmost town has undergone a complete makeover: it is now the newest tourist “hot spot”.

From being an election “hot spot” to the upstart and upcoming tourism attraction in the province; Badoc’s transformation can be attributed to the municipality’s new mayor, Maximo D. Cajigal.

From a crime volume of 117 in 2015—the year before Mr. Cajigal took the reins of power—it went down to 107 in 2016. The steep drop in the 2017 crime volume to 60 signaled that the town is ready for change. And as Badoc became a new tourist destination, the crime volume last year further dropped to 56.

Badoc’s new leadership proved that their campaign battle cry of “Baro a Badoc” [A New Badoc] in 2016 was not just rhetoric; it was a vision which they strove hard to realize in the last three years.

And realized it they did.

Badoc’s tourist arrivals, which was in mere few thousands in 2015, suddenly jumped to 100,000 last year. Badoc was not just in the tourism map; it was instantly the hippest place to be in Ilocos Norte.

This was a development that not only seemed far-fetched before but really next to impossible. Ilocos Norte residents avoided Badoc like a plague. It was that bad. But the town began transforming three years ago.

It was slow at first, and then sped up. Badoc’s image turned from being the most violent place in the province to one of the most visited town.

Of course, it was thanks mostly to the La Virgen Milagrosa Chapel, which encouraged “faith tourism”; and the picturesque beach near the chapel with the same name that features floating cottages. The Gen. Antonio and Juan Luna shrines are also a must-see for history buffs, especially after the movie of the Ilocano general became popular not only in the country but also in the rest of the world.

Today, Badoc is primed for further progress in all facets: agriculture, health care, education and social services. And as it continues to grow, so will its people. This is a lesson that we all must learn, too.

That no matter how bleak the present looks, someday, somehow, people with good intentions and common goal will come. And together they will work in unison to change the place, the life and its people. And give them what they all need: hope. The hope to look forward to a better future; not only for themselves, but more so for their children.

If Badoc can transform into what it is now from its sordid past, there should be no reason why other towns cannot do it, too. They only need the political will to do so. And as it is in Badoc, it should start with the people—they need to choose their leaders wisely. Then those chosen leaders will take it from there and lead their town towards unity, peace and progress.

Just like what Mr. Cajigal and the people of Badoc did.

Badoc mayor vows clean, peaceful elections





By Reynaldo E. Andres
Contributor

BADOC, Ilocos Norte—Mayor Maximo D. Cajigal of this town has promised his constituents that he will pursue a clean, honest and peaceful elections this year amid speculations of an impending trouble that would erupt between his group and that of his rivals.

“I have already mobilized the Philippine National Police (PNP) so that all things will go smoothly as we start the political campaign this year,” Mr. Cajigal said, vowing to end the town’s reputation as the most troubled election hot spot in the province for years.

Previous situations have shown that Badoc has become an election “hot spot” in Ilocos Norte amidst reports that it has allegedly become the haven of loose firearms and hired killers.

Police records in 2009 showed a suspected hired killer linked to the murder of Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) President Rey Ruiz was gunned down at Brgy. Saud here.

And just after the 2016 national elections, the brother of former Badoc Vice Mayor Thomas Torralba was killed by unidentified gunmen at Brgy. Alogoog about six meters from his residence.

Prior to this incident, the Ilocos Norte Police Office charged Mr. Torralba and his brother Henry for possessing unlicensed weapons and illegal drugs in a complaint filed with the Ilocos Norte Prosecutor’s Office.

The charges emanated from a June 15, 2015 police raid on the homes of the Torralba brothers.

“These incidents are now things of the past and I’m trying our best to restore the dignity of Badoc as one of the most peaceful towns of Ilocos Norte,” Mr. Cajigal said.

The mayor said that aside from the peace and order campaign, he is pursuing development programs that would help his constituents attain livelihood opportunities in line with the town’s “Baro A Badoc” [New Badoc] programs.

Foremost of these is recognition of Badoc as a 99% drug-free municipality based on the records obtained from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in its war against illegal drugs.

“I want to start the development efforts at the grassroots level by giving full support to our farmers,” Mr. Cajigal said as he started giving farm inputs to farmers such as seed stocks, hand tractors, and fertilizers that were purchased from the proceeds of RA 7171.

“I can see that the solution of these social maladies in Badoc is the eradication of poverty by way of helping people help themselves,” the mayor said noting that this year alone, the town tapped experts from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City to train fishermen in seaweed production and processing, vermicomposting, organic fertilizer production, and livestock production, among others.

“Last year alone, we have increased the allotment of fund for students’ scholarship from a mere PHP300,000 to PHP640,000 and the implementation of the LGU Centenarian Law that grants PHP20,000 financial help to deserving senior citizens,” Mr. Cajigal explained.

Laoag mayor welcomes navy officer

Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Farinas welcomes Naval Task Force 11 commander and Naval Force for Northern Luzon deputy commander Capt. Karl A. Decapia PN (GSC) during his courtesy to the mayor. (Alwin Formantes)




Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Residents laud temporary opening of Laoag City bypass road




By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—Motorists trying to avoid everyday traffic in the city proper can now smile with relief as the Laoag City bypass road is now officially open.

The bypass road was temporarily opened during the All-Saints’ Day and Christmas holidays to ease traffic along the city’s downtown area.

With the resumption of work and school day on January 3, 2019, traffic in downtown Laoag went on smoothly as some motorists opted to take the alternate route going to the city’s Laoag International Airport area.

From Vintar, Ilocos Norte, Karl Lenin Benigno, an employee of a Laoag university along the Airport Ave. shared his excitement over social media saying his “[T]ravel time to work is now only 15 minutes on normal speed” as compared before when he would be stuck in traffic for more or less 30 minutes at the Gilbert Bridge.

“I guess I personally have to thank the good congressman [Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” C. Fariñas] for the wonderful project,” said Mr. Benigno.

Initiated by the former House Majority Floor Leader, the Laoag bypass road was completed on November 25, 2018.

The project located in Ilocos Norte’s first district covers a 7.99-kilometer road opening, embankment, slope protection and drainage from Brgy. Buyon in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte to Brgy. Bengcag along a rotunda in this city.

The phase IV of the project includes the construction of 804.9-meter bridge with 655-meter approaches.

OWWA Region 1 scholars pass LET, NLE


San Fernando City, La Union—Once again, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office I (OWWA RWOI) scholars proved that they are now ready to face the professional world as they are now licensed educators and registered nurse.

Four scholars recently passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) administered on September 30, 2018 and one scholar passed the Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE) conducted last November 17 & 18, 2018.

Among the LET passers are Julia Mae C. Agustin, Louise Casey C. Murao, John Carlo A. Manabat and John Bert A. Peralta.

Ms. Agustin was a scholar under the OFW Dependent Scholarship (ODSP) while Messrs. Murao, Manabat and Peralta were under the Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP).

On the other hand, registered nurse Jenalyn P. Raguini became an OWWA scholar through the Enhanced ODSP.

Ms. Agustin earned her college degree at the University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. She is the daughter of Minda C. Agustin who works as a household service worker in Saudi Arabia.

Messrs. Murao and Manabat are both graduates of Saint Louis College in San Fernando City, La Union. Mr. Murao’s late father Romualdo I. Murao was a seaman and worked as a bosun. Mr. Manabat, a Magna Cum Laude graduate, is the son of the late Jualito Manabat who was an engineer in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Peralta, the last scholar LET passer, graduated from Urdaneta City University in Pangasinan. Her mother, the late Estela A. Peralta, worked at Hongkong as a household service worker.

OWWA RWOI’s Ms. Raguini finished her nursing degree at the University of Northern Luzon in Vigan City Ilocos Sur. She is the pride of her mother Amelisa P. Raguini who is in Hongkong as a domestic worker.

The scholars are thankful to OWWA for all the support extended to them not just in their schooling but also in every encouragement they received from the OWWA RWOI’s Education and Training Unit.

“Without OWWA I won’t be standing to where I am right now. The scholarship was a big help not just for me but especially to my parents who sends me to school”, Agustin said expressing her gratitude to OWWA. She also hopes that OWWA could help more OFW children through the agency’s scholarship programs.

OWWA offers scholarship programs to children of active OWWA members. The scholarship programs include Education for Scholarship Program (EDSP), Overseas Filipino Worker Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP), Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) and Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP).

OWWA has also scholarships for OFWs and their qualified dependents who wants to take tech-voc courses through Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) while sea-based OFWs may avail Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP). (OWWA)

‘The Great Cormorant’ returns to Paoay


By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Paoay, Ilocos Norte—On November 19, 2018 birdwatchers from various parts of the country witnessed the return of the great cormorant, a migratory bird known for its matted feathers.

The 387-hectare Paoay Lake National Protected Landscape is a feeding point for migratory birds.

Since the first launching of the first return of the great cormorant festival in 2008, local birders led by Dr. Petrus Calope, also a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) frequent the lake’s view deck at Brgy. Nagbacalan in this town for a chance to see the great cormorant along with other bird species at the landlocked lake.

Through Dr. Calope’s initiative, in cooperation with the local government unit of Paoay and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, bird watching in the province has slowly gained popularity, attracting local and foreign enthusiasts to visit the legendary lake.

Starting the month of November, bird watchers frequent the area with their own binoculars, telescopes and high-end cameras.

On November 19, 2018, Dr. Calope’s group again installed their birdwatching equipment at the view deck at Nagbacalan as they also invited all other interested guests and visitors to join the fun.

Over the past five years, the WBCP started to monitor the presence of migratory birds at the Paoay lake wetlands, considered as one of the countrys important migratory bird sites.

Based on the latest Asian Waterbird Census, the Philippine ducks are commonly and easily seen in the area with an average of 600. The cormorants are also commonly seen there with around 10 of them or more.

A report from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, which is also conducting its monitoring in the area, noted that Paoay Lake has been providing shelter to some bird species like the following: Little Grebe, Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Tufted Duck, White-brow Crake, Common Kingfisher, White-collared Kingfisher, and the White-throat Kingfisher among others.

54 farmers graduate from DAR farm business school



Fifty-four farmers recently graduated from the Farm Business School (FBS) conducted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Ilocos Norte.

Twenty-five of the graduates are members of the Zanjera Matoc Multipurpose Cooperative in Bacsil South, Laoag City, while 29 are agrarian reform beneficiaries from Catuguing Multipurpose Cooperative in San Nicolas.

Provincial agrarian reform program officer II Vic M. Ines, said the farmers were given updates on modern farming practices and basic business concepts.

“They were taught various farming, management and entrepreneurial skills,” said Mr. Ines.

In the FBS, the essential elements of bookkeeping, cash flows, market surveys, selling and costing and proper packaging of products were fully explained to the farmer-students.

The local government units of Laoag City and San Nicolas pledged to help provide more marketing opportunities for the farmers and their families.

***

BARD NOTES: Happy bard-reading to Governor Imee R. Marcos, Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba, Laoag City Mayor Chevylle V. Farinas, Badoc ABC President Virgilio Calajate, Ilocos Norte Provincial Treasurer Josephine P. Calajate, INEC President Enrico “Cocoy” Ruiz, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Vic M. Ines, DAR Ilocos Norte Chief Administrative Officer Rudy Acacio and PNB Pasuquin Branch Manager Metty V. Guerrero.

Greetings also to the employees of AMA Laoag, Laoag City PNP, DAR Ilocos Norte, DepEd Laoag, DepEd Ilocos Norte and PNB Pasuquin.

DepEd-Ilocos Norte pushes for convergence initiative on education



By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—To address various issues confronting education today, Ilocos Norte education officials are looking into the power of partnerships or a collective action to strengthen programs and projects geared towards the development of 21st century learners.

Initiated by the Ilocos Norte Schools Division of Ilocos Norte, over 200 participants composed of educators, parents, alumni, heads of agencies, including local government units, public and private organizations attended a seminar-workshop on innovative education investments in partnerships at the SDOIN conference hall as they came up with draft action plan promoting the welfare of learners in the province.

“Through this forum, we hope to build better ties and to promote understanding between and among all the education stakeholders of the province,” said Ilocos Norte schools division superintendent Vilma Eda.

With the help a freelance international governance consultant, Dr. Aser Javier who gave a lecture on “Identifying Challenges in Basic Education Grouping for Plan of Action”, the participants affirmed, “people are believed to achieve better when working together than when working against each other.”

In his discussion, Dr. Javier underscored the need to invest only in breakthrough initiatives like organizing academic, or learning interventions as an academic institution.

For him, academics must be engaged in collaborations with public and private entities to provide conditions for innovations.

He added partnerships must explore initiatives that are beneficial to both academe and government for instance, while benefitting the society in a more sustainable and larger scale.

In Ilocos Norte, Ms. Eda acknowledged support for internet connectivity is a vital component to teacher and student learners hence the need to acquire internet towers to reach out even to far-flung schools in the province.

Strengthening internet connectivity among Ilocos Norte schools is a major flagship program of the INSDO which is why there is an on-going fund-raising drive, dubbed as “Christmas Tree para sa ICT” to generate more funds for the installation of the said towers.

For his part, Weenter Ventura, the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO) executive director said it is challenge for everyone to find a common ground of cooperation but by fostering greater cooperation among concerned education stakeholders, this initiative can be attained.

“We have programs integrating ICT and games. Perhaps, we can match this to the learning habit of Ilocano learners and work on it to advance their interest,” said Mr. Ventura.

“This is the way to do it. We need this convergence initiative to understand each other and push for innovative solutions addressing problems of learners,” said Dodie Gaces, President of the Ilocos Norte Federation of Parents-Teachers Association.

Mr. Gaces said he believes in the INSDO’s effort to introduce education reform hence the INFPTA came up a unified institution and bylaws addressing various problems in schools.

Piddig distributes water pumps, hose to farmers




By Bernard Ver
Contributor

Piddig, Ilocos Norte—The municipal government here distributed water pumps and hoses to Brgy. Sucsuquen farmers in this town.


Piddig Mayor Georgina Salazar-Guillen and Piddig government consultant Eduardo “Eddie” Guillen led the distribution.

An additional 50 water pumps and hoses from the first set was delivered earlier this year. Each recipient should farm at least two hectares of agricultural land as part of the requirement.

"These are the fruits of our seed that was sown and let us all continue to give good harvest for the betterment of our town Piddig," Mrs. Guillen said.

The project came from the National Irrigation Administration-Region I, which has a total amount of PHP3.5 million.

Other recipient barangays of the said project are: Brgys. Tonoton, Ababut, and Tangaoan.

Friday, January 11, 2019

BRICS: The guilt-free ice cream


Imagine luscious ice cream made from fresh buffalo’s milk sandwiched in crackers made from brown rice flour. Healthy and mouth-watering at the same time, BRICS is definitely a better alternative to commercial ice cream sandwich. It is expected to be out in the market by late December 2018.

BRICS is born out of a 2016 consumer-driven market study by PhilRice’s Josefina F. Ballesteros, El Shaira A. Labargan, Rosaly V. Manaois, Amelia V. Morales, and Dr. Riza G. Abilgos-Ramos. Based on the survey results, consumers associate health and wellness with the concepts of food, diet, and nutrition. Hence, there’s a market opportunity for new rice-based products that offer a wide range of health and nutritional benefits.

According to Ms. Labargan, BRICS chose brown rice flour for its nutritional superiority. It has higher amounts of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and several health-enhancing benefits owing to the bioactive compounds that the whole grain carries. Buffalo’s milk is an excellent and versatile replacement of cow’s milk because it produces better ice cream body and texture. Its calcium content is known to be substantially richer and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. The cholesterol content of buffalo’s milk is also 79% lower than cow’s milk!

Consumer-driver product
Among other ice cream sandwiches in the market, BRICS is probably the healthiest one yet. At a projected selling price of PHP30 each, BRICS eaters will not only get to indulge their sweet tooth but also fill up their nutritional requirements for the day.

The study behind BRICS found that convenient, nutritious, and healthy rice-based bakery products are highly appealing and most likely to be bought by majority (61-85%) of consumers from Central Luzon. Pre-packaged bakery food products such as biscuits, breads, and chips were the most commonly purchased items at 71%. The data from the study inspired the creation of BRICS that was rated 8.4 out of a 9-point scale, which means the target consumers highly approved the product! “BRICS is from and for the consumers,” Ballesteros was emphatic.

Hitting two birds with one stone
Aside from the nutritional benefits of BRICS, it was also developed to show farmers that rice-based products can be an additional source of income.

BRICS adds more value to rice and transforms it to a healthier version, thereby addressing two of the most pressing problems of Filipino farmers: poverty and malnutrition. The research team considers the development of BRICS as a holistic solution because the basic needs of rice-based farm households gravitate around income and nutrition.

“If rice-based farmers have something to sell other than palay, they earn more income. If they have something nutritious to eat, then they will be nourished,” Dr. Abilgos- Ramos figured out.

“In providing additional sources of income through BRICS, we address poverty because there will be continuous transactions of money in the community. BRICS also addresses malnutrition because it is healthy and convenient at the same time,” Ms. Ballesteros concluded. (PhilRice)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Outstanding Ilocanos for 2019




Most of them come from the private sector and civil society, and four from government service. Six are men, two women, one a volunteer group led by a young woman, and a class of workers.
Different backgrounds, different advocacies, but all exemplifying the great Ilocano spirit. Here are The Ilocos Times Outstanding Ilocanos for 2019, receiving well-deserved recognition as the Ilocos Norte Bicentennial Celebration comes to a close.

Eugenio Angelo Marcos Barba
FOR promoting inclusive growth through nation-building.
A pioneer member of Kabataang Barangay, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba also served as three-term municipal mayor (1992-2001) and senior provincial board member (2001-2010). With a long line of political history, he has proven himself as a committed and competent public servant.
Mr. Barba continues to inspire fellow local government officials to strive even harder, setting past accomplishments as motivations to continue uplifting the lives of Ilocanos. He remains committed to bringing inclusivity in all government programs. A vice governor for the masses, he continues to help in eradicating poverty in the province through pieces of legislation capacitating the poor and underserved sectors.
He has given due priority to the agriculture and the fisheries sector and has committed himself to helping the youth attain holistic development through access to quality education. By supporting the administration of Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos, Mr. Barba has enabled Ilocanos to contribute to the province’s transformation, particularly in the business, agriculture, education, and tourism sectors. He has also lent his full support to groups protecting the environment.

Matthew Joseph Marcos Manotoc
FOR demonstrating his vision for a healthier public and for promoting holistic youth development.
Alongside being the senior board member of the Province of Ilocos Norte, Mr. Manotoc also serves as chairperson of the National Movement of Young Legislators-Ilocos Norte Chapter. An athlete himself, his sports prowess has equipped him with passion to relentlessly promote fitness and wellness for all ages, and sports programs and scholarships for the youth through provincial resolutions and ordinances.
His initiatives include advocating several health campaigns and championing youth welfare. He has been spearheading the installation of three-generational (3G) playground-cum-fitness-parks and sponsored the resolution providing scholarships to young athletes representing the province in big sports tilts.
While he remains determined to create more public recreational spaces and support the youth through continuing partnerships with local volunteer groups, he also strengthened his commitment to providing accurate information to Ilocanos through the “Transparency in Appropriation Ordinance of Ilocos Norte.” Manotoc sustains mutual trust by giving everyone equal access to government transactions, thereby echoing the importance of transparency and accountability.

Maximo D. Cajigal
FOR transforming Badoc to what it is today.
From a crime-prone town to the newest tourist destination, Mr. Cajigal did everything to bring crime volume down in his town: from 117 in 2015 to 56 last year. This eventually paved the way for tourists to flock to the La Virgen Milagrosa chapel and to the beach where the church is located.
On top of this, Mr. Cajigal initiated various infrastructure projects not only for tourism but also for agriculture. He completed 46 major infrastructure projects in his first three years in office. These include farm-to-market and local access roads, child development centers, multipurpose covered halls, and barangay health units.
The new Badoc mayor also prioritized agriculture by helping his town’s farmers through procurement of farm machineries and inputs, and planting materials and high value crop seedlings, which he distributed to them. He also improved the town’s irrigation system and barangay trading centers.

Virgilio M. Calajate
There is no denying that Vergel Calajate is one of the most influential men in the town of Badoc because of his success as their Liga ng mga Barangay president, businessman, civic leader, and, above all, a courageous catalyst of change. He is at the helm of Badoc politics, having a major role in the transformation of the town from a backward-looking, tumultuous municipality to the peaceful and vibrant “Baro a Badoc” that it is today.
His wisdom, experience, and principled leadership example provided compass and inspiration as Badoc made a defining turning point, and began sailing on to the place of distinction and progress it rightfully belongs.
Peace and order, which was given top priority, saw marked improvement. Badoc is no longer known for crimes nor mischief but for faith and piety, heritage and history, and the beauty and splendor of its natural wonders.
Agriculture, health, education, and social services were given due attention in order to empower the Badoqueño. Various sectors were engaged to ensure that development is holistic, responsive, and inclusive.
An ardent devotee of the La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc, he is a key leader of a movement that brought about change not only in personalities, but more on the transformation of principles and values, thereby strengthening the unity of the people, and strengthening their resolve to keep and further elevate the gains of the “Napabaro a Badoc.”
As barangay chairperson, he has set a high bar of success in growing barangay income, having transformed the lives of locals through livelihood initiatives. As a businessman, he has helped spur growth and development in the community by creating jobs and by strengthening the local economy. But it is in being a devoted family man that he takes pride in, as husband, wife and grandfather—of a family that is legendary in their service to the Badoqueño.
The man who helped spark a wave of change. Agent of peace and progress. An outstanding Ilocano truly worthy of esteem and recognition.

Reynaldo E. Andres
FOR effectively communicating technologies and innovations to farmers.
In his writing career that spans three decades, he has written over a thousand science and technology (S&T) articles for various publications and has sown fresh and novel ideas in the minds of his readers, mostly farmers. He has mastered the skill of employing simple and understandable writing that is to-the-point but no less engaging.
In 2013, he received the Professional Media Award (PMA) as the Best Science Journalist in the Philippines, bestowed by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development and the Department of Science and Technology.
Mr. Andres’ winning articles on modern agricultural technologies and innovations were printed in Bannawag and The Ilocos Times where he is a regular contributor. Since May 2009, he has written over 300 S&T articles for Bannawag, a record unsurpassed in the publication’s history.
The chief for Information Services of Mariano Marcos State University, he has served as correspondent of top national newspapers and magazines. His work is syndicated in over 30 regional newspapers across the country. He also has a book on English-Iluko Glossary of Agricultural Terms under his name. In the 1990s, the Ilocano Language Department of the University of Hawaii hired him as part-time editor and translator of its English-Iloko Dictionary project in the Philippines. 

Michelle Dy
FOR being one of the country’s top social media influencers.
From Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Dy started uploading makeup tutorial videos which were shot in her bedroom.  Now, an online sensation, she was one of the first few who understood and explored the new genre of video blogging or vlogging; enabling her to connect with millions of millennial followers and social media users.
She is the first Filipina makeup vlogger to be featured at the YouTube Fan Fest Philippines last May 2018. As a true superstar, she serves as ambassadress and endorser of biggest brands in the country. Dy shares the limelight with friends and fellow Ilocano vloggers— Angel Dei Peralta, James Burn, and Ronan Domingo. The true-blue Ilocana had her share of controversy but was able to surpass them as she found her strength in being promdi.

Modesty M. Alejandro-Leaño
FOR forwarding social welfare, accessible healthcare, and quality medical education.
Dr. Leaño is currently the Department Head of the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMHMC)-Department of Pathology and Laboratories and the Department Chairperson of the Department of Pathology at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU)-College of Medicine.
One of her notable contributions in the improvement of Ilocos Norte’s health sector is the establishment of the Newborn Screening Center Northern Luzon which caters to all newborns in Regions I and II. The National Voluntary Blood Program (NVBSP) of the MMMHMC is also under her supervision.
She has trained at the MMMHMC-Department of Pathology and Laboratories and became a full-fledged fellow in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. While her other colleagues opted to practice in areas outside the province, Dr. Leaño remained dedicated to helping fellow Ilocanos. As one of the few pathologists in Ilocos Norte, she has authored notable medical journals. She hopes to continue training more medical doctors who, like her, will practice in the province.

Eric Herbert T. Chua
FOR developing better services and benchmarking innovations in entrepreneurship.
At a young age, he has become an industry leader, venturing into automotive parts wholesale distribution, retail trade and servicing, and the restaurant industry, among others.
As president of Kookee House Inc., a bakeshop chain founded in 1990, he credits the success of the home-grown brand to loyal Ilocano customers. While some local shops have folded over the years, Kokee House successfully withstood the entry of national competitors in Ilocos Norte. To achieve this, Chua made sure to strike the balance between product consistency and innovation. Demonstrating his effective marketing skills, he is committed to maintain costumer-centered service. Indeed, Kookee House Inc.’s cakes and pastries will remain as staple for it has captured the meticulous taste of Ilocanos.
Mr. Chua currently serves as Director of the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCCI)-Ilocos Norte and is an active member of various business groups.

Movement Against Plastic Pollution (MAPP)-Ilocos Norte
FOR advocating the protection of natural resources through active youth volunteerism.
Founded in 2017 with Patricia “Pating” Dacanay at the helm, the Movement Against Plastic Pollution (MAPP)-Ilocos Norte remains vigilant in raising awareness and educating people regarding the damaging effects of plastic pollution to marine ecosystems. With a large following, MAPP-Ilocos Norte, continues to carry out its advocacy in online platforms by calling out organizations and institutions who violate environmental laws; for instance, activities that involve releasing of balloons.
Composed of students and young professional environmentalists, the group regularly conducts coastal and underwater clean-up activities. It has also collaborated with academic institutions and local government officials in organizing educational discussions such as the “Usapang Dagat: A Marine Conservation Day Camp” last June 2018.

Disaster Workers
FOR helping mitigate the effects of disasters and natural calamities.
Last September 2018, typhoon Mangkhut [Ompong] devastated Ilocos Norte, causing damage in agriculture and infrastructure with an estimated cost of PHP4.4 billion.
Although identified as hardly achievable, the province miraculously recorded a zero-casualty rate. Days before Mangkhut’s expected landfall, disaster workers efficiently coordinated with local government units (LGUs) and concerned agencies in conducting pre-emptive evacuation of residents in high-risk flooding, landslide-prone areas and storm-surge coasts which are the most frequent area of casualties in extreme weather.
Keeping communities safe while leaving their own homes and putting their own lives at risk in times of disaster is the utmost form of sacrifice offered by disaster workers.