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Tabuk City officials take oath

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Thumbs up for Tabuk City. Third-timer Mayor-elect Ferdinand Tubban (sixth from right) said in his speech that a new administration have its own set of priorities. He furthered that the Tabuk is the main priority and not self-interest.// Source: Tabuk City Information Office (CIO)

The new set of Tabuk City officials took oath of office before Municipal Trial Court in Cities Presiding Judge Hon. Victor A. Dalanao on June 28 at the Tabuk Gymnasium.

Continuity, cooperation, and economic development are the main points of the new set of officials in their individual speeches delivered after taking oath. Most of the new elected officials were re-elected for their last term in office and only three councilors-elect are neophytes.

City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban emphasized in his address that the Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) is the primary basis for directing economic development plans for the City, hence needs redefinition and improvement.

“We need your invaluable ideas to be inputs to our ELA because the ELA should be ours and not mine alone. It is our ELA that can unite our actions towards the same goals,” expressed Tubban.

Tubban said that in his last term as City Mayor, he will focus on key areas that the city needs improvement such as education, budget, business, health, peace and order, environment, tourism, social services, and infrastructure.

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Panagkaysa ti umili. As a show of unity and cultural appreciation, the Tabukenos welcomes its new City officials with ethnic dances in hopes that these officials are not just for show. As pure as the tadok, the Tabukenos expect much from the new officials as they are whom they voted for. // Source: Tabuk – CIO

Third timer Vice Mayor-elect Darwin Estrañero in his speech urged fellow electoral opponents to “put into the pit of oblivion the debacle” of the May 9 elections and challenged all public servants to do their part as of his. Being at the helm of the legislative body, Estrañero said this new administration shall be pro-environment, pro-peace, and pro-poor.

Noticeable in his speech is the parable of the four monkeys. The first one shut his eyes, the second one closes his ears, the third one closing his mouth, and the last is not doing anything at all. Estrañero imposed to his new set of co-workers that they should not be any of these monkeys that closes his eyes to the truth, his ears to the plight of the people, his mouth in fighting for the people’s rights, and should do something for the city and its constituents.

“I will assure everyone that I shall be working hard for good governance,” he said.
Neophyte Councilor-elect Zorayda Wacnang emphasized on the people’s involvement in the development process. She said that the government also needs the support of the people in doing their own counterparts. She also urged her fellow councilors that it is time to work because the trust of the people is valuable.

Three termer District I Board Member and now Councilor-elect Chester Alunday pointed out that the government should be for the lesat, the last and the lost.

Ermilinda Wandag, second termer councilor compares politics to motherhood, where both entities are “brain-wrecking, emotional entangling, and time-consuming”.

Nevertheless, Wandag said that like motherhood, politics should also nurture and ensure the future of the children.

Fomer Dagupan Centro Barangay Captain and now Councilor-elect Castor Cayaba expressed in his message that he will serve the people with humility and generosity.

‘’The city government will do everything it can to continue reaping awards like the Lupon Tagapamayapa Incentive Award,’’ Cayaba underscored.

Third termer Councilors-elect Arnold Tenedero, Martinez Vicente and Antonio Bakilan promised to continue serving in the best of their ability and that they won’t be a problem for the city government.

On their second term as City Councilor, Glem Amla, Dick Bal-o and Lucretina Sarol mentioned in their speeches that they will work hard for a more progressive Tabuk.

“I think the new set of officials should also focus on employment,” expressed Rose (not her real name), a resident of Tabuk for almost fifteen years. “Less jobs make people find easy money, such as selling drugs and other illegal activities, so it is better that these people first have a stable job.”

Preceding the Oath Taking is an Ecumenical Service led by Kalinga Apayao Religious Sectors Association (KARSA). //Mikeen Penchog with reports from Darwin Serion (Tabuk – CIO)

*This article was first published in the Facebook page, Tabuk City, Kalinga.

Tungtung System: Mankayan’s Perspective in Conflict Management

Conflict exists everywhere. As such, humans of different culture have created various ways of conflict management to maintain peace and order in their respective communities.

In Tabio, Mankayan, a part of Benguet, they practice the tungtung system which is an indigenous way of managing and resolving conflict.

Tungtung is a verbal form of settling and resolving conflicts. It is an oral tradition shaped by our ancestors and had been practiced since time immemorial and passed over from generation to generation. Other parts of Benguet and the Cordillera region also practice the tungtung system. However, in each place or locality, the system varies in how it is practiced.

According to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Benguet, the system has developed over time with the purpose of restoring harmony within the community and the locals’ relationship with nature and the spirits. The community’s trust and affinity in the system guarantees its success.

In a study titled ‘‘Redefining Tungtung, Way of Managing Conflicts in Tabio, Mankayan, Benguet’’ by Cherry Mae Q. Sab-it, it was found out that tungtung is effectively practiced in barangay Tabio, Mankayan. Minor and major types of conflicts discussed in the local level through the tungtung system were resolved. And despite challenges to the system, the locals of Tabio still choose to practice tungtung in resolving conflict due to its practicality.

According to the study some cases where tungtung was conducted in Tabio, Mankayan were theft, physical injury, robbery, and even rape. They have also settled property disputes on house and land and unjust vexation.

Tungtung is mediated by elders and the Lupons who are trusted and respected in the community to ensure that the conflict will be resolved with the appropriate justification and resolution.

In the tungtung system a party raises his complaints to an elder or a Lupon member and the matter is then presented and discussed upon with other elders or members of the community. Both contending parties can discuss freely and any of the elders can speak out to guide and direct the discussions when arguments become heated. The elders or the community members congregated can reprimand anyone who becomes too emotional in the exchange.

Tungtung is conducted to keep a peaceful and harmonious relationship between the people of the community. Thus it is performed through coming up with agreements that both parties involved would be able keep.

NCIP also stated in Benguet.gov.ph that the tungtung system covers all aspects of bad behavior and the process of determining guilt and punishment is participatory so the community at large hears the case, and judgment is arrived at through a consensus of those present.

However, the practice is faced to several challenges. Sab-it mentioned that as years passed by, the side of the Lupons became less active and do not call for monthly meetings as they usually do. However, it is due to the reason that they are no longer chosen by the parties involved to mediate in the process. Thus, the Barangay Chairman appoints other Lupons who are more credible to be in charge of taking part in the tungtung system once he sees that the person previously assigned is not compatible.

It is also a challenge when both of the parties involved in the conflict turn out to have high emotional behaviors and heated arguments. In this case, the elders and the Lupons would have to mediate and let both parties calm down before continuing with the resolution.

High penalty imposed by the complainant and denying or dishonest parties are also a challenge as arrived at in the study. The mediators have to be keen and wise in order to figure out what is the most appropriate way of dealing with the conflict.

The practice of tungtung is still performed these days by the people of Tabio and likewise in other parts of Mankayan and Benguet. As Sab-it’s study stated, despite the challenges in the tungtung system, the people still choose it as their institutionalized form of solving cases and conflicts since it does not require a lot of money, is not time consuming, and it eliminates the gap between rich and poor.

The resolutions of the tungtung system are also abided and respected by both parties involved and likewise by the community members. It helps prevent people from repeating the same grievances or doing any offense since they know what their punishment might be.

‘‘Conflicts are inescapable. So instead of running away from it, we should face it head on in a peaceful manner,’’ says Gemma Jammas who have witnessed tungtung system. She noted that using traditional means of conflict management which have been practiced for years greatly helps make the members of the community abide by whatever the result of the tungtung is.

We cannot stop conflict from existing, but we can create ways of managing and resolving conflict in order to maintain a peaceful and safe community just like how the tungtung system have sustained peace for generations in Mankayan, Benguet. # VictoriaMagastino_PeaceandConflict

Barangay Court Existing in La Trinidad Soon to be Sustained

The locals of the different barangays of La Trinidad, Benguet will no longer have to raise their complaints or clamor to the municipal, regional, or to other higher courts. They can have their cases resolved in the barangay level right away, without so much time spent or corresponding expenses.

This would soon turn out to be a reality with the upcoming institutionalization and strengthening of a municipal ordinance titled, “La Trinidad Katarungang Pambarangay (KP) Ordinance.” Pursuant to the Local Government Code of 1991, this was filed by Roderick C. Awingan, Municipal Councilor, and was co-authored by Municipal Vice Mayor Romeo K. Salda, Municipal Councilors Henry Kipas and Teddy M. Quintos.

To date, the proposal is now on its third and final reading.

According to Awingan, the Katarungang Pambarangay is one of the most effective and efficient mechanisms that helps decongest courts as it tries to settle disputes in the barangay level, and to do all means in order to avoid litigation.

 

Of KP embodiment

The implementation and monitoring of the Katarungang Pambarangay would be taken charge to the assigned Lupon Tagapamayapa which is a body organized in every barangay composed of the Punong Barangay as Chairman and the members of the Lupon Tagapamayapa.

Accordingly, there shall be not less than and not more than 20 people appointed by the Punong Barangay to serve in the Lupon Tagapamayapa.

 

Of Institutionalized Policies

With all due requirements and conditions met and the designation of an advisory council to oversee such affair, the Katarungang Pambarangay program, project, and activities are to be institutionalized.

The said program would have a quarterly journal that will include its latest jurisprudence, laws, and opinions that are relevant to its advancement. It would also establish linkages and networks to provide assistance to Lupon members in term of legal advisers and opinions.

Moreover, it shall be responsible for the regular trainings and seminars of all Lupon members in order to equip them the necessary skills and knowledge in settling conflicts and disputes.

Further, it shall formulate a system granting incentives to Barangays who had successfully solved cases that did not reach the courts and the Lupon Members had done their best in resolving cases at their level subject to availability of funds.

With chains of cases and complaints, both serious and mediocre, there is really a need to establish a localized court system so as to deter any form of further grievances. With the imminent strengthening of the Katarungang Pambarangay, it is hoped that every local citizen would have the guts to air their cases without fear of compromise and in such an accessible manner.

Manang Sandra, a resident of Barangay Betag, said that she looks forward to the implementation of the said ordinance since it may help keep the municipality peaceful as clamors and disputes will be settled more quickly in the barangay level if the Katarungang Pambarangay is fully equipped.    #VictoriaMagastino_LocalGovernment

The Honors Society Devote: Redefining What an Elder is

Being called as old often irritates people since it gives off a feeling of being weak and not needed. But this is not true. Elders are essential and respectable people needed in a society. They are key people needed for development.

To indigenous people, being called as an elder in a community is far from just being old. Discover what are the honors and responsibilities of holding the title as an elder really means.

In the Cordilleras, being an elder means holding considerable skills and honorable knowledge. This is among the reasons why Igorot communities highly respect the elders; since elders are the keepers of indigenous knowledge and skills that are handed down from our ancestors or experienced by the elders themselves. Despite it being seen as a mere belief by other people who are not members of the community, these knowledge and skills are often very practical. Thus, it can be readily applied to real life situations and help in times of crisis.

In a study by Felicidad B. Lunas titled ‘‘Communication Roles of Elders in the Development Process among the Kankanaey and Bago Tribes of Bakun, Benguet’’ it was found that the main criteria used for considering elders were age, knowledge about the local culture, and respect from the community.

It clearly stated that it is not only the age that makes one to be called an elder. The knowledge and experience is necessary; and the respect is also of utmost consideration.

The presence of elders is also practically required in all family and community situations in the locality latter stated. The findings of the study also showed that in each situation where elders are called, they act as adviser, mediator, listener, and traditional healer.

The study also found that elders carried out their communication roles by performing rituals and giving advice through chants, native prayers, stories, and experiences. They do not merely sit and listen, they are people who delves deep and keeps being in action.

In the tungtung system of most highland communities, elders are also the key stakeholders for they wield the knowledge and experience necessary to be able to manage conflict effectively.

It is also noted in the study that the participation of the elders is highly perceived to be beneficial to community development. It is evident that they are not treated as weak or useless. Instead, they are looked up to as knowledgeable, experienced, and strong – not at all what you expect of someone who is old.

Our perception of old or elderly people has greatly changed through time, it is high time that we look back and see the real value of what that elders are. They are not all weak or dependent people. They are a strong and essential figure that greatly helps to keep the society intact.

‘‘Haan nga masapul nga ilimed mo ti tawen mo. Aminem nga ag-ed-edad ka ta haan dayta nga kababain nu diket gloria a mangibagbaga nga adu en ti naaramid mo (It is not necessary that you keep your age as secret. Admit that you are aging for that is not a shame but a glory saying that you have done/achieved a lot),’’ said Lola Samin, a resident of La Trinidad, Benguet who is considered as an elder in their community. She further added that she is proud and feels honored to be called as an elder and does not consider it to be derogatory. #VictoriaMagastino_Ethnic/IP

A Rose in the Salad Bowl

Do you know of the fruit that has the title as “Queen of Fruits”?

It is a heart-shaped fruit that tantalizes your senses in the fragrance of a rose’s aroma and the juicy sweetness of the most popular berry in the world. It is mouth-watering, bright pink to shiny, deep red when ripe, and beautifully green to white when still young.

This famous fruit is no other than the banner fruit of La Trinidad, Benguet that is celebrated in a month-long festival every year in March – the strawberry. Last March, the municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet had just celebrated this sweet scented festival symbolizing the fertility of the Salad Bowl of the Philippines.

 

Straw Frenzy

Folktales say that the word strawberry was derived from the phrase ‘‘straws of berry’’ since originally, children pick these ‘berries’ and sell them tied in straws, hence the term strawberry.

However, according to draxe.com, strawberry got its name from the stacks of straw which were piled around the plants as protection from rodents and pests. Since during the olden times, plasticulture or the use of plastics as mulch was not yet renowned like how it is commonly used now in strawberry farms in La Trinidad.

 

Unbelievably Amazing Facts

Have you ever wondered why strawberries smell like roses? Well, that is because it belongs to the rose family. Strawberry belongs to the Rosacea (rose) family. Moreover, both roses, apples, and strawberries belong to the genus fragaria (from the Latin word fragola or fragrance) which explains why all of these smell so great.

Strawberries first grew in some parts of France and Italy as early as 234 BC. Now, there are more than 600 varieties of strawberry with the following as among the most popular types: Evangeline, Sable, Annapolis, Earliglow, Allstar, Mesabi, Sparkle, and Jewel.

Strawberry is not a real a berry. It does not even belong to the berry family. Berries have their seeds inside them while strawberries have its seeds outside its skin. More than 200 seeds adorn outside what we call as the strawberry fruit.

However, what we eat and call as the strawberry fruit is not the real strawberry fruit. It is but an enlarged receptacle that holds the real strawberry fruits. This is why strawberry is labeled as the queen of fruits by some scientists and botanists.

 

Nutritional Benefits

According to Gene Casibang, a farmer in the Benguet State University strawberry farms in La Trinidad, tourists buy strawberries not only for its taste but also for its health benefits. Indeed, strawberry is quoted to be a super fruit by various health agencies such as the World Health Foods.

Worlds Healthiest Foods posted in their website that strawberries contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin B6, Manganese, folate, fiber, iodine, copper, and potassium. These are among the essential nutrients needed by our body in order for our systems to function properly.

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk, an author, activist, and health editor of Canada’s health publication – the Viva Magazine, said that one cup or 8-9 medium sized strawberries contain more than 100 % of our daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. A recent study showed that when taken in times of stress, Vitamin C can help to decrease blood pressure to a normal level, thus preventing development of hypertension.

Aside from being a great source of fiber that improves digestive system and bowel movement, strawberries are also high in antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and contribute to blood sugar regulation, has anti-cancer benefits, and has cardiovascular benefits. It also contains anthocyanin which is an antioxidant that protects us from radical damage. Thus, helping prevent skin cancer.

A  2013 study published in Circulation, a scientific journal that publishes articles and researches regarding cardiovascular diseases, found that three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries within a week reduces the risk of heart attack. This is due to strawberries’ ability to suppress inflammatory responses of the body and reduce risk of hypertension by lowering LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol or the so called bad cholesterol that contributes to clogging arteries.

Strawberries also help replenish loss or lack of folate, a type of Vitamin B that helps cells to function properly and tissues to grow. Folate is also crucial in pregnancy as it helps prevent birth defects and anemia.

 

 

Strawberry in the Valley of Colors

The municipality of La Trinidad, which is sometimes called the valley of colors, yearly celebrates the sweet Strawberry festival. This festival showcases various strawberry varieties and products and likewise exemplified the fertility of the Salad Bowl of the Philippines. It is not only famous within the valley but also to the whole world.

La Trinidad is given the titles “Strawberry Country” and “The Strawberry Capital of the Philippines” due to the valley’s rich and wide production of the said plant. In a study, it was identified that Sweet Charlie and Aliso are popular strawberry varieties commonly planted by farmers in the municipality.

La Trinidad also holds a record in the Guinness World Book of Records for baking the world’s largest strawberry shortcake in March 2004.

In addition, the municipality holds a month long festival dedicated to strawberries wherein strawberries from fresh fruits to dried ones or processed such as jam, candies, crinkles, taho, ice cream, beer, and wine are showcased.

In this year’s annual strawberry festival, the municipality also showcased a new brand of wine from strawberries which is believed by many to be a global brand. Its brand name is La Trinidad, which is also the name of the municipality. It is to be marketed even abroad.

 

Despite not being a berry, strawberries are among the most known berries in the whole world as it is the favorite of not just children but also to lovers. Now, it has also become a legend not just in the Philippines that eating twin strawberries will make you stay for as long as you live with the other person who ate half of the berry that it drew more tourist to strawberry farms in the valley.

Mang Tony, a strawberry farmer in La Trinidad says that he will improve his strawberry farm since the demand for the fruit continues to increase and tourists keep on visiting them every now and then for fresh strawberry picking.

More than just a ‘rose’ in the salad bowl and a ‘berry’ in the valley, strawberry contributes in the income generation of La Trinidad as it keeps attracting tourists while its increased production boosts farmers’ profits.

If you have not yet visited the valley’s colorful strawberry farms, come and visit soon and see for yourself the ‘rose’ in the Salad Bowl of the country and experience picking it yourself. #VictoriaMagastino_DevelopmentStory

Beauty Within: Kapangan’s Hidden Wonders

Do you agree that beauty is not seen only on the outside but also on the inside? This is true not just to people but also in nature. Beauty of nature does not end on what we see on its surface. There is also beauty within it such as in Kapangan’s hidden wonders.

Endowed with nature’s generous gifts, Kapangan is full of surprises. It is one of the 13 municipalities of Benguet province in the highlands of Cordillera. Kapangan has numerous wonders. Among these are caves that hide magnificent beauty in the darkness.

 

Bolinsak or Bolalacao Cave

Bolinsak cave is one of the hidden beauties of Kapangan. It is a concealed natural attraction found in Taba-ao along the Bolinsak creek. Accordingly, it is 36 kilometers away from La Trinidad and if you walk from the main road, you will reach it after a 100 meter walk.

Due to it being the dwelling place of bulalacao birds which come out and night and make eerie sounds, it came to be known also as Bulalacao cave after the bird.

Glittering and picturesque stalagmites and stalactites which makes the cave even more interesting can be adored inside the cave. There are also crystal clear pools of water inside. Water is constantly dropping from the ceiling of the cave and creates ripples on the water below which only made the pool look more beautiful.

Meanwhile, through the view deck situated beside the entrance of the cave, one can gaze over the appealing countryside and the mountainous surrounding area.

 

Balabag Mummy Cave

Balabag cave is located at the foot of Mt. Balabag at Beleng-Belis. In order to reach Balabag mummy cave, you must hike for three hours from the Barangay station. Thus you would also enjoy a sightseeing of the places you will pass by as you hike.

The cave has a variety of delightful stalagmite and stalactites which are really breathtaking. Be reminded though that this is a burial cave.

 

Bolingaongao Cave

Bolingaongao cave is among the historical sites in Benguet that people love to visit not just for its historical value but also because of its splendor. According to the locals, this cave located in Payyek was used as an evacuation site during the World War I and II. You may feel the eerie aura of someone staring at you veiled in the darkness.

Nevertheless it also showcases a wonderful view of sparkling stalactites and stalagmites that will surely soothe you.

 

Longog Cave

Longog cave is one of the hidden wonders of Kapangan. It is found in Balakbak located at the foot of Mt. Dakiwagan and 14 kilometers away from the municipal hall. On the way to Longog cave you will also pass the mystic Amburayan river and the amkiyet orchid mountain of Cuba.

Merely entering the cave itself is a thrilling experience. You have to pass by a hanging foot bridge which leads to its entrance where near it water oozes out from the rocks. The cave has several entrance and exit points.

In a BSU study by Jovane D. Pastor in 2010 titled ‘‘Potential of Longog Cave as a Tourist Destination Area in Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet’’ he labeled Longog cave as a tunnel cave, where tourists must swim and even crawl. He also described that inside the cave are unique waterfalls, corals and mineral deposits.

The picturesque views inside the cave are described by many tourist and likewise in Pastor’s study to be magnificent as it includes massive complex of rock pillars and columns which makes the view even more captivating. It also has entrancing stalactites and stalagmites protruding from the floor and the ceiling.

Longog cave is not very large but it is gradually wet and very watery that you have to wear light but protective clothes when you enter it. It also has many labyrinth bobbling with water. Pastor also mentioned that considerable skill at hanging onto rocks is needed.

‘‘Kapangan’s caves are very challenging. I want to visit it again soon,’’ says Maureen Bassit after taking a tour around the municipality’s hidden wonders. Despite the darkness, with the help of flashlights you will realize that Kapangan’s beauty is indeed not just seen on the surface but also in the beauties hidden within its caves. # Victoria Magastino_Envi

The Action Stars of Duterte

“Progress cannot happen in a place where there is criminality and lawlessness,

“I will increase salary for our police to fight criminality,

“I slap people in public, especially erring policemen. I can even challenge them to a duel. I am a gunfighter,” said Duterte during his guest at Makati Business Club forum at Manila Peninsula, Makati city last April 27 as he delivers his sincerest platform on peace and order.

In the election 2016, Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte received victory as the 16th president of the Philippines. This paved way for his platforms to be done. In his press conference in Davao City, he also shared some of his plans for the Philippines, these are: control drugs and crime, suppress crime in his first 100 days, restoration of death penalty for heinous crimes (rape with death of victim, kidnapping with ransom, robbery with homicide, no more deploying of barangay “tanods”, mandatory curfew for minors, arrest parents due to neglect of duties, no drinking alcoholic beverages in public places, create a Department of Overseas Workers, order arrest of illegal recruiters, sell the presidential yacht to fund buildings for the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police.

Looking to the role of policemen, Frank G. Remington pointed out in his article “The Role of Police in Democratic Country” that the police should play a major role in fashioning and implementing a proper law enforcement policy for their community. He also pointed out that there are practical reasons why police must assume a major social responsibility whether they want to or not. These are: all criminal laws cannot be enforced fully because the resources made available to the police are clearly insufficient; even if resources were adequate, the full enforcement of all criminal laws would create an intolerable situation, because it would require the arrest of persons whose conduct is not sufficiently serious to warrant subjecting them to the criminal process; to a major extent, responsibility for deciding what laws are to be enforced under what circumstances must be left to the police.

Duterte can now work on his platforms now that he had won as the president. Are the policemen ready considering that they will play a major role in the upcoming administration?

“Mamati ak ay kaya na ta istrikto suna, ken nu haan aramiden ti pulis ti trabaho da, tanggal agad sa trabaho ken nu ingato na ti sahud awan dahilan ti corruption” (I believe that he can because he is strict and if policemen is not doing their job properly, they will be fired automatically. If he increases salary, there is no way for corruption), said PO1 Gil Cabansi in an interview.

 

 

LT faces environmental problems

 

Bing comes back to the province after 20 years of staying in a foreign land. She set her expectations like breathing fresh air. Upon her arrival, busy crowd and dirty air greeted her. To her surprise, the area they used to play on during their childhood days was already occupied with houses.

The graduate study of Maria O. Amoroso, a Masters of Urban Management graduate of Benguet State University, titled “Sustainable area for Housing Development in La Trinidad”, revealed that there were several violations in the Building Code such as increasing number of doubled-up households, presence of houses in high-risk areas, houses built in environmentally sensitive areas, and presence of improvised or makeshifts housing units in the municipalit

Moreover, the high cost of land and housing materials, difficulty and expensive processing of titles and building permits, costly building/zoning permits, poverty, difficulty of transportation services, and no proper drainage system add to the issues and concerns resulting to the housing conflicts in the municipality.

“We are living with our parents for almost five years because we cannot afford to buy our own house and lot,” expressed Sara, a resident of Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.

It was stated in the study that doubled-up houses are prone to sanitary and hygienic problems especially if the house is not conducive for children and aged members of the family.

Another problem in LT is the presence of improvised makeshift-houses that affect the health and safety of the family while there are also some houses that are located in high-risk areas like Km. 3. Among the conditions that make an area high-risk include the presence of falling rocks.

It was also observed that some houses in the municipality violated the building and water codes such as the non-securement of building permits before constructing residential houses, and the building of houses along the Balili River and creeks.

 

cashednewslookupcom
Houses were built along the Balili river which is one of the violations of the National Water Code. Moreover, wastes from each household is dumped on the river sides. //photo from cashednewslookup.com

Environmental Hazards in different barangays of LT

As identified in the study, barangays Lubas, Tawang, Puguis, Poblacion, Alapang, Balili, Bineng, Beckel, Betag, Cruz, Lubas, and Pico are considered as high risk areas. This can be attributed to their vulnerability to floods, fault lines, falling rocks, and sinkholes.

In the contrary, barangays Alno, Ambiong, and Shilan are deemed not too vulnerable to environmental hazards.

Further, fault lines can also be found in the municipality, these are Mirador, and Burnham fault line. Mirador fault line traverse through the barangays of Wangal-Puguis-Betag and is capable of producing an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 while the Burnham fault line traverses through barangays Bineng, Wangal, and Poblacion.

To prepare ourselves from the hazards, it is recommended in the study that the houses along Balili River, and illegal settlers within the watershed reservations must be relocated. Also, on the part of the local government unit, they have to raise awareness on land use and educate the public regarding environmental laws. Lastly, for the community, they have to adapt measures in flood prone areas like constructing proper drainage system.// Margaret Anne B. Litilit

 

Public participation in cleaning the surroundings sought-MENRO

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According to Arthur Pedro, Environment and Management Specialist 1 of Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), everyone must take part in maintaining the surroundings clean. “It is a public responsibility to lessen wastes,” he stated.

Pedro explained that election campaigns contribute to pollution in the environment just like economic activities such as Strawberry Festival in the municipality where the event is flocked by people from different places and wastes increases. However, he noted that wastes should be a public concern.

Further, he noted that even if the election period is over, campaign materials like posters and tarpaulins are still observed in several areas.

“It is expected that most of the campaign materials ended up in the landfill areas. Campaign wastes added up to the volume of wastes while only few are recycled. Definitely, 70% to 80% went to the landfill areas,” he emphasized.

“Everyone should practice the ‘segregation at source’ habit and encourage others to do same,” he said.  He reminded the use of the formula- S+4R+D+C (segregate+ reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair+ dispose+ compost) as a way of lessening the impact of pollution.

Moreover, Pedro said that campaign materials have designated areas where they are posted. However, they are seen even to places where should not be placed. Accordingly, these areas may not be seen by the garbage collectors.

On the other hand, he mentioned that campaign materials can be a source of income since the election is done and the tarpaulins and posters can already be removed from the posts. “Collected tarpaulins can be made into recycled bags while a collection of leaflets and flyers added with other used paper could be sold though in low cost.”

Further, he illustrated that leaflets and flyers that are biodegradable can be added into backyard compost, instead of having them directly thrown into the garbage.  “These are few but important tips to make campaign materials useful even after when the election is done rather than directing them into the landfills,” noted Pedro.

“We appreciate the concerted efforts of agencies like the Commission on Election (COMELEC) and Local Government Unit (LGU), MENRO, and concerned barangays in cleaning the surroundings through the Operation Baklas,” added Pedro. He indicated that wastes left out and overlooked are collected by the garbage collectors.

Furthermore, Pedro stated that political parties are the primarily ones responsible for removing and collecting the tarpaulins and posters as well as cleaning the designated areas where they have posted. However, he stressed, “people should not leave all the responsibility to the political parties nor to the street sweepers and garbage collectors to clean littered materials. “Peoples’ counterpart to clean the surroundings is publicly solicited. It is everybody’s accountability to at least help lessen wastes,” he said.

“If we have received leaflets or flyers and have brought them, we have helped other members of our family made a wise choice during the election. That’s how essential little efforts are-we make values out from the leaflets and flyers and not totally see and take them as wastes,” said Ronnel Pontino, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES 3) student.

#environmentreporting

Rose Dagupen D.

 

Performing sharay-at for a bountiful harvest

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“Dew drops in the fields, morning sunshine everywhere…” goes the song that plays on my head as I pass along the rice paddies that previous weekend. But suddenly, the music stopped and I began to touch palay leaves stoop on my path. The birds sang a sweet melody and the butterflies flew ahead of me as I continued walking. Turning around, I noticed an old man building a smoke, raised his head, and began inserting flowers along the rice paddies. What does that mean? I asked myself.

Certain practices are done to seek food and prosperity from the unseen beings. In Sadanga Mountain Province, Isadanga performs Sharay-at believing that Kabunian is the god of harvest.

Sharay-at, otherwise called ap-apoy, is a tradition done to achieve a bountiful yield. It is a ritual offered to Kabunian to protect the palay plants from pests and plant eaters like rats, snakes, and birds as well as from strong winds, storms, and hailstorms.

According to Fabion Dagupen, an elder of Belwang Sadanga, practicing sharay-at will prevent dagun (a local term for food scarcity) to the community.

A blessed tour in the green fields

When the planting season is over and the plants have fully matured, community elders will declare sharay-at. One prominent male elder is tasked to make an over-all sacrifice for the community. The elder, will butcher a chicken in his rice field. He goes to the next rice field and built a smoke and pray. The ritual should be done in all his rice fields before offering the cooked chicken inthe papat-tay (a sacrificial place). Again, he will start a fire to heat the chicken. While the ritual is performed, the elder will utter a kapya (prayer) asking Kabunian to bless the harvest ofthe villagers.

Accordingly, his return to the community signifies the opening of sharay-at where every household will do the same practice in their respective rice fields. He would bring to himself a bundle of pudong (a long stick like a bamboo plant with slender, bladed leaves) and will have it stand in front of their house. Belwang elders believe that pudong serves as a protection from bad luck or failure of yield.

Meanwhile, the father of a family conducts the tradition. If he is not capable, other members can perform it, especially the males. The representative of one household will go in their rice field and butcher a chicken but meat of a pig or deer can be a substitute if the latter is not available. When the prayer is done, he will then eat. Apo Livayan, another Belwang elder, said it is a means of partaking with Kabunian as a form of sacred fellowship.

Meanwhile, the mangapoy (the ones doing the ritual) will set the feathers, wild flowers, and tapey near the dalikan before he leaves the field. Dalikan is an indigenous stove for cooking food composed of three stones arranged in a triangular set-up. After the ritual, he will continue doing it in other rice fields. Apo Livayan also said that rice fields hired from other farm owners should also be conducted with the said ritual. When the elder returns home, he will get two pieces of pudong to display at the door of their house which means they already performed sharayat. Accordingly, Kabunian will visit door to door and grant prosperity for those with pudong at their doors.

Yield without sharay-at

On the other hand, possible consequences could be encountered if sharay-at is not practiced. Apo Livayan said, “Umakit na apit. Naraka ay maang-gay na makan ha kandilo et Kaman adi maka-abot na pagey ha pinag-eerag. Isunga rumako ta ha kanen ay pangsedsed-an ha kasi ani.” (There would be less harvest. The rice on the pot is quickly consumed and the stored grains in the rice granary may not reach the planting reason that you have to buy grains while waiting for another harvest season) She elaborated that less harvest is manifested when rice fields are attacked by rice eaters, when palay stalks are short and when bundles of harvested grains is light.

Dagun, according to Dagupen, may strike the community if the ritual is ignored. “Isunga rumako na ipugaw ha kinavan nu dagun tay kurang na naani, adi mapno na agamang na tapina” (That is why people buy rice supplies from the National Food Authority or NFA since the harvest is not adequate that rice granaries are not full) he emphasized.

Moreover,Apo Dagupen mentioned that Isadanga people are industrious. They spent most of their time working in the field, yet they harvest less, nowadays. He added that one reason why people gain less yield maybe affected by how culture is treated. “Na ugali Kaman na sharay-at asa ket adi unay importante. Adu na sus-uro ay mangvaliw ha ikaan ay insamar asa ay modero et. Esa di ay rason isunga akit na apit ya Kaman hiya met lang na pumubre-an,” (Culture like sharay-at is not so much valued in the modern days. Many teachings affected how we used to manage our fields that led to the loss of our practices that is why we experience scarcity or even poverty) he explained.

Indeed, traditions passed from our forefathers serve as guide for the present and even to the next generations of how they survived during the early days. Treasuring the essence of our culture would also mean valuing how our forefathers lived their life and shaped their traditions for our good.

#Ethnic Reporting

Rose Dagupen D.