Category Archives: Bulan Eco-Park

Message of Mayor Helen C. De Castro

Submitted on 2009/10/12 at 3:42am

NOTE: This message was delivered during the Opening Program of the 6th Pista sa Kabubudlan, held on October 9-10, 2009, at the Bulan Ecopark, Barangay Calomagon.

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Helen De Castro  “Dios marhay na hapun tabi sa iyo entero.

Dako-dako na onra nan kaugmahan na i-welcome ko na naman kamo entero sa ika-unom na pagselebrar ta san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan o Feast of the Mountains. Ini na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan sayo na na institutionalized event didi sa ato bungto.

Sa sulod sin nakaagi na lima kataon, luway-luway na inbag-o ta ini na lugar, nan luway-luway na inpatalubo ta an mga puno sin kahoy na ato intaranum. Niyan imud ta na an bunga san ato kapagalan. Ini na Ecopark sayo na espeho o panalmingan san mga gusto ta ikontribuer o idanun para sa kaayadan san kapalibutan ta.

Pero, gusto ko tabi kamo padumdumun na ini na inhihimo ta dire ini dapat nagtatapos sa pagtanum ta lang sin puno didi sa Ecopark. Para sa ako, an katuyuhan sini na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan an magtukdo, an mag-edukar, an maghikayat sin sayo na adbokasiya o awareness para pagmakulugan ta an kapalibutan ta.

San nakaagi na semana, entero kita nakabalita san nangyari sa Metro Manila. Makamumundo an epekto sadto na pag-uran nan pagbaha. Nan hasta niyan, dire pa nag-uudong an pag-uran sa Northern Luzon. Dara tabi ini sin Climate Change na epekto san Global Warming.

An sabi san mga scientists tabi, na puwera san tama na pagtapuk basura, an pinakasolusyun talaga sa Global Warming an ibalik ta an mga puno sa kinab-an. Na kaipuhan magtanum, magtanum, magtanum kirita puno.

An activity ta didi sa Ecopark dapat idara ta sa iba na lugar, o mismo sa mga natad o lugar nato. Kaya ngane. Otrohon ko tabi na an Fiesta sa Kabubudlan is more of an advocacy, an educational venture, creating an awareness among us of the need to preserve Mother Earth. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the next generation after us. We are stewards of God’s creation, of Mother Earth. Magiging kumpleto lamang tabi an kaogmahan ko bilang mao an nagbatug sini na Ecopark nan Fiesta sa Kabubudlan kun maimud ko na insasabuhay na san kada taga- Bulan an tunay na pagmakulog sa kapalibutan.

Sa sulod sin lima na kataun na pagselebrar, naimud ko tabi an pambihira na pag responde san mga taga-Bulan sa panawagan ko na mag-atender kamo sini na Fiesta Sa Kabubudlan. Nan naimud ko tabi an pambihira na entusiasmo san manlaen-laen na sector san bungto ta, lalo na an mga kabatan-an. Dahil sini, dire masukol an pagpasalamat ko sa kada sayo sa iyo. Nan gusto ko tabi maintindihan san kada sayo na ini na aktibidad, binatugan ko lang, pero wara iba na mapadagus kundi karamu, kirita entero, dahilan sa nakasalalay sa kada sayo sa ato, sa ato entero na tawo, an puturo san ato kinab-an.

Sayo sa gusto ko ibalita sa iyo na san September 30, an Ecopark an napili na Regional Winner sa Brigada Ahensiya Search san Civil Service Commission. Inkikilala na tabi an Fiesta sa Kabubudlan dire lang didi sa bungto ta kundi maski sa iba na lugar didi sa Probinsiya ta, nan sa Rehiyon Bikol. Nan dahil sa internet , naniwala ako tabi na maabut an panahun makikilala an mga taga-Bulan dahil sa inhihimo ta niyan, nan para sa kapalibutan ta. Makikilala nira na an mga taga-Bulan maaram magmakulog nan magpasalamat sa biyaya san Mahal na Diyos sa ato nan ini lalanganan o hihirutan ta. Kaugmahan ko sabihun na didi sa Bikol kita lang an may-on sin irog sini na institutionalized event.

Gamitun ko man tabi ini na oportunidad na pasalamatan an mga bisita ta na maging parte san ato aktibidad. Nagparagal sira na makaabut didi sa Bulan nan didi sa Ecopark.

May manlaen-laen kita na aktibidades niyan na adlaw nan lalo na an tree-planting activity sa aga. Makisumayo kamo sa amo, magpartisipar tabi kamo, nan iudok niyo sa boot niyo an hihimuon ta. Kaupod sa pagtanum ta an pagkamoot, sinseridad, pag-asa nan pagpasalamat. Ihuring ta sa mga puno na itatanum ta, nan sa ingud na tatanuman ta na dire kita nalilimut sa pagpasalamat sa Mahal na Diyos. Nan ihuring ta sa hangin niyan, nan ipaabut sa Mahal na Dios, nan sa mga nilalang niya, sa mga bayong, sa mga panganuron, na hihimuon ta an obligasyon ta para maging mapresko gihapun an kapalibutan. Ihuring ta sa puso ta, na nagtutubod ako sa hihimuon ko niyan para sa kapalibutan, nan pagbaba ko sa bulod na ini, dara ko an aspirasyun sin pakisumayo sa kapalibutan, nan ibabalangibog ko sa bilog na komunidad yuon na pag-asa nan aspirasyun.

Sa entero na huyaa niyan, nan pati na sa mga maabut pa taud-taud o sa aga, inpapaabut ko tabi an pasalamat sa kada sayo sa iyo. Mabuhay po an kada taga-Bulan, mabuhay kirita entero.

Happy Fiesta sa Kabubudlan! Salamat, Dios mabalos.”  //

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Submitted on 2009/10/12 at 3:39am

       Ecopark

THOUSANDS TURNED UP FOR BULAN “FEAST OF THE MOUNTAINS 2009” CELEBRATION

Bulan, Sorsogon, October 10, 2009:

 “Grabe an tawo! Gulpi an tawo niyan! Mas daghan niyan kaysa last year!” Overwhelming! It was the Woodstock, Bulan Version! These were the remarks heard from organizers, media reporters, traffic enforcers and observers as thousands of Bulan citizens turned up to attend various activities in celebration of, and in response to the call of Mayor Helen De Castro to, the 2009 Fiesta sa Kabubudlan (Feast of the Mountains) held on October 9-10, at the Bulan Ecopark in Barangay Calomagon. This is the sixth year of this kind since the Lady Mayor started it all in 2004. Observers estimate that over eight thousand people came to the celebration. An average of five thousand people used to come to the Ecopark celebration during the last five years. But this time even the parking lots were more than jampacked and authorities have to locate a new site for the vehicles.

As early as Thursday, a day before formal activities were to begin, groups of young people were already setting up camps and pitching tents, even as LGU organizers were making final preparations for the busy two days ahead. Enterprising citizens , with their panindas, were already busy selling goods to the early comers.

By Friday morning, a steady stream of vehicles and people, some hiking, braving the dust, made way to the Ecopark, about seven kilometers away from the town center. It was a good and busy day for many tricycle drivers fetching passengers. This went on until midnight. Traffic was busiest between 3:00 PM until ten in the evening.

Young and old, students and teachers, barangay officials tugging along their residents, boys and girls scouts, families, along with their children, even babies and toddlers, visitors from the neighboring towns of Juban, Matnog and Irosin came. Groups of youngsters from barangays Casini and San Agustin, in Irosin registered their attendance. As of eight in the evening, registration officers already recorded 156 groups and organizations. Many more were coming and many others missed the registration. An Israeli tourist came and stayed during the festivities. Tents and huts soon filled up the designated camping area. The camp area already filled up, many decided to pitch their tents, even in undesignated areas. One teacher commented that , “ Baga ini an Family Day, a Youth Day, an Environmentalist’s Day all rolled into one.”

Traffic Safety officers, with the assistance of police interns from the Solis Institute of Technology, Barangay Tanods and other volunteers were kept busy all throughout. Police authorites from the Bulan Municipal Police Station and the 509th PPMG kept the peace and order. The Rural Health Unit First Aid Team and the Bulan Rescue Team were on hand to assist people in need. The LGU ambulance stood nearby. The Kabalikat Civicom, and other civic groups like BANWA, BEAT and Uswag-Bulan, were on hand to extend assistance to the participants. The Bulan Fil-Chinese Volunteers Fire Brigade did their share by keeping the roads watered and freed off dust near the Ecopark. Despite the stream of vehicles traveling back and forth the site, not a single accident or untoward incident was recorded. Everything went according to public order and safety plans.

After lunch, even before the Opening Ceremonies, the organizers already conducted the “Laro ng Lahi” contests like Palosebo, Tubi-Tubi-ay, and other local and traditional games.

At the Opening Program, municipal officials led by Mayor Helen De Castro,together with Vice-Mayor Manuel Gogola and the Sangguniang Bayan Members, formally declared the Fiesta open. The Governor sent her representative, Dr. Librada Esplana. The speakers spoke on the need to avert Global Warming and Climate Change, and the tragic experiences from calamities as a result of unwanton destruction of the environment. Mayor De Castro exhorted the participants that before they were to plant the seedlings the next day, they have to offer prayers of hope and, thanksgiving to God. She said that this environment activity should not end with the tree-planting activity, but rather, participants should, when they come down the Ecopark, bring along with them that aspiration and desire to help Mother Earth, by planting trees anywhere they can, especially in their own backyard. She said that this environment activity is more of an advocacy, a movement, an educational venture on the ecology. Cultural numbers were also presented. The “Fiesta sa Kabubudlan” March or Theme Song, written and composed by Mr. Edwin Gloriane, was played for the first time. Once legislated, this shall be the official song of the annual celebration.

Mayor Benito Doma of Prieto-Diaz town and Visitors from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Los Banos came. They gave lectures and workshops to the Bulan audience. Mayor Doma, an awardee-mayor, lectured on Mangrove Reforestation , while the DOST researchers, Dr. Emelyne Cortiguerra and Mr. Eduard Bonong, gave lectures and demos on charcoal bricketting, an alternative form of livelihood, instead of cutting trees for charcoal. It was attended by members from NGO’s and cooperatives in Bulan.

In the evening, a pageant in search of the “Diyosa ng Kalikasan” was conducted. It focused on awareness for the environment. Also named were the “Diwata ng Hangin”, “Diwata ng Tubig”, “Diwata ng Kabundukan”. Seven beautiful contestants represented their schools. Winner as Diyosa ng Kalikasan was Lily-Ann Gaton of Alcoba National HS. Named as Diwatas were Patricia Molina of SLI-KRAMS, Jeneza Bon of JP Laurel HS, and Margie Mirabel of Magic 5 Organization. In order to participate in this pageant, the representative had to register by way of contributing twenty seedlings to the organizers. The gowns donned by the contestants were from recycled indigenous materials.

After the pageant search, a ten-minute fireworks display wowed the entire camp. A disco-dancing, attended by hundreds of people followed. It went on until dawn of the next day. Even as other activities were going on, every place in the Ecopark was filled with people just enjoying, singing, strolling, playing, or promenading. The clear moonlit sky even brightened the celebration.

At 6:30 o’clock on Saturday, a Holy Mass of Thanksgiving, presided by the Bulan Parish Priest, Fr. Ernie Mendina, was celebrated. Mayor Helen de Castro and the municipal officials, employees and the participants were in attendance.

The highlight of the celebration, the tree-planting activity after the Holy Mass was a rare experience to many, even emotional and poignant, as adults overhear children and youngsters, heeding the appeal of Mayor De Castro, whispering to the plants and to the soil, and praying, as they plant their seedlings. One Boy Scout was overheard, “ Sana tabi mawara na an mga baha sa Bulan.” Another, “Please tabi, ayaw na pagpabagyuha sa Pilipinas, kay kairuman san mga Pilipino!” Another girl, prayed, “Sige ha, pagbalik namo otro taun kisyera maimud ko ikaw na dako na na puno.” The more than one-hectare land prepared for planting by the MENRO and the GSO was not enough space for planting, as other participants simply helped together carefully handle one seedling to be planted. It became more of a symbolic action to many, even as they promised to instead plant trees in their own communities. The organizers did not expect nor anticipate the great increase in the number of participants this year. They promised a bigger planting areas next year. The garbage site-turned Ecopark is a 14.5-hectare lot donated by the late Ambassador Tomas G. De Castro, uncle-in-law of Mayor De Castro.

After the Tree-planting activity, a kite-flying contest was conducted. Twelve beautiful kites, expertly crafted by members of the competing groups, were pitted against each other. The winner was from Team Barangay Inararan, led by Team Leader Robert Cadag. They won P2,000. Runners-up were from Team Barangay Zone 8, and Team Danao National High School.

Even as the majority of the attendees already packed up by midday, many others opted to stay a little longer to enjoy the surroundings of the camp. Mayor De Castro and the employees thanked everybody and she personally saw to it that everybody was safely on the way home upon leaving camp. The campers enthusiastically promised Mayor de Castro that they shall continue cooperating with her leadership and programs even as they profusedly thanked her for the great and unique experience, and that they anticipate a bigger celebration next year. The Mayor also thanked the municipal employees for the excellent, accident-free and peaceful celebration. Of particular mention, the Mayor acknowledged the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources under Ms. Kelly Tan, the foremost department involved in the organization of the event. She noted of the professionalism and devotion to work of the municipal employees who helped her achieve a goal in public service, even as she emphasized that this is an unending crusade to save the environment.

All the four Bulan radio stations gave full coverage to the event. Thus giving the other citizens all over Bulan a chance to monitor everything that was taking place in the Ecopark. //

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Filed under Bulan Developments, Bulan Eco-Park, Mayor Helen De Castro - LGU Bulan, Town Agenda

BULAN TOWN GIRDS FOR PISTA SA KABUBUDLAN 2009

by Tonyboy-PIO

September 1, 2009 at 10:22 am

Bulan, Sorsogon – In what appears to be the biggest gathering of participants thus far, the Local Government Unit, through the Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) are now preparing for the forthcoming Pista sa Kabubudlan 2009 to be held at the Bulan Ecological Park (Ecopark) on the first Friday and Saturday of October.

Several thousands of participants from all walks of life, especially from the youth sector, the schools, the barangays and from different organizations and sectors, will once more troop to Barangay Calomagon where the Ecopark is located to participate in different ecological activites, to be highlighted by a massive tree planting event in the 14.5 hectare-area.

This will be the fifth consecutive time this event is held since it was first launched in 2005 by the incumbent Mayor Helen C. De Castro, one of whose programs was on Environment Preservation and Protection.

The event will feature several festive activities which include environment film-showings, ecology seminars on recycling and re-use, concerts, disco-dancing, overnight camping, a Holy Mass and other religious activities, a Mutya ng Kalikasan Search, Laro ng Lahi, games and funfare, and the Tree-planting activity.

This year, several government agencies outside of Bulan, including Mayors from other towns will come to observe the Pista.

The Pista sa Kabubudlan and the Ecopark are part of the Mayor’s Environment Programs. The Ecopark was once a garbage site and the mayor was responsible for converting it to an Ecopark. Now it is part of the DILG Replication Program or GO-FAR Program for other LGUs to follow.

Bulan Town has been a consistent recipient of many awards and recognitions for its novel and trailblazing environment programs, among them the Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran, as National Finalist from 1996-1999, Saringgaya Awards in 2007, Outstanding LGU for Solid Waste Mangement Program in 2008 and as GO-FAR Model LGU in 2008.

The MENRO is responsible for preparing all the activities for this year’s Pista. (PIO-Bulan)

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Filed under Announcement, Bulan Eco-Park, Environment, Mayor Helen De Castro - LGU Bulan

The Way To Bulan Eco-Park

By: jun asuncion +* LGU- Bulan Mayor Helen De Castro and Tony Boy Gilana

 

We have taken all these photos by ourselves on that sultry summer morning last April 2009.  As I was sorting out the photos for this documentary article, I realized that I couldn’t provide myself  the necessary informative captions for each photo.  So I called up Mayor Helen De Castro and asked her if she could help provide the needed information. I caught her right in the middle of a meeting about H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) but she was really  kind enough to listen to my concerns and promised she would send Bulan Observer the materials. I also knew how busy her team was at this point because of the upcoming town Fiesta. So it took awhile, but we have patience for good things.

The purpose of this little documentary is to give readers of  Bulan Observer especially those who are away from home a visual tour of the Bulan Eco-Park so that they will have a concrete image of it. Interestingly enough, my own mental picture of the Eco-Park before my visit did not diverge far from the real picture of it – at least as far as I could roam around and shoot photos and videos of it. Lack of a guide and time prevented me from exploring the whole park for it is really big.

Now, with the additional captions written in our Bulan dialect and other article-related substantial information in English sent by LGU-Bulan, it is practically a guided tour as you go from one photo to the next. The added facts and updates  at the end of the report will  round up your knowledge about the park. So enjoy your way to Bulan Eco-Park!  jun asuncion

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It was a nice April morning when we drove to  Calomagon  to visit the BulanEco-Park. It’s not far from the center of the town. After Somagonsong  we found the signboard on the left side. We were excited and took photos along the way to -and from the Eco-Park. (For your sound as you travel, click the first photo and then minimize your media player)

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 A local Kiosk with young bystanders just passing the time, curios-looking eyes to passing strangers.

 

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  Yet friendly and smiling faces.

 

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 Turn left again to a long and winding – and rough road, naturally.

 

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 Here’s the road in front of us, looking  quite and deserted, windless day, indeed a calm before the storm.

 

 

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 (A quarry pit over there?)

Photo No. 6:

*Mao tabi ini an inkukuwaan ta baras na pangtahob ta sa mga basura saato dumpsite. Regular (weekly) tabi na in-uusong, hinuhulog san heavy equipment unit an basura sa bangin. Pakahulog tabi, tatahuban ini san baras (soil cover).

 

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Looking like a natural gate marking the border to another town.

 

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 Coconut plantation, an almost magical ambiance, like an oil painting from afar, palm leaves silvery and shining.

 

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 Here we are, the Welcome signboard.

 

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The certiicate of recognition to our Mayor De Castro  for excellence in environmental governance on Solid waste Management.

 

 

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 A symbol for natural harmony- at least the way I see it.

 

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Photo No. 12:

*Mao tabi ini an demo garden para saurbanagriculture o container gardening. Laom tabi sini na maipaimod sa mga tawo na sa halip na itapok an mga old containers o butangan (plastic, empty milk cans, platic cups, sako, nan iba pa) sa basurahan, pwede pa tabi ini gamiton bilang plant pots para sa mga ornamentals nan gulay). Intended/designed tabi ini lalo na sa mga urban areas o poblacion areas kun haen limitado o wara na tabi lugar para pagtanuman.

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Photo No. 13:

*Parte tabi ini san kampanya san Lokal na Gobyerno sa pag-implementar san waste segregation

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 A cow discretely resting beside a bahay kubo, seems to be observing us.

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Photo No. 15:

*Mao tabi ini an istruktura kun haen tabi naka locate an Materials Recovery Facility. Pagsakat tabi sin trak para magtapok basura, didi muna tabi ihuhulog an mga basura na puede pa pakinabangan nan ipabakal. Ini tabi na istruktura, hinati sa tolo na kuwarto (Lecture Room, Materials Recovery Facility, Ecology Center).

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Photo No. 16.

*Lecture Room. Didi tabi inhihimo an briefing o orientation sa mga bisita (LGU, estudyante, empleyado, o grupo na interesado maaraman an programa san Municipio sa Solid Waste Management) sa Ecopark. Didi man tabi inhihimo an demo san paghimo san mga manalaen-laen na activators para sa composting.

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Photo No. 17.

“An sulod tabi san Lecture Room

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Photo No. 18.

*Mao tabi ini an section para sa Materials Recovery Facility.

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Photo No. 19:

*Mao man tabi ini an section para sa Ecology Center. Showcase room tabi ini para sa mga recycled products, information, nan mga pictures/documentation san programa sa Solid Waste Management.

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Photo No. 20:

*An nasa left side tabi na structure, sayo po sa mga rest areas o cottages sa Ecopark. An sa right side tabi, mao an vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility. Sa sulod man tabi sini nafacility an shredding area kun haen naka takod po an shredder.

An vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility tabi, sayo na proseso san composting kun haen an ginagamit tabi ulod. Sa Ecopark tabi, an species tabi na may-on, mao an African nightcrawler. Pinapakaon tabi ini na mga ulod sin shredded na mga nabubulok na basura (market waste, grass clippings, etc.), an manure tabi nira, mao an produkto san composting. Mao man tabi ini an ginagahoy na vermicompost na pwede gamiton bilang soil conditioner o fertilizer sa mga tinanom.

An kulay blue tabi, mao an sayo sa duwa na tanke tabi san tubi sa Ecopark na ginagamit pangsaribo sa mga tinanom nan sa operation san MRFnan composting facilities.

An kahiwasan tabi na nasa letrato, mao an inkokonduktaran san mga programa sa Ecopark pareho san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan (film showing, games, concert, disco, nan iba pa).

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Photo No. 21:

*Mao tabi ini an tanke san tubi sa Ecopark. Ini tabi na inguguyod na tanke, mao tabi an nagdadara san tubi sa Ecopark

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Photo No. 22:

*Mga nakasako tabi ini na mga nabubulok na basura (balat nan iba pa na parte san prutas nan gulay, dahon, buto, nan iba pa) na hale sa Public Market. Ini tabi kukuwaon san in-charge sa composting facility para darahon sa shredding area para gilingon, paaguihon sa 2 weeks na anaerobic decomposition saka ipapakaon sa mga ulod.

Maiimod tabi sa upper left side san letrato an shredder. Sa upper right side naman tabi, an mga composting beds o vermi beds.

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Photo No. 23:

*Mao tabi ini an mga tanom na puno san gmelina (about 2 years old). Sa likod tabi ini san vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility.

May-on man tabi didi sin hukay (0.75m x 0.75m x 0.50m) na pag nag-uuran, nabubutangan tubi. Ini tabi nakukuwaan man tubi pangsaribo sa mga tinanom nan compost piles sa likod..

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Photo No. 24:

*Mao tabi ini an vermiculture nan vermicomposting beds. Kapag an shredded na basura tabi na binutang sa bed, halos puro manure na tabi san ulod, ibubutang na tabi ini na mga sako na may laman na fresh (although nag-agui na tabi ini sa 2-week na anaerobic decomposition process) na pagkaon para sa mga ulod. Mao tabi ini an paagui para makuwa an mga ulod nan mabalyo sa iba naman na beds.

Ini tabi na mga manure na, hahayaan mun-a tabi for 1 month sa lugar para maka-recover pa sin mga baby worms sa bed. After 1 month, pwede na tabi ini sakuhon nan i-stock sa bodega.

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Photo No. 25:

*Mao tabi inian shredding machine na ginagamit sa shredding process. Sini-shred tabi an mga basura para mas madali malupa nan makaon san mga ulod.

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Photo No. 26:

*An inkukuwaan tabi letrato san photographer mao tabian tree planting site san naka-agui na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan 2008. Sa left side tabi sini na lugar, mao man an campsite.

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Photo No. 27:

*Mao tabi ini an close up picture san demo garden para saurbanagriculture o container gardening. An bubong tabi sini mao an pakanapan para sa ampalaya, karabasa, nan iba pa na nagkakanap na tinanom. Maiimod tabi an mga lata, sako nan plastic cups.

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Photo No. 28:

*Sa sulod tabi ini san urban agriculture demo garden. Talong tabi ini na nasa sako. Pina-paimod lang tabi na an mga sako san semento, pwede man gamiton na patubuan san gulay/tinanom.

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Photo No. 29:

*Sa sulod man tabi ini san urban agriculture demo garden. Mga kamatis tabi ini na nasa sako man san semento. An kawayan tabi sa taas san tinanom, mao an pakanapan.

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Photo No. 30:

*Sa sulod man tabi ini san urban agriculture demo garden. Manlaen-laen tabi na gulay an nakatanom didi sa mga sako.

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Photo No. 31:

*Tanuman man tabi ini na kawayan. Naka-design lang tabi siya na A-Frame. An mga irog tabi sini, pwede ibutang sa mga roof top san balay.

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Photo No. 32:

*Signage tabi ini san Opisina.

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Photo No. 33:

*Mao tabi ini an Ecopark Office. Nagsisirbi man tabi ini stock room san Ecopark.

 

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Photo No. 34:

*Signage tabi pakadto sa Campsite. Kaupod tabi sa letrato an mga Acacia mangium trees (about 1 ½ years old).

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Photo No. 35:

*Pathway pakadto tabi sa rest areas o cottages. Maiimod man tabi an mga puno san Gmelina arborea nan Acacia mangium sa palibot.

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Photo No. 36:

*Pathway pakadto tabi sa campsite

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Photo No. 37:

*Sayo sa mga rest areas/cottages. Kada rest area tabi, may signboard manungod sa solid waste management / waste segregation to inform the park goers about the policy of the LGU.

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Photo No. 38:

*An sayo pa tabi sa duwa na tanke san tubi sa Ecopark. Naka-locate man tabi ini harane sa bungad san Ecopark. Inbubutangan man tabi ini tubi para pangsaribo man sa mga tinanom na nakatanom sa parte na ini san Ecopark.

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 Driving back after a relaxing time inside the park.

 

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A good segment of the road, smooth driving.

 

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 This time a quintet of Calomagon boys. I’m very happy to see them as they look very natural, uncontaminated and safe from the dangers of  too much civilization.

 

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Towards the end of our journey before the exit to the town, a nipa hut  surrounded by flowering birds of paradise! They would cost a fortune in Europe.

 

If you would see the Eco-park as it is, it is surely a big accomplishment for our local government knowing that it is also a place where environmental agendas are being held every year. I would be very glad to see the Feast Of the Mountains, or to attend a lecture or workshop on solid waste management or global warming. How about a Music Festival- or a Jazz Festival? My own fantasy, as I walked on the ground of  Bulan Eco-park with my mind filled with ideas on how it could be improved  with time as Bulan progresses.

I would have wished it was a guided tour when I was there so that I could ask questions about things that were not clear for me. Maybe next time I would have this privilege. One thing that would make you happy are the young trees planted all over the Campsite and the well-kept paths. I wanted to know the names of the trees so I suggest that they’d be written in their local and scientific names. Included would be short information about each specific tree like distribution, importance to Bulan ecology, status ( endangered or not yet), etc.

I haven’t seen a source of drinking  water like a faucet , a well, water pump or  a grilling area , a multi-functional pavilion, garbage cans, a toilet and wash room for Park visitors. And I haven’t seen anybody there- except for a cow behind the signboard which says “Waste Segregation Suportado San KadaBulaneño”. Was that cow segregating also her waste? Cows by the way are one of the biggest culprits of this global warming. /  jun asuncion

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*LGU-Bulan Mayor Helen De Castro and Tony Boy Gilana

ANSWERS TO OTHER QUERIES OF MR. ASUNCION:

1. SPECIES OF FOREST TREES PLANTED AT THE ECOPARK:

Gmelina arborea (Gmelina) – exotic

Acacia mangium (Mangium) – exotic

Acacia auriculiformis (Acacia auri) – exotic

Swietenia Macrophylla (Big Leaf Mahogany) – exotic

 

Tinanom tabi ini na species maski aram ta na exotic tabi ini sa dahilan na ini tabi, fast growing kaya sa panahon tabi na nagbabatog pa lang an pag-develop san Ecopark, kaipuhan tabi shade. Although exotic tabi, widely distributed naman na tabi siya sa Pilipinas for how many years.

Pterocarpus indicus (Narra)

Albizia saman (Acacia, Rain Tree)

Leucaena leucocephala (Ipil-ipil)

Fruit trees:

Artocarpus heterophyllus (Langka)

Mangifera indica (Mango)

Carica papaya (Papaya)

Annona squamosa (Atemoya)

Canarium ovatum (Pili)

Cocos nucifera (Coconut)

Theobroma cacao (Cacao)

Ornamentals:

Gumamela

Mac Arthur Palm

Yellow Bell

Bougainvillea

Senyas

Santan

2. SOURCE OF DRINKING WATER / FAUCET / WELL / WATER PUMP /

GRILLING AREA

None yet, pero may plano na.

3. MULTI-FUNCTIONAL PAVILION SA ECOPARK

Sa niyan, an ginagamit lang tabi na area para sa mga activities, an kahiwasan san lugar na kahampang san vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility. Nagbubutang tabi stage nan big tents kun may mga lecture, demonstrations, programs, etc.

4. Garbage cans

Dire tabi kami nagbubutang san basurahan sa mga rest areas o cottages dahilan sa ini-encourage namo na paghale san mga park goers sa cottages, dara tabi nira an basura nira para ibutang sa garbage receptacles na naka-locate sa gilid san tinampo.

5. Toilet

Dire lang tabi siguro nakuwaan letrato an mga toilet rooms. May 3 sets (one cubicle for men, one cubicle for women) tabi na toilet strategically located tabi sa Ecopark. Pa-triangle tabi an location san mga toilet since masyadong malaki ang lugar. An sayo sa may campsite banda, an sayo sa may durho na cottage, an sayo sa may centro san Ecopark.

 

 BULAN SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

The “Bulaneño Ako, Basura Ko, Sini-segregate Ko!” Program is one of the priority thrusts of the Local Government Unit of Bulan. It was first conceptualized in 2004, launched in 2005 and strictly implemented in 2008. The program encompasses the whole solid waste management program of the LGUandwas designed for: a.) sanitation and environmental protection, b.) sound solid waste management systems, c.) provision and enhancement of livelihood opportunities through intensive resource recovery and recycling, and d.) minimization of public expenditures.

Prior to the program implementation, there were clear violations of RA 9003 which were really detrimental to the environment and lives of the people. Rampant burning of solid wastes in the household and in the municipal dumpsitewas prevalent. Throwing garbage at the different waterways seemed to be a normal scenario. Moreover, dumping of unsegregated wastes at the municipal dumpsite posed hazards not only to the environment but also to more than thirty (30) scavengers in the dumpsite seekingfor possible resources. Although Republic Act 9003 mandating all LGUstoimplement waste segregation and close all the existing open dumpsites was passed into law in 2001, implementation was difficult to materialize.

In 2004, the call for the execution of the mandates of the Act was very intense. It is the time when incumbent Mayor Helen C. De Castro decided to include Solid Waste Management (SWM) as one of her priority thrusts. To immediately act and address the existingsituation, Mayor De Castro formed a Technical Working Group (TWG). A plan of action was made and a series of multi-sectoral meetings, orientations and seminars for LGU key implementers and other stakeholders followed.

On June 30, 2005, the “Bulaneño Ako, Basura Ko, Sini-segregate Ko!” Program was officially launched. A month after, Mayor De Castro spearheaded the launching also of the Bulan Ecopark, with an aim of transformingthe existing open dumpsiteinto an ecological park. However, the first implementation of the program had not been successful. The problems were eventually traced to lack of regular monitoring and evaluation coupled with some operational deficiencies on the part of the LGU. Mayor De Castro realized the problem and tried to address it.

On November 2005, the Municipality of Bulan was enrolled to the DILGGO-FAR Project. In 2006, Mayor De Castro along with four (4) members of the TWG went to Linamon, Lanao Del Norte to attend the Replication Inception Workshop (RIW) on SWM. The good practices to be replicated then were the operation of Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and the preparation of two (2) compost activators. On the same year, Mayor De Castro spearheaded the replication process. Relevant facilities were established and more intensive IECs on RA 9003 and Municipal Ordinance on SWMwerere-packaged. Finally, on March 24, 2008, the program was strictly enforced givingemphasis on the following; a.) strict implementation of waste segregation-at-source, b.) collection of segregated wastes-at-source, c.) application of waste treatment (4Rs) / alternative technologies, d.) implementation of segregated waste disposal system, and e.) conversion of waste disposal facility into an Ecological Park.

With the efforts of the LGU and the massive participation of the community, the program earned various awards and recognitions both from the local and national levels. In 2007, the municipality was an awardee of the prestigious DENR Saringaya Awards, LGU Category for excellence in Local Governance and Environmental Protection on the field of SWM. In 2008, the DILG through its Secretary, Hon. Ronaldo Puno declared the Municipality of Bulan as Model Town on SWM. In view of being a Model Town, Bulan was expected to host RIWsfor interested replicating LGUs all throughout the country. At present, four (4) LGUsfromfour (4) provinces and two (2) schools including the U.P. Diliman – National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) have already visited Bulan for its SWM Program. In 2008 also, Mayor De Castro reaped the Punong BayanAward of Excellence for championing the program. No less than the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, Hon. Noli De Castro and LMP National President Hon. Ramon Guicogavethe award at the Manila Hotel during the LMP General Assembly.

At present, the program is workingand regular monitoringand evaluation is being observed. The Bulan Ecopark, a brainchild project of Mayor De Castro is continuously building a big space of hope in the big wide face of Mother Earth.

 

The program since has been enrolled and awarded by the DILG as Model Town on Solid Waste Management on October 2008 caters LGUs, barangays, schools, and other groups interested to visit, observe and replicate the program. Some of the LGUs and groups who have already visited Bulan for its SWMProgram are the following:

a. Personnel from Cataingan, Masbate

August 2008

b. Students from U.P. National College of Public Administration and

Governance (NCPAG), Diliman Campus

September 19-20, 2008

c. Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O)

Division of Sorsogon

October 28, 2008

d. Sorsogon National High School Students

November 20-21, 2008

e. Liga ng mga Barangay, Tigaon, Camarines Sur

December 15,. 2008

f. Barangay Officials of Poblacion, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte

December 22, 2008

g. LGU Officials of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon

January 9, 2009

h. South East Asia – Urban Environmental Management Application Project Executives

March 2, 2009

i. Members of Provincial Solid Waste Management Board (PSWMB), Sorsogon

March 20, 2009

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Video Of BulanEco-Park coming soon.

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Filed under Bulan Developments, Bulan Eco-Park, Culture, Environment, Mayor Helen De Castro - LGU Bulan, Nature, News, Views and Concern

The Bulan-te Connection

Or, The Missing P3million

When Bolante told the House agriculture Committee chaired by Palawan Rep. Mitra that of the 181 recipients (or “farmers”) he listed, only 22 did not avail themselves of  the P3-million to P5-million allocations he gave them, I was delighted to know that there are still 22 “farmers” in our country who are rich and honest and don’t need fluid fertilizers. I was hoping however that this time one of these 22 honest farmers comes from Bulan or Bicol region. But again this turned quite fast into frustration when I read the report of local newspaperman Roy Gersalia in his site Off The Beaten Path that ” Congressman Jose G. Solis said in a press con held Saturday that the P3 million he received were given by him to Bulan town mayor Helen de Castro. But the mayor, however, denied it and said that if such allegations were really true, she would be very happy if indeed the congressman gave her the P3 million intended for the farmers so that she can really help her constituents particularly those engaged in farming” (source : Roy Gersalia’s Off The Beaten Path under news)

A lie is the omission of truth and with such a national government that is founded upon lie, it is no wonder that there will be no shortage of it . A lie begets lie and so even Bolante’s lie has infected Bulan or the Bicol region as a whole. The fact is Congressman Solis accepted the P3 million- to my dismay. He is not one of those 22 who refused. Though I still do not buy Bolante’s revelation about these 22 who refused (a liar is still hard to believe even when he is probably telling the truth -Aesop-) Congressman Jose G. Solis’ case is clear. However, his assertion that he gave the P3million to the mayor of Bulan Helen De Castro could be another lie or maybe a truth. This time the burden of proof rests on Congressman Jose G. Solis. This would have been easy if Mayor Helen De Castro affirmed it right from the start- or if  he had a solid proof to prove his case. But as we know, solid proof attesting to the Truth is not an SOP in Arroyo’s administration. However, now that the mayor “denied” it, it still doesn’t make her a liar. To deny is a normal reaction of somebody accused of something she thinks she did not commit. The mayor could also be omitting the truth, but in this situation, it is a very weak argument.Therefore, granting our mayor her right to presumption of innocence (and the law does not require her to prove her innocence or produce any evidence at all), we should rather focus on Congressman Solis’ corruptible character (for he accepted the P3 million) and pressure him to prove in one way or another his allegation to the public. And though we have never seen yet Bolante’s complete list, with Congressman’s Solis affirmation that he received the P3 million, he already proved to us that he is on the list.

The public has the right to speculate when their public servants are again involved in such a mess. Let’s forget the real poor farmers, but why for example give the whole of this P3 million to Mayor Helen De Castro and not equally divide it to the other Sorsogon mayors? This act alone is already unfair (poor other mayors!). Is Mayor De Castro his padaba (favorite) or he is just using her as a scapegoat? Is this a politically- motivated scenario? …

To assert something without a proof is something that is unethical, or even if you know that there is no such thing anymore as ethics in our political system, you should still avoid giving out such an allegation in a press conference. Congressman  Jose G. Solis should put things in their proper places. We demand that he explains his case to the people of Bulan! But one thing is already clear to the public: If he couldn’t provide solid evidence to his allegation then his argument is not valid and that he is solely responsible for the missing P3million.

Again, this is the result of the logic of greed  among our public servants. Very unpleasant and primitive, indeed. Remember our poor and honest boy Gangga who taught us “Never To Own Anything That’s Not Ours”? Our poor farmers are proud that they did not receive such rotten fertilizers! Mabuhay ang ating mga mag-sasaka sa Bulan! (More power to the real farmers of Bulan!)

 

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

 

Related News article::

 

MANILA, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 (STAR) By Jess Diaz –

Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla and former undersecretary Jocelyn ‘Jocjoc’ Bolante take their oath during yesterday’s House hearing on the fertilizer fund scam. BOY SANTOS Former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante said a total of 159 members of the House of Representatives and local officials received their share of the P728-million fertilizer fund.
Bolante told the House agriculture committee chaired by Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra that of the 181 fertilizer fund “proponents” he listed, only 22 did not avail themselves of the P3-million to P5-million allocations he gave them.
Bolante said he could not identify the 22 who did not get their allocations and the 159 who received funds or fertilizer.
He said the Commission on Audit (COA) should be able to identify the supposed recipients.
Bolante listed 105 congressmen, 52 governors, one vice governor and 23 town mayors as fertilizer fund proponents.
The list was part of his request for the release of P728 million in fertilizer funds. He sent the request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Feb. 2, 2004, three months before the May presidential election.
The following day, Feb. 3, with uncharacteristic speed, the DBM released the funds Bolante requested. Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos signed the document releasing the money.
Several House members admitted receiving fertilizer and not cash from either the DA or Bolante. Others denied getting money or fertilizer.
In yesterday’s hearing, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, who represents the third district of Iloilo, said he rejected the P5 million offered to him by a certain “Aytona.”
“I told her I was not interested and that she could talk to my mayors and see if they were interested in liquid fertilizer,” he said.
Defensor said he learned later that some of his mayors received liquid fertilizer.
Camarines Sur Rep. Felix Alfelor had the same story.
Alfelor said he told Bolante’s alleged agents to approach his mayors.
Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita, for his part, admitted receiving a fertilizer fund allocation, which he claimed was used to buy garbage shredders.
La Union Rep. Victor Ortega said he and his brother, Gov. Manuel Ortega, did not receive cash or fertilizer despite the fact that they were included in Bolante’s list of proponents.
For her part, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales told the hearing that her father-in-law, former governor Vicente Magsaysay, was not able to get his supposed P5-million allocation.
However, House members who denied receiving cash or fertilizer in yesterday’s hearing did not ask Bolante why their names were in his list in the first place.
Former Lanao del Norte Rep. Alipio Badelles wrote the committee that he was in Bolante’s list but did not get his allotment.
Others who have denied receiving cash or fertilizer include Representatives Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas and Teodoro Locsin Jr. of Makati City, and former Quezon City representative Maite Defensor.
Quezon City Rep. Nanette Daza admitted availing herself of her P3-million allocation, which she said was used to buy garbage shredders for the Payatas dumpsite.
Speaker Prospero Nograles has admitted receiving fertilizer and not cash, and from the DA regional office in Davao, not from Bolante.
Bolante reiterated his testimony in the Senate that President Arroyo had no knowledge of the release and use of the P728 million.
He repeated his assertion that “there was no fertilizer scam” despite COA findings that there was “excessive overpricing” of the liquid fertilizer purchased by Bolante’s proponents.
In some areas, the overprice exceeded 1,200 percent, according to the COA report.
Auditors discovered that many of the lawmaker-proponents were involved in the use of their funds as evidenced by the memorandums of agreement between them and foundations they tasked to purchase liquid fertilizer.
They said House members in Bolante’s list received a total of P404 million.
In his testimony, Bolante also cleared Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap of involvement in the scam. Yap was undersecretary for operations in 2004.
Bolante said he never mentioned Yap’s name in the course of last Thursday’s Senate hearing on the fertilizer scam.
He said it was then Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who identified Yap as DA undersecretary for operations for Luzon in 2004.
Bolante had told senators that he could not have known the anomalies in the use of fertilizer funds since he had resigned shortly after distributing the money.
He said the undersecretary for operations was the DA official who should have monitored the use of the funds.
Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel told Bolante that he is insulting Filipinos by insisting that the President was not aware of the release of hundreds of millions in fertilizer funds and in asserting that there was no scam.
“You are insulting the public with your ridiculous assertions,” she said.
Bolante replied by saying that he respects Hontiveros’ opinion.
“I will appreciate it if you can prove that what I’m saying is not true,” he said.
For his part, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla said his province received its share of P5 million in fertilizer money in 2004.
But what is mysterious is that no Nueva Vizcaya official is listed as a proponent in Bolante’s list, he said.
Padilla said it is possible that the amount his province received “came from sources other than the P728 million.”
Padilla reiterated his proposal for the Mitra committee to inquire into the total 2004 releases amounting to nearly P3 billion.
Meanwhile, Owen Bolante urged the Court of Appeals (CA) to allow his father to be placed under house arrest instead of the Senate’s custody pending decision on the habeas corpus petition before the appellate court.
AccordingtoNoel Malaya, Owen had also submitted a compliance certificate to the CA from his father’s doctor indicating his father was indeed confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8.
The certificate also stated that the elder Bolante underwent medical examinations. The results were also submitted to the CA, Malaya said.
The younger Bolante filed a petition for habeas corpus on Nov. 5 questioning the custody of the Senate of his father.
Two days later, the CA ordered Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia to reply to Bolante’s petition.
The CA also ordered Owen to secure a medical certificate from St. Luke’s to support allegations of ill health.
Bolante’s lawyer Dennis Añover explained the writ of habeas corpus is a legal remedy questioning the legal basis of Bolante’s detention by the Senate. -With Mike Frialde

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Filed under Bulan Eco-Park, Bulan Municipal, Politics, Views and Concern

While We Patiently Wait For Mayor Helen De Castro

President Arroyo delivered her nation’s address on July 2008 before a joint session of both houses of Congress following Article VII Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution which states: “The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any other time.”
This work, reproduced hereunder, is in the public domain because it is a work of the Philippine government pursuant to Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, which renders all official Philippine texts of a legislative, administrative, or judicial nature, or any official translation thereof, ineligible for copyright.
This is her speech last July as separate from the SONA Technical Report portions of which we had already read. This is a suggested reading for Bulanians as part of training our political literacy and consciousness. While we patiently wait for our Mayor Helen De Castro’s corresponding 2008 report to the people of Bulan, I think we should use our time wisely. We could for instance study in depth the contents of President Arroyo’s speech or Attybenji’s article on Strenghts And Weaknesses Of Filipino Character. However, we do hope that our Mayor Helen De Castro has already started writing her report to the people of Bulan and that she has read Attybenji’s article where he mentions lack of discipline as one among our weaknesses which I now qoute: “3.) Lack of Discipline: The Filipino lack of discipline encompasses several related characteristics. We have a casual and relaxed attitude towards time and space which manifest itself in lack of precision and compulsiveness, in poor time management and in procrastination. We have an aversion for following strictly a set for procedures and this result in lack of standardization and quality control. We are impatient and unable to delay gratification or reward in the use of short-cuts, in skirting the rules (palusot syndrome) and in foolhardiness. We are guilty of ‘ningas cogon‘, starting out projects with full vigor and interest which abruptly die down leaving things unfinished. Our lack of discipline often results in inefficient and wasteful work system violations of rules leading to more serious transgression and a casual work ethic leading to carelessness and lack of follow through.”
President Arroyo’s speech maybe a subject of contentions but at least she has done her assignment already.
jun asuncion
Bulan Observer )
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Here’s her speech:
                                                    State of the Nation Address 2008
by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
“I address you today at a crucial moment in world history.
Just a few months ago, we ended 2007 with the strongest economic growth in a generation. Inflation was low, the peso strong and a million new jobs were created. We were all looking to a better, brighter future.
Because tough choices were made, kumikilos na ang bayan sa wakas. Malapit na sana tayo sa pagbalanse ng budget. We were retiring debts in great amounts, reducing the drag on our country’s development, habang namumuhunan sa taong bayan.
Biglang-bigla, nabaligtad ang ekonomiya ng mundo. Ang pagtalon ng presyo ng langis at pagkain ay nagbunsod ng pandaigdigan krisis, the worst since the Great Depression and the end of World War II. Some blame speculators moving billions of dollars from subprime mortgages to commodities like fuel and food. Others point of the very real surge in demand as millions of Chinese and Indians move up to the middle class.
Whatever the reasons, we are on a roller coaster ride of oil price hikes, high food prices and looming economic recession in the US and other markets. Uncertainty has moved like a terrible tsunami around the globe, wiping away gains, erasing progress.
This is a complex time that defies simple and easy solutions. For starters, it is hard to identify villains, unlike in the 1997 financial crisis. Everyone seems to be a victim, rich countries and poor, though certainly some can take more punishment than others.
To address these global challenges, we must go on building and buttressing bridges to allies around the world: to bring in the rice to feed our people, investments to create jobs, and to keep the peace and maintain stability in our country and the rest of the world. Yet, even as we reach out to those who need, and who may need us, we strive for greater self-reliance.
Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis. We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages, for fuel despite price spikes.
Neither we nor anyone else in the world expected this day to come so soon but we prepared for it. For the guts not to flinch in the face of tough choices, I thank God. For the wisdom to recognize how needed you are, I thank, you Congress. For footing the bill, I thank the taxpayers.
The result has been, on the one hand, ito ang nakasalba sa bayan; and, on the other, more unpopularity for myself in the opinion polls. Yet, even unfriendly polls show self-rated poverty down to its 20-year low in 2007.
My responsibility as President is to take care to solve the problems we are facing now and to provide a vision and direction for how our nation should advance in the future.
Many in this great hall live privileged lives and exert great influence in public affairs. I am accessible to you, but I spend time every day with the underprivileged and under represented who cannot get a grip on their lives in the daily, all-consuming struggle to make ends meet.
Nag-aalala ako para sa naka-aawang maybahay na pasan ang pananagutan para sa buong pamilya. Nag-aalala ako para sa magsasakang nasa unang hanay ng pambansang produksyon ng pagkain ngunit nagsisikap pakanin ang pamilya. I care for hardworking students soon to graduate and wanting to see hope of good job and a career prospect here at home.
Nag-aalala ako para sa 41-year old na padre de pamilya na di araw-araw ang trabaho, at nag-aabala sa asawa at tatlong anak, at dapat bigyan ng higit pang pagkakakitaan at dangal. I care for our teachers who gave the greatest gift we ever received – a good education – still trying to pass on the same gift to succeeding generations. I care for our OFWs, famed for their skill, integrity and untiring labor, who send home their pay as the only way to touch loved ones so far away. Nagpupugay ako ngayon sa kanilang mga karaniwang Pilipino.
My critics say this is fiction, along with other facts and figures I cite today. I call it heroism though they don’t need our praise. Each is already a hero to those who matter most, their families.
I said this is a global crisis where everyone is a victim. But only few can afford to avoid, or pay to delay, the worst effects.
Many more have nothing to protect them from the immediate blunt force trauma of the global crisis. Tulad ninyo, nag-aalala ako para sa kanila. Ito ang mga taong bayan na dapat samahan natin. Not only because of their sacrifices for our country but because they are our countrymen.
How do we solve these many complex challenges?
Sa kanilang kalagayan, the answer must be special care and attention in this great hour of need.
First, we must have a targeted strategy with set of precise prescriptions to ease the price challenges we are facing.
Second, food self-sufficiency; less energy dependence; greater self-reliance in our attitude as a people and in our posture as a nation.
Third, short-term relief cannot be at the expense of long term reforms. These reforms will benefit not just the next generation of Filipinos, but the next President as well.
Napakahalaga ang Value Added Tax sa pagharap sa mga hamong ito.
Itong programa ang sagot sa mga problemang namana natin.
Una, mabawasan ang ating mga utang and shore up our fiscal independence.
Pangalawa, higit na pamumuhunan para mamamayan at imprastraktura.
Pangatlo, sapat na pondo para sa mga programang pangmasa.
Thus, the infrastructure links programmed for the our poorest provinces like Northern Samar: Lao-ang-Lapinig-Arteche, right now ay maputik, San Isidro-Lope de Vega; the rehabilitation of Maharlika in Samar.
Take VAT away and you and I abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis.
Lalong lumakas ang tiwala ng mga investor dahil sa VAT. Mula P56.50 kada dolyar, lumakas ang piso hanggang P40.20 bago bumalik sa P44 dahil sa mga pabigat ng pangdaigdigang ekonomiya. Kung alisin ang VAT, hihina ang kumpiyansa ng negosyo, lalong tataas ang interes, lalong bababa ang piso, lalong mamahal ang bilihin.
Kapag ibinasura ang VAT sa langis at kuryente, ang mas makikinabang ay ang mga may kaya na kumukonsumo ng 84% ng langis at 90% ng kuryente habang mas masasaktan ang mahihirap na mawawalan ng P80 billion para sa mga programang pinopondohan ngayon ng VAT. Take away VAT and we strip our people of the means to ride out the world food and energy crisis.
We have come too far and made too many sacrifices to turn back now on fiscal reforms. Leadership is not about doing the first easy thing that comes to mind; it is about doing what is necessary, however hard.
The government has persevered, without flip-flops, in its much-criticized but irreplaceable policies, including oil and power VAT and oil deregulation.
Patuloy na gagamitin ng pamahalaan ang lumalago nating yaman upang tulungan ang mga pamilyang naghihirap sa taas ng bilihin at hampas ng bagyo, habang nagpupundar upang sanggahan ang bayan sa mga krisis sa hinaharap.
Para sa mga namamasada at namamasahe sa dyip, sinusugpo natin ang kotong at colorum upang mapataas ang kita ng mga tsuper. Si Federico Alvarez kumikita ng P200 a day sa kaniyang rutang Cubao-Rosario. Tinaas ito ng anti-kotong, anti-colorum ngayon P500 na ang kita niya. Iyan ang paraan kung paano napananatili ang dagdag-pasahe sa piso lamang. Halaga lang ng isang text.
Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.
Noong Hunyo, nagpalabas tayo ng apat na bilyong piso mula sa VAT sa langis-dalawang bilyong pambayad ng koryente ng apat na milyong mahihirap, isang bilyon para college scholarship o pautang sa 70,000 na estudyanteng maralita; kalahating bilyong pautang upang palitan ng mas matipid na LPG, CNG o biofuel ang motor ng libu-libong jeepney; at kalahating bilyong pampalit sa fluorescent sa mga pampublikong lugar.
Kung mapapalitan ng fluorescent ang lahat ng bumbilya, makatitipid tayo ng lampas P2 billion.
Sa sunod na katas ng VAT, may P1 billion na pambayad ng kuryente ng mahihirap; kalahating bilyon para sa matatandang di sakop ng SSS o GSIS; kalahating bilyong kapital para sa pamilya ng mga namamasada; kalahating bilyon upang mapataas ang kakayahan at equipment ng mga munting ospital sa mga lalawigan. At para sa mga kalamidad, angkop na halaga.
We released P1 billion for the victims of typhoon Frank. We support a supplemental Western Visayas calamity budget from VAT proceeds, as a tribute to the likes of Rodney Berdin, age 13, of Barangay Rombang, Belison, Antique, who saved his mother, brother and sister from the raging waters of Sibalom River .
Mula sa buwang ito, wala nang income tax ang sumusweldo ng P200,000 o mas mababa sa isang taon – P12 billion na bawas-buwis para sa maralita at middle class. Maraming salamat, Congress.
Ngayong may P32 na commercial rice, natugunan na natin ang problema sa pagkain sa kasalukuyan. Nagtagumpay tayo dahil sa pagtutulungan ng buong bayan sa pagsasaka, bantay-presyo at paghihigpit sa price manipulation, sa masipag na pamumuno ni Artie Yap.
Sa mga LGU at religious groups na tumutulong dalhin ang NFA rice sa mahihirap, maraming salamat sa inyo.
Dahil sa subsidy, NFA rice is among the region’s cheapest. While we can take some comfort that our situation is better than many other nations, there is no substitute for solving the problem of rice and fuel here at home. In doing so, let us be honest and clear eyed – there has been a fundamental shift in global economics. The price of food and fuel will likely remain high. Nothing will be easy; the government cannot solve these problems over night. But, we can work to ease the near-term pain while investing in long-term solutions.
Since 2001, new irrigation systems for 146,000 hectares, including Malmar in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, Lower Agusan, Casecnan and Aulo in Nueva Ecija, Abulog-Apayao in Cagayan and Apayao, Addalam in Quirino and Isabela, among others, and the restoration of old systems on another 980,000 hectares have increased our nation’s irrigated land to a historic 1.5 million hectares.
Edwin Bandila, 48 years old, of Ugalingan, Carmen, North Cotabato , cultivated one hectare and harvested 35 cavans. Thirteen years na ginawa iyong Malmar. In my first State of the Nation Address, sabi ko kung hindi matapos iyon sa Setyembre ay kakanselahin ko ang kontrata, papapasukin ko ang engineering brigade, natapos nila. With Malamar, now he cultivates five hectares and produces 97 cavans per hectare. Mabuhay, Edwin! VAT will complete the San Roque-Agno River project.
The Land Bank has quadrupled loans for farmers and fisherfolk. That is fact not fiction. Check it. For more effective credit utilization, I instructed DA to revitalize farmers cooperatives.
We are providing seeds at subsidized prices to help our farmers.
Incremental Malampaya national revenues of P4 billion will go to our rice self-sufficiency program.
Rice production since 2000 increased an average of 4.07% a year, twice the population growth rate. By promoting natural planning and female education, we have curbed population growth to 2.04% during our administration, down from the 2.36 in the 1990’s, when artificial birth control was pushed. Our campaign spreads awareness of responsible parenthood regarding birth spacing. Long years of pushing contraceptives made it synonymous to family planning. Therefore informed choice should mean letting more couples, who are mostly Catholics, know about natural family planning.
From 1978 to 1981, nag-export tayo ng bigas. Hindi tumagal. But let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Panahon pa ng Kastila bumibili na tayo ng bigas sa labas. While we may know how to grow rice well, topography doesn’t always cooperate.
Nature did not gift us with a mighty Mekong like Thailand and Vietnam, with their vast and naturally fertile plains. Nature instead put our islands ahead of our neighbours in the path of typhoons from the Pacific. So, we import 10% of the rice we consume.
To meet the challenge of today, we will feed our people now, not later, and help them get through these hard times. To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must become more self-reliant, self-sufficient and independent, relying on ourselves more than on the world.
Now we come to the future of agrarian reform.
There are those who say it is a failure, that our rice importations prove it. There are those who say it is a success – if only because anything is better than nothing. Indeed, people are happier owning the land they work, no matter what the difficulties.
Sa SONA noong 2001, sinabi ko, bawat taon, mamamahagi tayo ng dalawang daang libong ektarya sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 hectares of private farmland and 100,000 of public farmland, including ancestral domains. Di hamak mahigit sa target ang naipamahagi natin sa nakaraang pitong taon: 854,000 hectares of private farmland, 797,000 of public farmland, and Certificates of Ancestral Domain for 525,000 hectares. Including, over a 100,000 hectares for Bugkalots in Quirino, Aurora, and Nueva Vizcaya. After the release of their CADT, Rosario Camma, Bugkalot chieftain, and now mayor of Nagtipunan, helped his 15,000-member tribe develop irrigation, plant vegetables and corn and achieve food sufficiency. Mabuhay, Chief!
Agrarian reform should not merely subdivide misery, it must raise living standards. Ownership raises the farmer from his but productivity will keep him on his feet.
Sinimula ng aking ama ang land reform noong 1963. Upang mabuo ito, the extension of CARP with reforms is top priority. I will continue to do all I can for the rural as well as urban poor. Ayaw natin na paglaya ng tenant sa landlord, mapapasa-ilalim naman sa usurero. Former tenants must be empowered to become agribusinessmen by allowing their land to be used as collateral.
Dapat mapalaya ng reporma sa lupa ang magsasaka sa pagiging alipin sa iba. Dapat bigyan ang magsasaka ng dangal bilang taong malaya at di hawak ninuman. We must curb the recklessness that gives land without the means to make it productive and bites off more than beneficiaries can chew.
At the same time, I want the rackets out of agrarian reform: the threats to take and therefore undervalue land, the conspiracies to overvalue it.
Be with me on this. There must be a path where justice and progress converge. Let us find it before Christmas. Dapat nating linisin ang landas para sa mga ibig magpursige sa pagsasaka, taglay ang pananalig na ang lupa ay sasagip sa atin sa huli kung gamitin natin ito nang maayos.
Along with massive rice production, we are cutting costs through more efficient transport. For our farm-to-market roads, we released P6 billion in 2007.
On our nautical highways. RORO boats carried 33 million metric tons of cargo and 31 million passengers in 2007. We have built 39 RORO ports during our administration, 12 more are slated to start within the next two years. In 2003, we inaugurated the Western Nautical Highway from Batangas through Mindoro, Panay and Negros to Mindanao . This year we launched the Central Nautical Highway from Bicol mainland, through Masbate, Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin to Mindanao mainland. These developments strengthen our competitiveness.
Leading multinational company Nestle cut transport costs and offset higher milk prices abroad. Salamat, RORO. Transport costs have become so reasonable for bakeries like Gardenia, a loaf of its bread in Iloilo is priced the same as in Laguna and Manila. Salamat muli sa RORO.
To the many LGUs who have stopped collecting fees from cargo vehicles, maraming, maraming salamat.
We are repaving airports that are useful for agriculture, like Zamboanga City Airport.
Producing rice and moving it cheaper addresses the supply side of our rice needs. On the demand side, we are boosting the people’s buying power.
Ginagawa nating labor-intensive ang paggawa at pag-ayos ng kalsada at patubig. Noong SONA ng 2001, naglunsad tayo sa NCR ng patrabaho para sa 20,000 na out of school youth, na tinawag OYSTER. Ngayon, mahigit 20,000 ang ineempleyo ng OYSTER sa buong bansa. In disaster-stricken areas, we have a cash-for-work program.
In training, 7.74 million took technical and vocational courses over the last seven years, double the number in the previous 14 years. In 2007 alone, 1.7 million graduated. Among them are Jessica Barlomento now in Hanjin as supply officer, Shenve Catana, Marie Grace Comendador, and Marlyn Tusi, lady welders, congratulations.
In microfinance, loans have reached P102 billion or 30 times more than the P3 billion we started with in 2001, with a 98% repayment record, congratulations! Major lenders include the Land Bank with P69 billion, the Peoples’ Credit and Finance Corporation P8 billion, the National Livelihood Support Fund P3 billion, DBP P1 billion and the DSWD’s SEA-K P800 million. For partnering with us to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, thank you, Go Negosyo and Joey Concepcion.
Upland development benefits farmers through agro-forestry initiatives. Rubber is especially strong in Zamboanga Sibugay and North Cotabato. Victoria Mindoro, 56 years old, used to earn P5,000 a month as farmer and factory worker. Now she owns 10 hectares in the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Community in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, she earns P10,000 a week. With one hectare, Pedro and Concordia Faviolas of Makilala, North Cotabato, they sent their six children to college, bought two more hectares, and earn P15,000 a month. Congratulations!
Jatropha estates are starting in 900 hectares in and around Tamlang Valley in Negros Oriental; 200 in CamSur; 300 in GenSan, 500 in Fort Magsaysay near the Cordero Dam and 700 in Samar, among others.
In our 2006 SONA, our food baskets were identified as North Luzon and Mindanao .
The sad irony of Mindanao as food basket is that it has some of the highest hunger in our nation. It has large fields of high productivity, yet also six of our ten poorest provinces.
The prime reason is the endless Mindanao conflict. A comprehensive peace has eluded us for half a century. But last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved. Yes, there are political dynamics among the people of Mindanao . Let us sort them out with the utmost sobriety, patience and restraint. I ask Congress to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office.
The demands of decency and compassion urge dialogue. Better talk than fight, if nothing of sovereign value is anyway lost. Dialogue has achieved more than confrontation in many parts of the world. This was the message of the recent World Conference in Madrid organized by the King of Saudi Arabia, and the universal message of the Pope in Sydney.
Pope Benedict’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est reminds us: “There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love for neighbour is indispensable.”
Pinagsasama-sama natin ang mga programa ng DSWD, DOH, GSIS, SSS at iba pang lumalaban sa kahirapan sa isang National Social Welfare Program para proteksyonan ang pinaka-mahihirap mula sa pandaigdigang krisis, and to help those whose earnings are limited by illness, disability, loss of job, age and so on – through livelihood projects, microfinance, skills and technology transfer, emergency and temporary employment, pension funds, food aid and cash subsidies, child nutrition and adult health care, medical missions, salary loans, insurance, housing programs, educational and other savings schemes, and now cheaper medicine. Thanks to Congress.
The World Bank says that in Brazil , the income of the poorest 10% has grown 9% per year versus the 3% for the higher income levels due in large part to their family stipend program linking welfare checks to school attendance. We have introduced a similar program, Pantawid Pamilya.
Employers have funded the two increases in SSS benefits since 2005. Thank you, employers for paying the premiums.
GSIS pensions have been indexed to inflation and have increased every year since 2001. Its salary loan availments have increased from two months equivalent to 10 months, the highest of any system public or private – while repayments have been stretched out.
Pag-Ibig housing loans increased from P3.82 billion in 2001 to P22.6 billion in 2007. This year it experienced an 84% increase in the first four months alone. Super heating na. Dapat dagdagan ng GSIS at buksan muli ng SSS ang pautang sa pabahay. I ask Congress to pass a bill allowing SSS to do housing loans beyond the present 10% limitation.
Bago ako naging Pangulo, isa’t kalahating milyong maralita lamang ang may health insurance. Noong 2001, sabi natin, dadagdagan pa ng kalahating milyon. Sa taong iyon, mahigit isang milyon ang nabigyan natin. Ngayon, 65 milyong Pilipino na ang may health insurance, mahigit doble ng 2000, kasama ang labinlimang milyong maralita. Philhealth has paid P100 billion for hospitalization. The indigent beneficiaries largely come from West and Central Visayas, Central Luzon , and Ilocos. Patuloy nating palalawakin itong napaka-importanted programa, lalo na sa Tawi-Tawi, Zambo Norte, Maguindanao, Apayao, Dinagat, Lanao Sur, Northern Samar, Masbate, Abra and Misamis Occidental. Lalo na sa kanilang mga magsasaka at mangingisda.
In these provinces and in Agusan Sur, Kalinga, Surigao Sur and calamity-stricken areas, we will launch a massive school feeding program at P10 per child every school day.
Bukod sa libreng edukasyon sa elementarya at high school, nadoble ang pondo para sa mga college scholarships, while private high school scholarship funds from the government have quadrupled.
I have started reforming and clustering the programs of the DepEd, CHED and TESDA.
As with fiscal and food challenges, the global energy crunch demands better and more focused resource mobilization, conservation and management.
Government agencies are reducing their energy and fuel bills by 10%, emulating Texas Instruments and Philippine Stock Exchange who did it last year. Congratulations, Justice Vitug and Francis Lim.
To reduce power system losses, we count on government regulators and also on EPIRA amendments.
We are successful in increasing energy self-sufficiency – 56%, the highest in our history. We promote natural gas and biofuel; geothermal fields, among the world’s largest; windmills like those in Ilocos and Batanes; and the solar cells lighting many communities in Mindanao. The new Galoc oil field can produce 17,000-22,000 barrels per day, 1/12 of our crude consumption.
The Renewable Energy Bill has passed the House. Thank you, Congressmen.
Our costly commodity imports like oil and rice should be offset by hard commodities exports like primary products, and soft ones like tourism and cyberservices, at which only India beats us.
Our P 350 million training partnership with the private sector should qualify 60,000 for call centers, medical transcription, animation and software development, which have a projected demand of one million workers generating $13 billion by 2010.
International finance agrees with our progress. Credit rating agencies have kept their positive or stable outlook on the country. Our world competitiveness ranking rose five notches. Congratulations to us.
We are sticking to, and widening, the fiscal reforms that have earned us their respect.
To our investors, thank you for your valuable role in our development. I invite you to invest not only in factories and services, but in profitable infrastructure, following the formula for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.
I ask business and civil society to continue to work for a socially equitable, economically viable balance of interests. Mining companies should ensure that host communities benefit substantively from their investments, and with no environmental damage from operations.
Our administration enacted the Solid Waste Management Act, Wildlife Act, Protection of Plant Varieties, Clean Water Act, Biofuels Act and various laws declaring protected areas.
For reforestation, for next year we have budgeted P2 billion. Not only do forests enhance the beauty of the land, they mitigate climate change, a key factor in increasing the frequency and intensity of typhoons and costing the country 0.5% of the GDP.
We have set up over 100 marine and fish sanctuaries since 2001. In the whaleshark sanctuary of Donsol, Sorsogon, Alan Amanse, 40-year-old college undergraduate and father of two, was earning P100 a day from fishing and driving a tricycle. Now as whaleshark-watching officer, he is earns P1,000 a day, ten times his former income.
For clean water, so important to health, there is P500 million this year and P1.5 billion for next year.
From just one sanitary landfill in 2001, we now have 21, with another 18 in the works.
We launched the Zero Basura Olympics to clear our communities of trash. Rather than more money, all that is needed is for each citizen to keep home and workplace clean, and for garbage officials to stop squabbling.
Our investments also include essential ways to strengthen our institutions of governance in order to fight the decades-old scourge of corruption. I will continue to fight this battle every single day. While others are happy with headlines through accusation without evidence and privilege speeches without accountability, we have allocated more than P3 billion – the largest anti-graft fund in our history – for real evidence gathering and vigorous prosecution.
From its dismal past record, the Ombudsman’s conviction rate has increased 500%. Lifestyle checks, never seriously implemented before our time, have led to the dismissal and/or criminal prosecution of dozens of corrupt officials.
I recently met with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US agency that provides grants to countries based on governance. They have commended our gains, contributed P1 billion to our fight against graft, and declared us eligible for more grants. Thank you!
Last September, we created the Procurement Transparency Group in the DBM and linked it with business, academe, and the Church, to deter or catch anomalies in government contracts.
On my instruction, the BIR and Customs established similar government-civil society tie-ups for information gathering and tax evasion and smuggling monitoring.
More advanced corruption practices require a commensurate advances in legislative responses. Colleagues in Congress, we need a more stringent Anti-Graft Act.
Sa pagmahal ng bilihin, hirap na ang mamimili – tapos, dadayain pa. Dapat itong mahinto. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na magpasa ng Consumer Bill of Rights laban sa price gouging, false advertising at iba pang gawain kontra sa mamimili.
I call on all our government workers at the national and local levels to be more responsive and accountable to the people. Panahon ito ng pagsubok. Kung saan kayang tumulong at dapat tumulong ang pamahalaan, we must be there with a helping hand. Where government can contribute nothing useful, stay away. Let’s be more helpful, more courteous, more quick.
Kaakibat ng ating mga adhikain ang tuloy na pagkalinga sa kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino. Iisa ang ating pangarap – maunlad at mapayapang lipunan, kung saan ang magandang kinabukasan ay hindi pangarap lamang, bagkus natutupad.
Sama-sama tayo sa tungkuling ito. May papel na gagampanan ang bawat mamamayan, negosyante, pinunong bayan at simbahan, sampu ng mga nasa lalawigan.
We are three branches but one government. We have our disagreements; we each have hopes, and ambitions that drive and divide us, be they personal, ethnic, religious and cultural. But we are one nation with one fate.
As your President, I care too much about this nation to let anyone stand in the way of our people’s wellbeing. Hindi ko papayagang humadlang ang sinuman sa pag-unlad at pagsagana ng taong bayan. I will let no one – and no one’s political plans – threaten our nation’s survival.
Our country and our people have never failed to be there for us. We must be there for them now.
Maraming salamat. Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat.”
 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
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Filed under Bulan Eco-Park, Politics, Views and Concern

“Never To Own Anything That Is Not Ours”

Never to own anything that is not ours? A Confusian analect, Marxist’s dialectic or Nietzsche’s geneaology of morals? No, it’s from the mouth of a poor, malnourished Filipino boy, with barely nothing to put into his mouth but turned in a bag with P18,000.
Yes, I stumbled upon this old news and made me  ponder upon this simple question: ” If a poor, malnourished boy can be honest, why can’t our moneyed presidents be honest?”. This led me to one of the first lessons we learned early in life at home and in school : “Honesty is the best policy”. This is very elementary, indeed. Our president  has gone beyond elementary schooling, she went on to higher education, got her doctorate in economics and she even went abroad for further studies. But it seems that all these things did not do her good for as a president she has forgotten the best policy- that of honesty. Too much education but lacking in honesty is I think as good as nothing. For me it is clear: Not Arroyo but a boy like him is the hope of our nation. Here’s the story:
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Boy turns in bag with P18,000

Filipino values still practiced by simple Filipinos.
By Eva Visperas
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“DAGUPAN CITY – Eleven-year-old Gicoven Abarquez spends his free time gathering plastic bottles around this city’s downtown area to help augment his family’s meager income.

But despite the family’s need for money, the boy never thought of keeping the bag containing around P18,000 which he found while looking for plastic bottles one day.

Abarquez, a grade four pupil at the East Central Elementary School here, was recently honored by the Dagupan City Police for his admirable honesty.

The boy was described by city police chief Superintendent Dionicio Borromeo as “malnourished, and who looks like a five-year-old because of his small body frame.”

It was last Sept. 21 when Abarquez, nicknamed Gangga, picked up the pouch bag along Perez Blvd.

“What was very impressive about this boy was that he never thought of owning the ‘manna,’ but immediately decided to turn it over to the police,” Borromeo told The STAR.

“It’s really heartwarming because he has high trust in the police,” he added.

Abarquez, the youngest of four children of Maria, a helper in a bagoong factory, and Benito, a construction worker, said his parents would get mad at him if he would take the money which does not belong to him.

“My mother taught us never to own anything that is not ours,” Abarquez told Borromeo.  

“If you see a Filipino like him, you will say, ‘There’s still hope in the Philippines after all’,” Borromeo said.

The awarding was delayed and held the other day because Borromeo wanted to add significance to the occasion by holding the ceremony this October in commemoration of Children’s Month.

Details about the money found by Abarquez have not been totally divulged because fake claimants have been going to the police station.

But Abarquez said he would be able to recognize the man who lost the bag as he saw him board a jeepney when the pouch he was carrying fell. The jeepney immediately sped off so Abarquez was not able to call the man’s attention, and brought the money to the police.

The police have given the true claimant 60 days, starting last Monday, to show up at their station. If the owner fails to come forward, the police, upon deliberation, have decided that the money will be given as a reward to the Abarquez family.

The local police also plans to make Abarquez the beneficiary of their Kinabukasan Mo, Sagot Ko scholarship project.

Borromeo said they will give school supplies to Abarquez including a school bag, notebooks, paper, ballpens, shoes and school uniforms. Abarquez, they learned, has never owned a pair of shoes.

The Kiwanis Club of Dagupeña likewise pledged to give Abarquez some of the books that he needs for school.”

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So far, so good as we used to say. This happened last year and I just wondering if the boy ever received the promised rewards by the police and the Kiwanis Club. And what happened to that P18,000? It’s just normal to wonder or entertain some doubts in a place where the authorities say one thing but do another thing, the problem of sincerity in our nation.

What’s wrong with being basic? Some people pretending to know everything already and who think they’re already far enough, are usually the same people who commit the most silly mistakes in life. The reason is that they ignored the very basic (simple) truths in life. You can claim to be very sophisticated in your thinking, to be on another level than the rest around you. But don’t you know that  simple things are most complex and difficult to follow? To live a simple life, for instance, is hard, when you mean by simple living avoiding the complexities, etc. of civilization and retreating to the countryside. For then you have to gather your firewoods, fetch your water from a well, wash your clothings by hands, feed your animals, etc. It’s hard work everyday! The same thing with basic teaching like “Be honest”. Simple as it is, but all of us have trouble with this and have failed. But worse,  all our presidents have failed. Who would believe for instance Arroyo’s SONA 2008? As Aesop has noted,” A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth”.

According to John Ruskin, the beginning of education is to make your children capable of honesty. Our honest boy Gangga, though poor shows more education than the last five presidents of our republic which includes the sitting Arroyo. This poor boy speaks the language of honesty, not of greed. He surely learned this language from his parents, unlike our presidents who seemed to have patterned their concept of honesty not from their parents but from the practical definition of what a president now means in our nation: Greed as Measure of All, in short, GMA. Again, Marcos was the founder of this New School Of Greed, and was the mentor of the next generations of successful republic plunderers. The logic of Greed, however, doesn’t know what a genuine human feeling and loyalty is about. So they help one another to dethrone the incumbent Greed Holder only to replace him with their own version of Greed.

We know that Marcos did not bother about Jueting business, for instance, as Estrada did. Instead he concentrated on gold bars by shipping them all to Switzerland, hidden in a certain corner in Zürich a few kilometers from where I am writing this post. Indeed each of them has his/her own field of specialty, Marcos the miner with his fields of gold, Estrada the gambler with his gambling arenas and Arroyo the rice and fertilizer dealer with her rice fields. One of his outstanding students was undoubtedly Mr. Estrada, a man without formal education but graduated summa cum laude from this New School Of Greed. According to governor Singson at that time ( who was one of Estradas Jueting’s payoffs collectors), Estrada was receiving P32 to 35 million a month in Jueteng collections alone. With these high standards of earning set by these presidents, it is not surprising that Filipinos aspiring for presidency have in their subconscious also the dream of getting super rich- exactly  like their mentors. Even the sitting president graduated with honors from this school and is on the way to realizing this dream to the fullest. But she displayed a good portion of her education and loyalty by pardoning her ex-Boss Estrada, pardoning his plunder! This is the logic of greed in action, a logic too complex for our boy to comprehend. Truly, Professor Marcos was very successful in this respect. He taught his students this logic and helped them realize this Philippine Dream.

Going back to Erap, getting cuts from foreign loans or from big government contracts were too complicated for the mind of  this former small-town mayor, unlike Marcos who, being a criminal lawyer was familiar with legal technicalities. The bigger the mind, the more complex is the arena of deception. The small-minded Erap continued therefore with his Jueting, an expertise he knew so well during his mayor days. We are all familiar with the mechanics of town politics: The mayor appoints on day one his/her chief of police, if possible a relative. Utang na loob (debt of gratitude) pressures this chief of police to protect the personal interests of the mayor, mostly his/her illegal activities like Jueting, thereby reducing the whole town police corps to mere bodyguards or private goons of the mayor. We hope that Bulan was and is an exception to the rule! Anyway, this mechanics was continued by Erap as president viewing the entire PNP as his personal bodyguards. Now, we also hope Arroyo is an exception to this rule! I stand to be corrected here.

To continue, do you really believe this boy was too weak to tell a lie or to carry home that bag since home was much farther than the next police station? Well, I think not. Don’t be surprised if I would tell you now that we have more honest young people in Manila than Zürich! This keeps me optimistic about our chance for a better Malacañang or Philippines. This is the reason why: The second good news from home I read published in the local Zürich newspapers, now reproduced in English hereunder:

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 Reader’s Digest’s Global Honesty Test

Are people honest?
Reader’s Digest conducts global cell phone honesty test: Researchers ‘lose’ mobile phones in 32 cities, and two thirds are returned
By Reader’s Digest Association
Jul 23, 2007 – 6:02:20 PM

If you were sitting on a park bench and noticed that a “lost” cell phone was ringing, would you answer it? And if so, and a stranger’s voice on the other end asked you to take time from your busy day to return the phone, what would you do? Hang up? Keep the phone? Or, agree to return it?
That’s exactly what Reader’s Digest editors wanted to find out. And so the world’s most widely read magazine used its network of global editions to conduct an informal test of honesty around the world, asking reporters in the most populous cities in 32 countries to leave 960 mid-priced mobile phones in busy public places.
Local researchers from each country arranged and conducted their own tests, observing the mobiles from a distance. They rang the phones and waited to see if anyone would answer, and then watched to see if the person would (1) agree to return it, (2) call later on preset numbers that were programmed into the handsets, or (3) keep the phones for themselves. After all, these were tempting, brand-new phones with usable airtime.
The researchers tallied the results, interviewed test participants, and filed their reports in many of the August editions of Reader’s Digest, including the Web edition of U.S. Reader’s Digest (www.rd.com) and U.S. Selecciones magazine. While the study was not scientific, the results provided a fascinating human interest story.
“What we found out surprised and intrigued us,” said Conrad Kiechel, Editorial Director, International. “In every single city where the test was conducted, at minimum almost half of the phones were returned. And despite the temptation that people must have felt to keep the phones, and the fact that the test imposed on everyone’s time, the average return rate was a remarkable 68 percent, or about two thirds of the 30 phones we dropped in each city.”
The test followed last year’s Reader’s Digest Global Courtesy Test, which made headlines worldwide. Like the 2006 test, it was developed and overseen by the magazine editors in each of the participating countries. Both programs dramatically illustrated the magazine’s remarkable geographic “footprint” by conducting simultaneous local tests and reporting the results globally.
The highest percentage of returned phones was in the smallest city, Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a population of only 267,000. All but one of 30 cell phones were returned. From a nun at a bus stop to a young waiter at a coffee shop (who also retrieved a leather jacket the reporter had accidentally left behind – not part of the test!), the residents in this picture-postcard city in the foothills of the Alps were almost universally helpful.
Could the citizens of a major metropolis, with all its stress and pressure, be as honest? The people of Toronto, Canada (population 5.4 million), came close, returning 28 of 30 phones. “If you can help somebody out, why not?” said Ryan Demchuk, a 29-year-old insurance broker, who returned the mobile.
Seoul, South Korea, was third in the rankings, followed by Stockholm, Sweden, where Lotta Mossige-Norheim, a railway ticket inspector, found the mobile on a shopping street and handed it back. “I’m always calling people who’ve left a handset on my train,” she said.
Tied for fifth place in the rankings with 24 returned phones were: Mumbai, India; Manila, the Philippines; and New York City.
In many countries, people said they believed the young would behave worse than their elders. Yet, in the test results, young people were just as honest. In New York’s Harlem section, 16-year-old Johnnie Sparrow arranged to meet a reporter later that evening. Arriving at the scheduled time flanked by a group of younger neighborhood boys who clearly looked up to him, Sparrow was surprised to learn that the lost phone wasn’t lost at all. But he was proud of how he reacted when he found it.
“I did the right thing,” he said with a smile.
Parental influence weighed heavily with some. “My parents taught me that if something is not yours, don’t take it,” said Muhammad Faizal Bin Hassan, an employee of a Singapore shopping complex, where he answered a ringing phone.
Many adults accompanied by children were keen to show the young people how to behave when they spotted a phone. In Hounslow, West London, Mohammad Yusuf Mahmoud, 33, was with his two young daughters when he answered a phone in a busy shopping street. “I’m glad that my kids are here to see this. I hope it sets a good example,” he said.
Women were slightly more likely to return phones than were men.
All over the world, the most common reason people gave for returning a phone was that they too had once lost an item of value and didn’t want others to suffer as they had. “I’ve had cars stolen three times and even the laundry from the cellar was taken,” said Kristiina, 51, who returned a phone in Helsinki.
So, how did planet earth perform in the honesty test? Everywhere, the locally based Reader’s Digest reporters heard pessimism about the chances of getting phones back, especially given economic and other pressures. And yet, globally, 654 mobiles, or 68 percent, were returned.

 

The Phones we got back, city by city
Rank City Country Phones Recovered (out of 30)
1 Ljubljana Slovenia 29
2 Toronto Canada 28
3 Seoul South Korea 27
4 Stockholm Sweden 26
5= Mumbai India 24
  Manila Philippines 24
  New York USA 24
8= Helsinki Finland 23
  Budapest Hungary 23
  Warsaw Poland 23
  Prague Czech Republic 23
  Auckland New Zealand 23
  Zagreb Croatia 23
14= Sao Paulo Brazil 21
  Paris France 21
  Berlin Germany 21
  Bangkok Thailand 21
18= Milan Italy 20
  Mexico City Mexico 20
  Zurich Switzerland 20
21= Sydney Australia 19
  London UK 19
23 Madrid Spain 18
24 Moscow Russia 17
25= Singapore Singapore 16
  Buenos Aires Argentina 16
  Taipei Taiwan 16
28 Lisbon Portugal 15
29= Amsterdam Holland 14
  Bucharest Romania 14
31= Hong Kong Hong Kong 13
  Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 13

 ________________________

 Manila was 5th worldwide, and among asian cities tested, Manila placed 2nd after Seoul. This is something to be proud of, a ray of hope for Manila. How about Bulan’s Honesty Index? We have no solid facts in our hands to base our argument. Perhaps we need to device and conduct also such a test. How about our local government, our local chief executive? How do you rate her SOBA 2007- or,  State Of Bulan Address 2007? Public Trust And Credibilty is a public definition and perception, not a self-definition or self-rating by the mayor herself. Therefore it is legal and correct that people discourse about it publicly. It’s a needed feedback.

Mayor Helen De Castro reports herself, and I qoute, “ Public Office is a Public Trust”. Sayo baga tabi ini na padomdom sa entero na mga Opisyal san Gobierno, na an poder, autoridad nan capacidad na inhatag sa kaniya sayo na de-kumpiansa na trabaho. Permi ko tabi in-iisip na sa pagiging Mayor ko, nasa kamot nan liderato ko an kaayadan o pagroro san bungto ta, nan sa paagi san amo Administrasyon, makabalangkas kami sin mga plano, programa nan mga proyekto na para sa kaayadan san kadaghanan na mga ciudadano. Importante man na makuwa mi lugod tabi an kooperasyon, partisipasyon nan pagdanon san mga miembros san Komunidad Bulanenyo.
Ini na paghatod ko sa iyo sin Report saro na paagi basi maaraman tabi niyo kun nano na an mga inhimo namo, segun sa tiwala niyo sa amo. Parte ini san pangako mi na accountability nan transparency, na dire kamo nai-ignorar san mga programa san Gobierno Lokal.”

She says openly that she needs your participation and constructive assessment of her performance after you had entrusted her this office. So why not avail of this offer from Mayor Helen De Castro herself? Indeed, we should never own anything that is not ours- aside from things that legally belong to us, like our own opinion. Therefore, be proud of your opinions and voice them out. Our mayor needs them.

 

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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Filed under Bulan Eco-Park, Education, News, Politics, Views and Concern

assuming without admitting- or admitting and assuming?

A response To Tonyboy of the Office Of The Mayor- Bulan

 

Thank you for the kudos and for reading things about Bulan. And I’m glad to know that our mayor is open-minded and that she reads things that concern Bulan and her constituents. It’s always an advantage for her  to listen so she knows what is in the hearts of her “manga padaba”- ( am I one of those? ). Padaba or not,  Bulan Observer is created for all of us Bulanians to share our views and concerns for our town. It is relatively young but has already attracted many people who are watching our town. No matter how it came into being, the main purpose of Bulan Observer is to connect us Bulanians and not just to entertain ourselves but to reflect seriously about matters that concern the present and future form of Bulan. It’s for the people of Bulan and I just function as the administrator to see to it that things do not run wild. 

This Bulan Terminal case is the point of departure between  the good or bad political De Castro and of a concerned or just a personally-motivated critic Guyala. This is the thorn that pains everybody in Bulan- as long as it is not yet cleared. I’ve read and heard all interviews with Mr. Guyala and the  De Castros pertaining to this case as well as comments from people of Bulan. It is imperative to have a balanced view of the matter, and since it’s now in the court, we just wait and see. There is nothing else to talk about it at the moment but rather focus on the business of running our town efficiently and of solving the basic problems facing our people.

Tonyboy, I suggest you better admitt that vote-buying is a practice in the Philippines and then assume that the people may assume without admitting that they forgive and forget as long as the “elected (?) is trying his/her best to be a public servant even if the means by which he/she has been elected to office are not so moral”.  You assumed yourself, “Yes, that can be possible”. I believe you because you are experienced in this area . But even then, we might rightly say that though this is possible it is still not a thing we can be proud of. It is considered though a strength  of us Filipinos that if we cannot solve the problem, we just accept and live with it. We know, however, that this same strength is also what hinders us to move forward. The Philippines is not a safe place for people in the government, guilty or not, to declare that they did not resort to vote-buying. The best way is either you just don’t talk about it anymore, try and prove your best once in office or get out of politics. Indeed it is possible  to forgive them for the not-so-moral means (vote-buying, extortions, etc.) of getting to their public office- for everybody knows it anyway and things like that are “normal” in our nation. Unlike Japan for instance, we do not have a legislation that’s designed to punish vote-buying political candidate. It’s practiced by our national politicians (see Arroyo ) so the local ones are forced to follow. Moral or not, the main problem is that once they’re in office, it’s their turn then to get back the money they paid to the people before or during election day. It could be that not all are doing this but still  here we are again back to the vicious cycle of poverty and impoverished political system. That’s the logic of greed: It gives in order to get back more than it has given. The result is a sick nation, a dead town.

All the time we have always been mentioning the word opposition. Opposition is such a noble denotation, coming from the latin word “opponere”, which means to counter or to resist. In politics the opposition has the duty to criticise and above all offer alternatives to that which the government has opted to undertake. But strictly speaking, there is no opposition in Bulan for they are not represented in the administration. The Guyalas are just political foes in our local traditional politics and though they oppose by watching and criticizing every move of the De Castros, they are, strictly speaking no opposition party, for they have no people (seat) to represent them legally in the government of the De Castros. To be critical and yet responsible political foes however, they ought to separate definitions and start to work with the government when it comes to things that the whole town will benefit. Otherwise, a political foe or so called critic that only criticises, only on the look out for mistakes but refuses to work wit the government in situations where everyone’s help is being called for or to offer help for people’s sake is standing partly apart from the people. The people of Bulan should sharpen their senses so that they may rightly distinguish a constructive from an obstructive critical stand towards the local government. An obstructive opposition has at its nucleus the motive of revenge, therefore, it has no place in a town that’s fighting for progress.

We acknowledge that the De Castros are a strong political family in Bulan. I myself spent my elementary years under a De Castro ( Luis? ) mayor. But  I think he was shot in his office one afternoon by another mayor from another town. A young boy that I was, I was enraged to hear about the incident that somebody killed our mayor just that! I don’t remember the details anymore. But the name De Castro has always been a big name to me so as Ginete, Gonzales…

And there  is no doubt that after over a decade of governing Bulan, the De Castros have also done good things to our town and to the people, or also have thought good thoughts  for the people of Bulan. For other things done not palpable, maybe they have  informed the people about such things very little. Nowadays, informations travel almost at the speed of light. A good or bad thing done is instantly  known in all corners of the world. So we expect that the De Castro government should be as communicative and open as possible. This will do  them good. When the doors are open we will come in to help spread any good news. Our town people are willing to help when it’s for their own welfare- and also to oppose when it’s for their own  welfare. But the government has no other option but to be concerned about the welfare of the people, never to oppose the people.

It is fair to admit that nobody from this site ever declared that the people De Castros are the meanest people. It is not right to attack people personally, but is legitimate to criticise the  political De Castros. These are two distinct attributes. We never hate anybody personally, in fact we love and respect all of our townmates as people.

Yes, prudence is needed in judging, and for christians like us to judge is allowed. Though the popular verse “Judge not, that ye be not judged ” Matthew 7:1, seems to be contradicting my statement. But seen in the whole context, i.e. Matthew 7: 1-5, judging is allowed after you have first judged yourself. Take note that the word “judge”  is mentioned about 700 times in the Bible, one  book alone is titled “Judges”, written when God had chosen judges to lead  ( like mayors of to-day) HIS people.  And consider this verse: “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:14-15) . Therefore, it is in fact a sin not to make use of our sense of judgement of good and evil, of right and wrong ( see atty. benji’s a call for moral revolution?). So the biblical justification.

Now, from our  common sense. Imagine Tonyboy if during election time, nobody has the right to judge a presidential or mayoral candidate! To quote you, “what the heck are we here for ? It would be chaos”. Chaos has been with us for a long time already. The political mess in our country is actually partly the result of our many  people’s loss of capacity to judge because of the long  vote-buying tradition in our country, a fact you can really just admitt and can really just assume the people had already internalized and “legalized” it. To generalize is wrong, but against this widespread, culturally-embedded vote-buying  and selling  practice in our country, it’s like blowing in the wind for some remaining righteous politicians to declare innocence. Nobody would just believe them anymore. I do not deny that there are such politicians but mostly they do not get the office. But again, not all who don’t get the office were righteous during the campaign. The sense of political judgment has been taken away from the Filipinos long ago. Generally, this leads us back again to the problem of moral corruption which is,  to quote you again, “a very contentious issue, we can debate and argue, this blog will not suffice. Sorry po”. For me the facts about vote-buying, graft and corruption speak for themselves. There is nothing contentious about this issue. Bulan Observer’s storing capacity limit is more than enough if we don’t argue about things already obvious, but you are right, maybe this would not suffice if we keep on arguing they do not exist.

You seem to be anticipating attacks  when you say “expect me to defend my Boss Mayor De Castro.” No one in Bulan who has done nothing unconstitutional/illegal should worry about defending him/herself against criticism. You are duty bound to protect your employer, as we are also duty bound to defend our mayor should  she met with unjust criticism. My only freedom is that I can even speak in defense of other things that are  in you which concerns Bulan about which you have probably no more this freedom to speak due to your position.

 In any case, let’s move forward.

 

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

 

“God gave each individual reason and a will of his or her own to distinguish the just from the unjust; all were born without shackles and free, and nobody has a right to subjugate the will and spirit of another.” J. P. Rizal in “A Letter To The Young Women Of Malolos”.

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Filed under Bulan Eco-Park, Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern