Showing posts from March, 2014

The Business of What if? A missing tooth, amazing plan

MANILA: As I begin to write this, Friday, 28 March 2014, we are in the village of Lasip in Malasiqui, Pangasinan in Central Luzon, Philippines; we are on our 3rd day and 3rd ARBO business plan finalization visits, after Rissing Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Bangar, La Union on Wednesday afternoon, and after San Jose MPC in Caba, La Union on Thursday. We are working as consultants under the ARCCESS Project of the Department of Agrarian Reform. ARCCESS is the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services project for the farmers whom the DAR prefers to call the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs); DAR wants the ARBs to be economically better off, to learn market-oriented farming, along the way to decide for themselves. Farmers or ARBs, following the DAR's initiative, we should want all farmers to be market-oriented. Unless you want them to be poor forever.Farmers market-oriented? Look, so far in our 6 months of teaching (and learning) from the ARBs in several t…

Fr Suarez' MonteMaria. San Miguel donation from heart, or pocket?

MANILA: Monday, 24 March 2014, we were blessed with the presence of Roman Catholic "healing priest" Fr Fernando Suarez late afternoon to evening at the covered court in Batong Malake, a village in Los Baños, Laguna. While we waited at the wings, a friend and I talked about the Mary Mother of the Poor (MMP) Foundation of Fr Suarez and the donation of 33 hectares in Cavite that now San Miguel wanted to get back, claiming that certain conditions had not been met by the MMP as agreed. In that case, my friend and I both agreed that, after all is said and done, it turns out that what San Miguel did was donate from the pocket, not from the heart. If so, we would not be surprised if what goes out of San Miguel's left pocket goes into his right pocket! It certainly is biblical that you shouldn't let your left hand know what your right hand does. So, we were praying that millions of Roman Catholics in the Philippines will be praying that San Miguel changes his mind about un-…

Know Your Rights. Water as the 5th Right in Agriculture

MANILA: The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) makes much of what is called "4R Nutrient Stewardship Concept" in nutrient management (Tom Bruulsema, "Presentation on Know Your Fertilizer Rights Nutrient Stewardship Concept," 03 October 2012, Tom is the North America Northeast Region Director of IPNI; the presentation was made before the American Society of Agronomy on 10 June 2009 and is downloadable as a pdf. Since that time, the presentation has become the first article in a 5-part series from the IPNI titled "Know Your Fertilizer Rights" sponsored by The Fertilizer Institute and the Canadian Fertilizer Institute, "based on fertilizer best management practices structured around the '4R' nutrient stewardship concept." It's time we knew more about these Other 4 Rights of Man.Under the Nutrient Stewardship Concept of Nutrient Management, the so-called 4 Rights are: the Right Source in the Right Form at the Right…

A Writer's Choice. If I didn't read F Sionil Jose

MANILA: I loved his Pretenders and I must have read it when it was newly published, in 1962. Nowadays, just once in a while I do a very quick look at his Hindsight column in The Philippine Star, but today's content, "Rosales and Pangasinan: Roots – why they matter" (17 March 2014,, is extra special to me. Because F Sionil here talks about his province, which is also my province; about his province of writing, which is also my province; about his province of languages, which is also my province; and about his province of social justice, which is not my province. "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" (Matthew 9: 13, NRSV). F Sionil was born in Rosales; I was born in Asingan, 2 towns away. His beloved Rosales is now a booming town while my beloved Asingan is still a sleepy one, no thanks to either of us. His grandfather came from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur while my grandfather on my father side came from Rosario, La Union. He refers to his Rosales village as iren…

Can farmers learn business planning? A feasibility study

ARAMAL, SAN FABIAN: Here is Saturnino Distor, General Manager of the Aramal-Tocok Multi-Purpose Cooperative of San Fabian, Pangasinan yesterday, Saturday, 15 March 2014, speaking at the conclusion of the 11-module training program we have been conducting since August 2013 for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) in La Union and Pangasinan. GM Distor is talking about our consultancy services for common service facilities (CSF) for production & processing, agri-technology and agri-extension services within the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) Project of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). For all that language, UMIC's part of Project ARCCESS is market-oriented, meaning the farmers must produce and process for the market and profit from all that.Specifically, GM Distor is talking about the 3-day Workshop on Cooperative Business Planning held at the ATI Training Center in Santa Barbara on 26-28 February 2014. We of …

Recalling Aquino. Miriam-Defensor Santiago, Social Media Guru

MANILA: As ever, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is once again a revelation we can believe in. At least, I can. Ms Nonconformist, meet Mr Original Aboriginal.Today, I want to marry Lito Yap David, the lone slingshot crusader, with Ms Miriam, the lone ranger crusader. I go to Facebook once in a while and I have noticed quite a few times Lito Yap David earnestly campaigning for the ouster or removal from office or, at the very least replacement, of President Noynoy Aquino. And he wants it now! He says:I wish I could put it in a way really reflective of how I feel about Noynoy Aquino. An entire generation of bright young people was lost because of martial law while in the current case I feel that 3 generations of our people (are) about to be written off, burned (out) and wasted all because we again put an uncaring Aquino to power. He then quotes like-minded former Senator Kit Tatad as saying (10 March 2014, desolate national landscape is something we owe ent…

CSI Batangas. UPLB isn't using its coconut. Are we using ours?

MANILA: How aware is the #1 University of Agriculture in the Philippines when it comes to the big issues of agriculture? I'm not aware that it's aware, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I know UP uniquely enjoys academic freedom, but this isn't academic!

On 16 February 2012, Agham Party-List Rep Angelo Palmones warned that some 43,389 coconut trees in 7 towns in Batangas had already been damaged by coconut scale insects (Jazmin S Camero, Palmones said in his privilege speech:

Combating the raging coconut infestation needs support and immediate action. The fear of a widespread infestation, if not contained and stopped is real. Provinces in nearby Batangas Province, like Laguna and Quezon are likely to catch the infestation.
There was no immediate action. Several months later, the Inquirer reported that those insect pests had destroyed more coconut trees in Batangas (Marrah Erika Lesaba, 8 June 2012, It's the same co…

Reverse Overseas Filipino Workers. Virtual Assistants conquering the world

MANILA: Many Philippine nationalists don't realize this, but the US conquered us Filipinos with American English 100 years ago; today, you may not have noticed, but this puny country of ours already has begun conquering the world with American English. In fact, the conquest started 13 years ago, and it's global in scale. Will Manuel Luis Quezon turn in his grave?

Thinking local and acting local, Pinoy nationalists have always insisted on a Tagalog-based national language, and I have always insisted on an English-based national language for the Philippines. More than 50 years ago, in the late 1960s, during those radical years at the University of the Philippines, on campus my fellow alumni activists would speak in Tagalog and I would speak in English. I always felt at ease reading, writing and speaking in English, since high school. I wasn't thinking of colonialism, only of communication.

Now I'm thinking of call centers in the Philippines where your English is as good …