Archive | September 2009

An appeal

We know war is our worse problem in Mindanao. But a natural catastrophy helped by a man-made disaster such as what is unfolding in Luzon, appears to be an even harsher foe.

Apart from thinking of gathering aid for our evacuees in our conflict zones, I believe it is also a just cause to gather support for the victims of typhoon Ondoy.

We can all pour in any help. As of this writing, a small group of friends are gathering ideas and resources to help.

We hope, too, that our local defense and safety officials learn from this experience and help our people prepare just in case a situation like this confronts us in Mindanao.

I suspect we kept a distance from what is going on in Luzon. We have our own problems here, yes. But only seas separate us from the reality of human suffering. It could happen to us. It has already happened in some parts of our promised land.

We know how it is to suffer the tyranny of war, our losses, pains, and sufferings. We know that this, of all times, is a time to give and build.

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Corn farmers ask Yap to resign

Corn farmers from around Northern Mindanao are gathering in Cagayan de Oro City Friday for a protest rally against the Department of Agriculture over the corn price crisis and to demand the resignation of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap, organizers said. Lantapan town councilor Emmanuel B. Alsula, one of those organizing Bukidnon farmers for the rally, circulated a text message asking farmers to gather and join the rally.

“Tag along people, bring many ‘Yap resign’ placards, let’s join the rally,” Alsula, a corn farmer himself, said.

Alsula said Yap should resign since he was not able to do something to protect the farmers who found themselves neglected when corn prices in the market plunged.

“He was not able to do something, which is the sentiment of our farmers. They have no protection. Despite our being an agricultural country, the farmers were neglected,” he said.

Alsula said the government should no longer import feed wheat and allow no more zero tariffs.

“Congress should also pass a law that will protect our farmers,” he added.

The Philippine Maize Federation Inc., which  two weeks ago initiated a dialogue with the Department of Agriculture-National Food Authority and Bukidnon’s corn farmers, has confirmed participation and support for the rally.

Roger Navarro, PhilMaize chair, said they can’t stop farmers from protesting.
(Read the rest of the report at Mindanews.com)

Does corruption perpetuate conflict? Look at Mindanao!

Yes! The answer is in the survey conducted by Konsult Mindanao,  a group created early this year as a research arm of the Bishops-Ulama Conference.

“Corruption poses a serious threat to the attainment of lasting peace in Mindanao, respondents to a Mindanao-wide survey believe so.  They said that during a review of the initial results of a “Community Dialogue and Consultation on Peace” in mid-September, its researchers “noted a significant number of respondents saying that corruption posed a serious threat to the attainment of lasting peace in Mindanao.”

Konsult Mindanao has so far completed more than 300 focus group discussions involving nearly 5,000 respondents across the island.

MindaNews reported on September 22 that:

One of the initial findings of the focus group discussions says “Respondents across regions say that corruption among government leaders is the source of the (Mindanao) problem.”

“Respondents said that money lost to corruption could have been spent for basic education, primary health care, and alternative livelihood initiatives in grassroots communities,” Konsult Mindanaw said.

We deserve a more detailed presentation of this findings and we challenge Konsult Mindanao to provide us more light.

Read more of the MindaNews report here.

Matigsalugs to file case vs. ‘illegal occupants’

(First published at MindaNews.com) The Federation of Matigsalug-Manobo Tribal Councils, Inc. (Femmatrics) of the Matigsalug Manobo tribe has announced they are likely to go to court to force “illegal occupants” in their ancestral domain to a free and prior informed consent process (FPIC).

Femmatrics chair Datu Roelito Gawilan told this reporter they are preparing to file a case of illegal intrusion and illegal use of ancestral domain against some 20 individuals because of their refusal to go through an FPIC despite attempts of the group to formalize the request starting April this year.

He said they are filing the case against those who showed “no willingness” to go through the FPIC process, which is provided for in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. Read More…

Bukidnon, Mindanao major corn producer, and NFA’s lower buying price

(First published at MindaNews.com) The National Food Authority (NFA) Council’s decision to cut its buying price of yellow corn grains from P13 to P10 per kilo amid the already very low price in the market drew flak not only from farmers but also from members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan here.

Board member Glenn Peduche, an enterprising farmer, said the government’s move was uncalled for.  “It is unbelievable. It is not a question of who benefits from this. Clearly, corn farmers will be affected,” he told MindaNews after the provincial board’s regular session Wednesday.   The provincial board then passed a resolution urging the council to review its decision for the sake of the corn farmers.

Jessup Navarro, NFA administrator issued two orders on August 27 ordering that effective on the same day buying price should be adjusted along with the incentives.

He cited four reasons behind the decision, including the assumption that the cost of production decreased due to the reduction of farm inputs, particularly fertilizer.

The NFA placed production cost at P6 to P6.50 suggesting that the new price of P10 per kilo assures farmers of return on investments in the range of 35 to 40 percent.

Peduche hit the move saying instead of helping farmers at a time when market prices are low, the government weakened its mechanism to influence the market prices. Read More…