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Philippine News Digest 125

August 24, 2007 · 



  • Locally-developed organic fertilizer boosts rice yield
  • Stiffer penalties urged for sex workers in Iloilo
  • Mayors support plan for mining firms to pay tax directly to LGUs

Locally-developed organic fertilizer boosts rice yield
By Franklin A. Caliguid
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 04:35am (Mla time) 08/23/2007

BUTUAN CITY—The use of an organic fertilizer developed by Filipino researchers in Laguna has been credited for the high rice production in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region.

Luis Guillen, president of the Summa Biotechnologies Corp. based here, said there was a 20 percent surge in rice output in Northern Mindanao due to farmers’ use of a locally-produced organic and environment-friendly fertilizer.

“The use of bio-organic inoculant fertilizer has increased palay yield by 20 percent,” Guillen said in a statement.

The fertilizer, known as Nitro-Fix, is made of nitrogen-fixing bacteria developed by researchers at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.

Rice studies showed that once these bacteria from organic matters capture the nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, it would convert the nitrogen into a usable form needed to sustain the nitrogen requirements of rice, corn, vegetables, and other crops.

Guillen said the palay plants are healthier, and produce impressive results such as broader and greener leaves, extensive root system and sturdier stalks.

Also, the plants are more resistant to pests and diseases than those applied with chemical-based nitrogen fertilizers, which he claimed have proven to be detrimental to soil fertility and contributes greatly to declining farm productivity.

According to Guillen, the successful use of bio-organic fertilizers could serve as a solution to the country’s chronic rice shortage, if replicated in all the other regions in Mindanao, with its ideal rice-growing conditions and functional irrigation systems.

With the long dry spell in Luzon, followed by the recent massive flooding, Mindanao could yet prove to be the country’s solution to a looming grains shortage, he said.

The cost-cutting and yield-increasing benefits of bio-organic fertilizer inputs prompted Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to subsidize Nitro-fix.

Recently, Yap ordered the Department of Agriculture in the Caraga Region, headed by acting director Ricardo Regis, to implement a distribution program of the organic fertilizer to farmer-beneficiaries.

For the current cropping period, the DA in Northern Mindanao and the Caraga Region, under the Hunger Mitigation Project, have distributed Nitro-Fix to farmers in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon covering some 20,900 hectares of irrigated rice lands.

Taking a cue from Yap, Butuan Mayor Democrito Plaza also implemented the Nitro-Fix distribution program for farmers working on a total 4,000 hectares of rice lands in the city.

Stiffer penalties urged for sex workers in Iloilo
Manila Bulletin

ILOILO CITY – The Iloilo City government is determined to impose stiffer penalties against illegal sex workers following reports from health authorities here on the emergence of herpes cases.

Herpes is a sexually transmitted viral disease manifested by blisters on the skin.

The move is also seen to be a preventive measure and in order to encourage local sex workers to undergo the required smear tests before being given “a clean bill of health” by local health authorities..

Those who undergo and pass the required smear tests are given health cards by the City Health Office.

Task Force Adams Apple, a group created by the local government, is seeking imposition of higher fine of P500 for violators, or those caught working without the necessary health cards.

According to Marietta Geremias, task force officer-in-charge, the only case they could file against the illegal sex workers is vagrancy

The city government is implementing city ordinance 330, which imposes penalties to any person, dancer or performer caught doing obscene and indecent shows or exhibitions.

Likewise, the owner or manager of any business establishment that allows obscene and indecent shows or exhibitions may also face sanctions..

The reported increase in herpes cases in Iloilo has prompted Task Force Adams Apple to activate its campaign to encourage local sex workers to undergo the required smear tests.

It also received a report that 17 prostitutes who have repeatedly flunked the smear tests continue to prowl the city and lure unsuspecting customers.

In warning the public, Geremias said the registered commercial sex workers are card-bearing individuals who have been given government’s go-signal to do their work after they were found negative for any sexually transmitted disease.

Mayors support plan for mining firms to pay tax directly to LGUs
Manila Bulletin

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Kalinga Mayors League supports a call of President Arroyo for the multi-national companies to pay tax directly to local government units (LGUs) hosting their mining projects.

The tax represents the share of the LGUs from the exploitation of natural resources in their communities.

During a press conference held recently at the DILG office here, the mayors welcomed the President’s directive, saying the scheme will contribute much to the generation of revenues for their localities.

Tabuk City Mayor Camilo Lammawin Jr., president of the Kalinga Mayors League, said that the municipalities will benefit if they share directly from taxes levied from mining companies.

Balbalan Mayor Allen Jesse Mangaoang, league’s vice president, said that direct payment to LGUs their share from revenues derived from the operation of mining companies in the different municipalities will surely improve the financial capabilities of local governments to undertake more development projects.

“We are not only talking of taxes and fees levied from these mining companies but also projects which are financed by the companies and from which the community could benefit,” said Pasil Mayor James Edduba, a supporter of the programs of President Arroyo.

He said social services, employment of the residents, construction and improvement of roads and bridges and the development of facilities for use by the people are the services people want from these companies doing business in their areas of jurisdiction.

Edduba said taxes from these companies could mean not only money but also projects and social services.

In its January-to-June 2007 report, Makilala Mining Inc. stated it directly hired residents of Pasil, paid casual teachers, built two suspension foot bridges, and rendered social services during its exploration in Balatoc.

But while the mayors support the policy of tapping natural resources in their respective municipalities and opening them to commercial exploitation to outside investors, the final say will always come from the people.

The completion of the concreting of the Tabuk-Bontoc road is one of the projects President Arroyo wants the LGUs help finish with the taxes from multi-national companies operating in their areas.

Kalinga has vast potentials of mineral deposits still untapped. It has been extensively prospected for gold, copper, and other metallic and non-metallic minerals based from the studies conducted by private and government geologists, and mining engineers.

There were 11 mining prospects identified in the province, excluding those identified by BBGMI which operated until 1986.

Engineer Ricardo Dang-iw, key Mines and Geosciences Bureau personnel in Kalinga, said 13 exploration-permit applications are under evaluation, while three are already granted. These permits are for Wolfland Resources Inc., Cordillera Exploration Inc., and Makilala Mining Co. with on-going exploration of mineral resources in Tabuk, Pinukpuk, and Pasil, respectively. – End –


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