Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Town So Small

Kung hindi ako nagkakamali (at kung hindi pa nagbabago ang sukatan ng mga lupa sa Nueva Ecija), pangalawa sa pinakamaliit na bayan sa buong probinsiya ang Licab (Nampicuan ang pinakamaliit).

Pero nakatutuwang isipin, at minsa'y nakamamangha, kung bakit maraming sikat na pulitiko ang sumasadya sa bayang ito. Magtataka ka, A town so small matters big to national political figures, and so they visit our town.

Taun-taon, tuwing undas, nakikita ko si former Senator, and now, Manila Hotel President Joey Lina. Sa public cemetery kasi ng Licab nakahimlay ang tatay niyang si Jose "Pepe" Lina. Dahil dito, madalas din sa Licab si Albert Lina ng Fedex.

High School ako, kasasagsagan ng kampanyahan nang gulatin ni Mayoralty Candidate Teddy Ilagan ang Licab. Naidala niya kasi sa Licab ang noo'y Presidential candidate na si Alfredo "Fred" Lim (ngayo'y Mayor ng Maynila). At panigurado, mapa- Teddy Ilagan o mapa-Noli Co, lumabas nang bahay para umabot at kumamay kay Fred Lim.

Natalo si Fred Lim.
Natalo rin si Teddy Ilagan.

Kung nagulat ang Licab kay Fred Lim, nagulantang naman ang mga mamamayan nang dalawin sila ni Presidente Erap Estrada. Who would not be charmed by Erap, lalo na kapag nakita mo kung paano niya hapawin ang gatas ng kalabaw sa kanyang pinggan?
Indeed, Erap is one man for the masses.

2001, nagbago ang ihip nang pulitika sa buong Pilipinas. Na-impeached si Erap, naluklok si GMA, and the rest is history, ika nga. Nagbago man ang Political landscape sa bansa dahil sa pagkakatanggal ng ilan at pagkakaluklok nang mga bagong lider, nagpatuloy pa rin ang takbo ng buhay sa Licab.

Natapos ang term ni Mayor Noli Co, kasabay nang pagtatapos ng 3-terms ni Edo Agustin bilang konsehal, at nailuklok sa pwesto si Mayor Willy Domingo.

Nitong 2008, binisita naman ni Mayor Jojo Binay ng Makati ang Licab, at balitang tuwang-tuwa pa nga si Mayor sa pagsakay sa karitelang hila-hila ng kalabaw. Alongside, nai-deklara bilang Sister-town ng Makati ang Licab. At kung anuman ang benepisyo nito para sa mga Licab ay hindi ko alam (may discount ba tayo sa mga sinehan sa Makati?). Basta ang alam ko, nakilala si Mayor Binay sa Licab at sa iba pang rural areas-balita kasing planong tumakbo ni Binay sa mas mataas na posisyon ngayong 2010 (Aaaah... kaya naman pala!).

Hindi ko nabalitaan ito, pero nakita ko lang sa website ni Senator Jinggoy Estrada na nagpunta pala sila ni Dra. Loi sa Licab para mag-conduct ng Medical-Dental Missions. Heto ang dalawa sa mga pictures na napagtiyagaan kong hanapin:

(si Konsehala Myrna Paez ba yung katabi ni Jinggoy? Tsaka si Nene ba 'yung isang nakatayo sa likod?)

(Kung hindi ako nagkakamali, sa Manggahan Resort kuha ang picture na ito. Far behind ay makikita si Mayor Willy. Identified ko rin si Kuya Ambet Liquiran, Konsehal Audi Sawit, Konsehala Myrna Paez at yung nakaupo sa harapan, si Kapitan Alex Ramos)

On with the topic: A Town So Small, bakit sila dumadalaw? Do they intend to help the town? Do they give assistance to small towns to make it progressive?

But if that is what they give, bakit nananatili tayong maliit? Bakit nananatili tayo sa rank na 5th class municipality?

Baka may kailangan tayong baguhin.
Baka may kailangan tayong gawin.

(Bakit nga kaya sa tinagal-tagal nang pananatili ng mga kano sa Pilipinas ay hindi naging progresibo ang bansa?)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bansot Rice, Bansot Income

I have already heard this info when we went to Sta. Maria, a barangay in Licab, Nueva Ecija. Lots of farmers are concerned about a certain hybrid of rice which grow and bear premature fruits, however, the rice stalks produce only a small amount of grains.

I have learned that this problem also exists in the whole of Nueva Ecija, thus, Congressman Edno Joson has filed a resolution in order for the House of Representatives to investage on any irregularities concerning this hybrid rice.

Interestingly, this BANSOT rice is a program of the Department of Agriculture's Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA). gives this report:

Have you heard of GMA “bansot” rice?

The House committee on agriculture wants to know what it is, and the panel is launching an investigation.

Resolution 966, authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Edno Joson, prompted the inquiry.
Joson said he has been receiving complaints from hundreds of farmers in his province about what they described as their “bansot” or undersized rice crops.

He said the problems began when farmers started using the hybrid seed SL-8, which the Department of Agriculture (DA) is distributing under its Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program.

Among the problems farmers encountered with SL-8 seeds are premature flowering and poor growth of their palay, he said.

“Because of these, our farmers are forced to uproot the hybrid plants for replanting. They thus spend more on seeds, which drives them deeper into debt,” he added.

For the complete news report, click here.

Punto! Central Luzon, a local online news site, also gives another account of the hybrid rice problem here.

Let us hope that concerned authorities will do a thorough investigation in order to resolve this issue and provide a meaningful solution. We all know that rice planting has since been the primary means of income in Licab, so clearly, this must be immediately resolved.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fruit Basket

I will be reposting an article which I have read from Manila Bulletin Online, and is also posted in the nueva ecija today blog.

This concerns an initiative from Mayor Willy Domingo which seeks to transform Licab's image from a 5th class municipality/wild, wild, west image into becoming the Fruit Basket of Nueva Ecija.

It was published in the Manila Bulletin on October 22, 2008, and it reads:


Fifth-class town eyes title as Nueva Ecija’s ‘fruit basket’

LICAB, Nueva Ecija — This fifth-class town is on its way to becoming the "Fruit Basket of Nueva Ecija."

This goal was set by Mayor Willy Domingo several years ago, but its realization came about recently when he entered into an agreement with the country’s top pomologist, Bernie Dizon, on the supply of certified seedlings and technology.

Domingo said he intends to have each of the 11 villages in his town grow one crop of mango and other staple crops that would serve as a sort of "designer item."

This is expected to produce income for the hard-working farmers in the town and establish a permanent, income-generating industry in his town.

Domingo said he is eyeing the lucrative international, domestic multiple-rooted fruit tree seedling market. "Who knows, we might yet make it ‘Fruit basket of the Region," he said.
He said that Dizon will supply the town with seedlings of various mango varieties such as Guimaras, Sweet Elena, Chocanan, Golden Queen, Eating Green, Nancocman, Harumanis or Millennium.

Domingo also opted for malunggay and ilang-ilang for their commercial value.

Mayor Domingo, a man who has his own mango symbology etched everywhere at his four-hectare farm in problacion proper here, believes that there is big money in the culture and production of mango.

A visit to his farm indicates that Mayor Domingo savors everything and anything about mango. Etched in the middle of a swimming pool is the unmistakable shape of a mango. There’s a bust of a beautiful lady caressing a mango.

Aware of the notoriety that his town has gained in the past eight years as "a sort of wild, wild west" as a result of the many unsolved killings and rampant violent incidents, Domingo wants a change of image.

Instead of a violent character, why not a venture that would require all hands toiling to make a clean-cut image, and so he thought of working along his lifetime fancy for mangoes, sweet and delicious mangoes.


Two thumbs up to Mayor Willy for this great initiative!!!!!

More to come!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Here, There, and Everywhere

We had the opportunity to visit Licab last weekend (Feb 07) and noticed the "unbelievable" swarm of mosquitoes at home considering that screens have already been installed in the windows.

Outside, we can see groups of mosquitoes thriving in the house walls and hovering in trees and plants.

Now having to see mosquitoes in the house is not uncommon. What's surprising actually is having to see an unprecedented increase of mosquitoes trying to take a prick on your skins.

I have attempted to take pictures using my phone, however, these following pictures are the best that I can get (my phone is not well-designed to take pics, by the way):

Not to mention, this is only a part of the house wall, so we can actually see the same scenarios in other parts.

Picture is a little blurred but when you look closer to the leaves at the right side, you may notice about 4 or 5 mosquitoes parked.

The insects didn't even bother flying when the phone/cam went nearby.

Here's another shot at the mosquitoes in the wall:

Other people have also informed us that this same scenario happens 'buong Licab'. They said you wouldn't be able to stand outside your house during nighttime because mosquitoes will come and attack you.
True enough, when we came to Sta. Maria on Sunday afternoon, we saw numerous groups of mosquitoes.
'Normal yan ngayon sa mga bayan na ma-palay'. So hindi lang pala sa Licab may ganitong problema. It may be that mosquitoes have thrived and hibernated in the rice fields since there are lots of water where they can breed their eggs.
But though even towns encounter this same problem, the issue must still be addressed.
==================== enumerates the possible diseases that mosquitoes might carry, as well as possible ways in order to minimize, if not to avoid the swarming of mosquitoes in our surroundings.

The diseases
Thriving in humid and damp areas, mosquitoes reproduce quickly. Laying eggs in shallow pools of water, the eggs hatch and grow, becoming adult, biting mosquitoes. And these biting pests can carry a myriad of diseases:

West Nile Virus – now considered a seasonal epidemic in North America, West Nile virus makes the news nearly every summer. It causes inflammation of the brain, and can be fatal in some patients.

Malaria – this mosquito-borne disease can be found around the world, primarily in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Symptoms can vary from one patient to another, and include fever, body aches, coma, and death.

Dengue fever – this disease can be found in the tropics, and comes from a certain type of mosquito that is active during the day time.

Yellow fever – found in South America and Africa, this disease does have a vaccine. However, in areas where the vaccine is unavailable, the mosquitoes transmit the disease from one person to another.

Heartworm – a parasite affecting household pets, the larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes. Untreated, heartworms can clog up the heart, causing cardiovascular problems and death.

The best way to protect your family and pets is to prevent mosquitoes from biting in the first place. There are several ways that you can do this:

Limit breeding areas – mosquitoes love to breed in shallow, still water. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property by keeping ponds healthy, clean, and well circulated. If you have a pond, keep it stocked with fish that will eat mosquitoes and the larvae, including koi and bass. Dump out any standing water that might collect in buckets, toys, or other areas around your yard after every rain.

Use repellents and traps – If you are going to be out during mosquito season, make sure that everyone in your family puts on mosquito repellent. There are special products on the market for both children and pets. You can also consider a mosquito trap that will attract and kill mosquitoes, protecting up to an acre of area.

Be mosquito smart – avoid going out at dusk or dawn, since these are prime mosquito times. If you are going out at a time or to an area that is mosquito infested, wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to protect your skin.
Residents should take the initiative in taking care of their respective households and surroundings. But it will definitely be of great help when Barangay and Municipal officials could strategize, make ordinances, do clean-up drives, or even provide seminars so people could be made aware of this mosquito problem.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Killings, Stealings, Violence

As much as possible, ayoko sanang magbigay nang mga negative stories tungkol sa Licab. Kasi ang goal nga sana ng blog ay para mai-promote o maipakilala ang Licab sa mga hindi nakakaalam tungkol dito.

Ngunit naisip kong ang blog na ito ay siyang magsisilbi ring tambayan ng mga taga-Licab-magsisilbing kuhanan nila ng mga balita at current events na nangyayari sa aming bayan.

Anyway, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, 2008 nang magsimula ang mga series of violence tungkol sa pagpatay o tangkang pagpatay sa ilang mga Barangay Captains.

Sabi sa kwento, papunta yata ng seminar (sa Baguio o Pangasinan) ang ilang barangay officials ng Sta. Maria nang barilin ang barangay captain ng Sta. Maria sa isang stop over nila. Akalain mong kilala ko pa si Ferdie, yung driver nung inaarkila nilang sasakyan.

Sumunod namang nabalita yung pagkamatay ni Bongbong Villaroman sa may daan ng Licab-Victoria, Tarlac.

Nakakalungkot. Kung minsan, hindi mo man personal na kakilala ang mga taong napapatay, hindi maiiwasang malulungkot ka rin dahil nga naman sa dinami-dami ba naman ng balitang maririnig mo tungkol sa Licab, eh, puro karahasan pa ang maririnig mo. Kung iisipin mo pa, napakaliit na bayan, napakagulo.

Narito ang official news na galing sa Nueva Ecija Journal:

SP puts up reward for arrest of killer of Licab barangay chief

The Nueva Ecija Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) passed a resolution last July 24 for the setting up of a P100,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest of the killer of a barangay chair in Licab.

SP Member Rommel Padilla, chair of the SP peace and order committee, said that the unanimously approved resolution also expressed sympathy to the family of the victim, David Villaroman, the 39 year old barangay chair of San Juan, Licab who was ambushed and killed in Victoria, Tarlac last July 19.

Vice Gov. Edward Thomas Joson, Padilla's BALANE party mate, also approved the resolution.

The Tarlac police reported that Villaroman was driving a red multi-cab when fired at by a gunman at the approach of a bridge in Barangay Mangolago, Victoria. The gunman alighted from an L-300 van and fired at the victim at close range as he passed by.

Meanwhile, Gov. Aurelio M. Umali called on the police to resolve two killings.###

Sa local scene, sana nga ay ginagawan naman ng aksiyon ng mga local officials ng Licab ang mga nangyayaring ganito. Narito naman ang balita tungkol sa aksiyon na ginagawa ni Mayor Willy Domingo at nang mga lokal na opisyal ng bayan:

Licab residents rally against violence

In reaction to the killing of two barangay chairs in a span of five months, some 10,000 Licab residents joined an indignation rally last July 25 to denounce the spate of violence in their town.

The rallyists paraded around the poblacion and then gathered at the municipal hall to pray for peace and call for a stop to violence.

Mayor Willy Domingo led the ecumenical prayer rally at Liwasang Dalmacio, with the police, the academe, the business and farming sectors, the elderly and seven local religious groups participating.

The mayor criticized the slow progress of the investigations to resolve the twin killings.

The latest victim was Barangay San Juan Chair David Villaroman, nephew of former Mayor Tomas Villaroman, who was shot and killed while driving a multi-cab in Victoria, Tarlac last July 19.

The other victim, Barangay Chair Freddie Jacinto, was ambushed and killed in Talavera.

“There appears to be a killer on the loose and on the supposed hit list are our barangay captains,” the mayor said, adding that the violent incidents tended to destroy the economic gains of his administration.

He said he wanted to show that Licab was the first in Nueva Ecija to declare war against criminality and violence.

Domingo said he himself had received several death threats through text messages, and could not understand why despite these, he was deprived of his police escorts. ###

Ang mga series of killings na ito ay naganap noong 2008. Makalipas nito, sumikat naman ang sinasabing maraming Hold-up incidents sa may parteng papuntang Sta. Maria at Licab-Victoria Road.

May mga nagsasabing nahuli na at napatay ang mga hold-uppers kamakailan. Sana nga. Subalit magsilbi sana itong babala at pagkakataon para sa mga Sangguniang Bayan, Local Officials, at Pulisya. Sana ay gumawa nang kaukulang aksiyon upang mabawasan, kung hindi man tuluyan ng masugpo ang mga ganitong klaseng karahasan.

After all, kung magiging matahimik at maayos ang ating bayan, sino pa ang makikinabang kung hindi rin tayong mga mamamayan?