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Philippine News Digest 131

October 5, 2007 · 

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Contents:

  • Anti-mining activist shot dead by guard
  • Pampanga mayors’ spouses push project to assist women earn extrafamily income
  • Cordillera farmers learn how to grow organic coffee

Anti-mining activist shot dead by guard
By Marlon Ramos, TJ Burgonio
Inquirer
Last updated 06:14am (Mla time) 10/05/2007

MANILA, Philippines — There’s blood on the sands of Sibuyan Island.

It is Armin Marin’s blood.

The 44-year-old environmental activist was shot dead on Wednesday morning while leading a protest by some 150 islanders against a nickel exploration project by a group with links to Australian-based BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining concern, police and environmentalists said.

The suspected gunman, Mario Chinalpan Kingo, 49, has turned himself in, according to police in the San Fernando town of Sibuyan off Romblon island.

Chief Supt. Louie Palmera said Kingo was the chief of the security team employed by the consortium, Sibuyan Nickel Property Development Corp. (SNPDC), to guard the mining site.

Famous for its flora and fauna, Sibuyan island has been called Asia’s Galapagos, an archipelago in South America which teems with unique species.

Marin was the 20th environmental activist killed while protesting a mining project in the country since 2001, environmental groups said.

Marin, a town councilor and father of five children, was with a group of residents holding a rally in front of the makeshift office of the mining firm when a jeep drove up.

Pampanga mayors’ spouses push project to assist women earn extra family income
Malaya Online
Friday, October 5, 2007

CANDABA, Pampanga — An organization of mayors’ spouses in Pampanga is pushing a multi-agency project aimed at strengthening the role of women in increasing the family income and developing the country’s exportable work force through the establishment of the Liberty Center for Women.

Mrs. Lani Pelayo, president of the Mayors’ Responsible Spouses, said a pilot center will be launched in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur this month as a fitting tribute to national heroine and distinguished daughter of Ilocandia, Gabriela Silang.

Pelayo said that the Liberty Center for Women is a model in multi-sectoral partnership that would extend vital services, including medical aid, legal counseling, job placements, and livelihood training, to disadvantaged women.

It will introduce alternative income generating occupations to the center’s beneficiaries such as training on basic salon-related competencies (such as haircutting and treatment, make-up application, and nail care); commercial food preparation and packaging; proficiencies in small-scale production of bath soaps, dishwashing liquids, and detergents; basic computer courses; and dressmaking.

Hair Asia, in collaboration with concerned local government units (LGUs), will be the proponents of the endeavor with LGUs providing the infrastructure, manpower, and administration and Hair Asia providing the expertise and network.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Health (DoH), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as well as several non-government organizations, will likewise support the centers.

TESDA Director-General Roger Peyuan said President Arroyo has taken notice of the noble efforts of her fellow women in Pampanga and hopes this endeavor is duplicated by women’s groups in other parts of the country.

“Dito ipinakikita ng mga kabiyak sa puso ng mga alkalde (ng Pampanga) na hindi lamang sa panahon ng kalamidad sila maaasahan. Ang palatuntunang ito’y nagpapahalaga sa mga kababaihan bilang mga responsableng tagapag-taguyod di lamang ng pamilya kundi ng kaunlaran ng bansa,” Peyuan said.

As proof of this, 20 municipal governments in Pampanga, aside from Candaba, have expressed their intent to open Liberty Centers in their areas within this year.

Cordillera farmers learn how to grow organic coffee
By Rose Dela Cruz
Sunday, September 30 2007 (www.philstar.com)

Three years after the coffee farmers of the Kalinga and Ifugao who participated in the Central Cordillera Agricultural Program (CECAP) of the European Union were taught about organic growing farm practices by the Figaro Foundation organic coffee experts, they are now on the way of getting organic certification, which would virtually open wide the global organic market to them.

The CECAP farmers were organized by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of the Department of Agriculture and were trained the organic way by the Figaro Foundation under Pacita Juan.

ACPC executive director Mel Montenegro tapped the market expertise of Juan, who is also an active member of the Philippine Coffee Board, to look for market solutions for the Cordillera-grown coffee.

In March 2004, Montenegro and Juan trekked to the far-flung coffee areas in Kalinga and Ifugao and started their coffee crusade by holding coffee workshops under the canopies of rainforests and introduced organic coffee production to the cultural communities.

In 2005, Figaro Foundation started to buy coffee from these communities first and later to the adjoining communities as well. Using the four-wheel Land Rover of CECAP, Montenegros introduced Juan and the Figaro team to the communities in Lagawe, Kiangan in Ifugao; Dupligan and Tanudan, among others, in Kalinga.

Today these cooperatives are enrolled in the Figaro Organic Certification Program and get a premium for their shade-grown and bird-friendly coffee aside from other value adding qualities which farmers never knew of.

Now they get a good price for their produce, enough to encourage them to sustain their production.

With an organic certification, the farmers will have an international seal attesting the export worthiness of their coffee and other organic products grown side by side with coffee such as carrots, pepper and other cash crops that they can harvest weekly while waiting to harvest the organic coffee, said Juan.

The ACPC continues to help Figaro Foundation in looking for other communities they have organized and eventually encourage them to follow the Ifugao and Kalinga models of sustainable agriculture, Juan added.

updated October 05, 2007

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