Shift to farming, governor urges Aurora charcoal makers

From Manila Bulletin by Ariel Avendaño:

DINGALAN, Aurora – Aurora Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo urged village folk here who are dependent on illegal logging and charcoal-making activities to refrain from their old ways and shift instead to planting of high-value variety of pepper which is now gaining a big demand in the domestic market.

The Mahogany Upland Farmers Association (MUFA) chaired by Engineer Romeo Callanta has introduced the production of hybrid Taiwan pepper, noting the huge requirement in the local market.

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A kilo of Taiwan pepper now sells at from P150 to P250.

Speaking before the day-long First Farmers Day celebration organized by MUFA, Governor Castillo announced that the project was the biggest livelihood undertaking jointly launched by a farmers group in cooperation with the provincial government and the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

She said it is an endeavor aimed at stopping illegal logging and charcoalmaking in this once timber-rich municipality.

Noting the series of catastrophes that struck Dingalan four years ago, Castilo said, “gumaganti na po ang inang kalikasan, pangalagaan natin siya upang pangalagaan din niya tayo (mother nature is retaliating, let us protect her, in this way, she will also protect us).”

Dingalan was the hardest hit town in Aurora as the disasters left the villages of Paltic and Umiray almost buried under tons of debris, boulders, and logs. Several other Quezon municipalities also suffered when Luzon was devastated by typhoons “Violeta,” “Winnie,” and “Yoyong” in November 2004.

The lady governor directed provincial environment chief Benjamin Miña and community environment officer Joselito Blanco to talk to the charcoal-makers and other people dependent on forest products to shift to farming as she ordered to go after illegal loggers in the town.

She noted that several local officials are in cahoots with illegal loggers.

“I am commending and thanking MUFA for finding alternative livelihood opportunities for our village folk. Hindi n’yo na po kailangan pang mag-illegal logging at mag-uling, kailangan lang nating pagyamanin ang ating mga bakanteng bukirin,” Castillo told the farmers participants.

Pledging her all-out support for the project, Castillo ordered the release of R300,000 as seed money for the farmers-members of MUFA. The amount willl be utilized in the mass production of Taiwan pepper seedlings.

The governor also announced that all farmers-members of MUFA willl be provided with Philhealth cards to ensure that they will be accorded with health care.

She also announced that “magkakaroon po tayo ng Farmers Day sa Disyembre, dito po ako magpapasko sa bayan ng Dingalan kasama kayo.”

Early in the day, Castillo visited a four-hectare MUFA nursery and fully grown hybrid Taiwan “sili” demo farm at sitio Tabi, Barangay Umiray.

MUFA has so far distributed around 170,000 of pepper seedlings to its members in the different barangays, Callanta said. This is in response to a call of Governor Castillo to provide decent livelihood alternatives to Dingaleños who are dependent on illegal logging and charcoal-making, he said.

Note: This news is from the Manila Bulletin online. The complete article was reproduced here because the MB website does not provide permalinks.

One Response to “Shift to farming, governor urges Aurora charcoal makers”

  1. fr.eric Says:

    thanks at may pangkabuhayang pagtatanim ng sili na pamalit sa pag-uuling. subalit may ilang lumalapit sa inyong lingkod na sa kabila ng sila ay nakabayad na sa puhunan ng pagsisili ay may kaparte pa rin ng kinikuha ang consultant ni gob. habang sila ay umaani pa ng sili. hindi ba lalong pahirap ito.

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