Archive for June 9, 2011

Abono cites projects for farmers

By Vir Maganes
STA. BARBARA- Aside from certified palay seed production, the Abono Party-list is embarking on hog fattening and dispersal project and yellow and white corn project to support the government’s program on food sufficiency by 2013.

The projects are in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, the provincial government of Pangasinan, the local government units (LGUs) and farmers’ associations.

This was bared by Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So during the distribution of 2,500 bags of certified palay seeds to the selected barangays and towns of the six districts of the province last June 2 at the Provincial Nursery in Tebag village here.

The certified seed distribution is under the “Accelerated Certified Seed Production and Distribution Project” which is sponsored by the Abono Partylist, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit, provincial government of Pangasinan, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Bureau of Plant Industry’s National Seed Quality and Control Services (BPI-NSQCS) and the local government units in the province.

The project was launched in October last year in Asingan with 14 selected farmers who underwent training on certified seed production. Results of the production showed an average of 186 cavans per hectare using the NCRC-222 palay variety.

The 2,500 cavans of certified seeds for distribution came from the palay production in Asingan.

In citing the various projects of Abono Partylist, So said that the hog fattening project which was launched in Balungao late last year will be replicated in other municipalities. One-half of the production will be returned to the provincial government to be dispersed to farmer-beneficiaries. Feeds will be provided by the Department of Agriculture.

For the yellow corn project, this will be launched in the Districts III, IV, V and VI of the province with P20 million support fund from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and fertilizers from the towns’ share on tobacco excise tax.

“The harvested corn will be bought by the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) based at Carmen West, Rosales at a price supportive to farmers’ expenses in farm operations including free transport of produce,” So said.

He further said the white corn production as an alternative to rice which was launched in the province in 2009 under the “Maisan sa Barangay” has not reached its momentum in production.

The white corn seeds produced in Mindanao could no longer reach the province as they are already consumed in the said area. White corn is the staple food of people in Mindanao and the Visayas provinces, So said.

To further increase palay production in the province, So revealed that Abono Party-list has also been in support to the farm trials on the Puyat-Cabuyo palay seed which can produce 300 cavans of palay per hectare.

“The trial is now underway in Nueva Ecija and being replicated in Balungao. We hope to make trials in Sta. Maria and Villasis with 10-hectare each. The palay seed is not yet registered but hopefully it will be registered this year. Wih the palay seed, palay production will be doubled to the benefits of the farmers, “ So said.

So lauded Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala for his support to the Abono Party-list’s advocacies on fast tracking the improvement of irrigation system in the province and Region I and the less importation of rice this year.

“I told Secretary Alcala that in order to be self-sufficient on rice by 2013, we need to have new 200,000 hectares of irrigated farmlands throughout the country. Secretary Alcala also reduced this year our rice importation. Compared to 2.5 million metric tons of imported rice during the last administration, our rice importation this year is only 800,000 metric tons. This is good news to our farmers who can now sell their palay produced at a competitive price,” So told the farmers.

In a brief program during the seed distribution, Dr. Benito Andaya of BPI-NSQCS and Agriculture Regional Technical Director Ed Gonzales lauded the stakeholders of the project which they said the first of its kind in the country. Both expressed optimism that it will be replicated in other provinces in the contry.

Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim Jr. told the audience that with the partnership of the Abono Partylist and the provincial government in pursuing the welfare of the farmers in the province, he “Golden Age” of Pangasinan has came into fruition.

“Let us help one another of the partnership. It is more than our personal desire but a collective effort for the province. We are all partners in development,” Calimlim said.

For his part, Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. dispelled the rumors that he is at odds with So whom he described as very supportive to the agricultural programs of the province.

Espino emphasized that what the province needs are irrigation facilities to propel farm productivity.

“Our farmers could not be productive as we want them to be because the elements of farming are not present. To those towns with tobacco excise tax, urge your congressmen to fund your irrigation projects,“ Espino told the farmers.

The certified seed distribution was attended by Abono President Ponciano V. Onia, Jr., Federation of Irrigation Association President Oftociano Manalo, Laoac Mayor Silverio Alarcio, Jr., San Nicolas Mayor Leoncio “Jangget” Saldivar III, Malasiqui Mayor Armando Domantay, San Fabian Mayor Irene Libunao, San Jacinto Mayor Romeo De Vera, Villasis Vice Mayor Centenielo Rizal R. Costales, Sto. Tomas Vice Mayor Dick Villar, Urdaneta Councilor Rio Virgilio Estevez, Bayambang Councilor Levin Uy and Villasis’ Liga ng Barangay President Romeo S. Abrenica.

By Vir

June 9, 2011 at 4:33 am 2 comments

CONRADO F. ESTRELLA: Pangasinan’s Pride

Three days ago, I was saddened by news I received that former Pangasinan Governor Conrado F. Estrella has already joined his Creator. It was a news that has given me moments of thinking how a very good person and a public servant par excellence devoted his earthly time with savvy, with pride and honor. He fought for the cause of the poor, the oppressed and helpless particularly when he was still the Minister/Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

In my opening line of this article, I referred to him as Governor- a title which I think he preferred to be called , he being a son and a pride of Pangasinan. Personally, I am more comfortable addressing him as the Governor to show that I have served four governors of Pangasinan in my government service. Many friends and even colleagues are not aware that , indeed, I have the chance to work with four great governors of Pangasinan- Aguedo F. Agbayani, Oscar Orbos, Victor E. Agbayani and Conrado F. Estrella.

I had also the chance to work with the present administration of Governor Amado T. Espino Jr., but only for a month in 2007 when he assumed his governorship. That was a time when politics reigned in the guise of bringing new order in the bureaucracy, thus those perceived to be associated with the Agbayanis were a no-no in his administration. Until now Pareng Brando, many are still “frozen delights” employees and department heads in the provincial government.

I worked with the first three governors I mentioned at the Capitol. But with Governor Estrella, it was accidental. I never thought that I will be working with him in the Department of Agrarian Reform in 1979 to 1986. How I was able to land a job in the said Department was in itself a “novelty”- -not planned but a call of time. Maybe, I was destined to work with a fellow Pangasinense, a person whose name I just heard of when I was in elementary grades and more popular when he was with the administration of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

I will recount here how I met the “great man” Governor Conrado F. Estrella.

In 1978 at a young age of 21, I was the cost engineer of Cebu Contractors Consortium Company which was responsible for the construction of Butuan-Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Highway Project-an Asian Development Bank- financed project. My work base was in Butuan City (Agusan del Norte). In the late months of that year, I heard over the radio that the Department of Agrarian Reform was in need of technical staff for a World Bank- financed settlement projects in Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Capiz. I was interested to apply for a job because the project I was involved in was about to be completed. After hearing that news, I took my time to apply in the Agrarian Reform’s Office in Davao City where I was told hat those who will be taken will finally have their interview and examination at the Central Office of the Department in Quezon City. I was lucky to be chosen and therefore have to go to Manila for the final interview and examination.

After two days, I was informed that I passed the interview (a panel of World Bank’s consultants) and topped the examination. I was a part of those twenty selected technical staff to be deployed to the settlement areas. I preferred to be assigned in Agusan del Sur because I was already familiar with the place.

Prior to our deployment, we had a courtesy call with Minister Conrado F. Estrella for final briefing and to get acquainted with the new staff of the “special project” of the Department. That courtesy call was very memorable to me because after I introduced myself to him and said that I came from Villasis, Pangasinan, he instructed me to wait for him after the meeting.

When every one has already left his office, we had a one-on-one talk in which he advised me to be wary in the place where I was assigned to, being a NPA area. He even asked me that when I will be called for a meeting in the main office of the department, I will personally report to him the real situation in the settlement area. It was then a special order from the top official of agrarian reform, that most of my co-workers at that time had been calling me “ Estrella’s nino bonito”- a moniker I enjoyed most since I was looked up to by my colleagues and peers with envy and a semblance of being an “untouchable”.

In between 1979 up to 1985 whenever Minister Estrella had visits in the settlement areas-Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Capiz, I was called to be a part of the entourage to meet him. And in many programs, I was responsible of the entertainment portion (I formed a singing group) in which we sang “Malinac lay Labi” and “Naraniag a Bulan” – two popular Pangasinans folk songs that I was told were among his favorites. That association with the “great man” was short lived in 1986 when President Ferdinand E. Marcos was ousted in power through the EDSA people power.

When Cory Aquino assumed her presidency, I left the Agrarian Reform. I was told that Minister Estrella was still offered to handle Agrarian Reform but he declined out of “delicadeza”. Since then, I had no contact with him as he was busy with his new work as I also was. After many years of not seeing him, I had the chance to meet him during the inauguration SM City Rosales in 2008 and last year during the opening of Robert B. Estrella Sr. Memorial Stadium in Rosales. What I admired most of him was that he could still remember me and called me by my first name. What I liked most about Minister Estrella was his boyish smile which charmed people who approached him. That “boyish smile” was inherited by his grandson- former 6th Distict Rep. Conrad M. Estrella III.

My minister/secretary and governor is gone. He is now at the “pearly gates of heaven.” He has joined the Creator after serving the people with utmost sincerity and dedication. His life’s journey on earth was very colorful and meaningful. He had sustained a “ clean image and name” in the government service.

Yes, Conrado F. Estrella is gone but had not faded away from us. He was one of the best sons of Pangasinan – an honor and pride. I am also proud of having met him in his earthly and hoping to go with him again in another journey someday.

To his family, please accept my personal condolences.

(for comments, email me at

June 9, 2011 at 4:23 am Leave a comment

No to Awai as garbage bin of Dagupan— De Vera

“Hinding-hindi mangyayari na maging basurahan tayo dito sa San Jacinto!” said Mayor Robert de Vera on the issue of the proposed use of Barangay Awai as sanitary landfill for Dagupan City.

He expressed his opposition on the said plan during the launching of Palay Check Program for Farmers in Barangay Labney, San Jacinto last week.

One casual employee in the Department of Agriculture in San Jacinto who lives in that Fernandez area in Awai, agreed, saying: Ayaw po naming gawing basurahan ang Awai!

The same sentiment was echoed by Councilor Rosalie Ellasus, who even promised to rally the entire residents of San Jacinto to oppose the project. “Even if the dumpsite is a modern one, we would still not agree to it. The site is located in an upland area and there’s a clear danger that it will pollute the river system and our lowlands,” she said.

Ellasus, a known environmentalist, is the first recipient of Kleckner Trade and Technology Advancement Award at Iowa, USA in 2001 during the World Food Prize. She was also SM Megamall- Rosales’ awardee as “Globay Pinoy” last year for her environmental efforts.

It is recalled that in 1992, the Lim administration bought a 33-hectare lot in Awai to serve as sanitary landfill for Dagupan. This was not realized however due to scandals that marred the project.

With the new opposition to the plan, it seems that the 16 million-peso investment by the Dagupan government has vanished for naught.

June 9, 2011 at 4:05 am Leave a comment

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