DA7 urges farmer groups to go organic farming

By Jennifer C. Tilos

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Central Visayas has urged farmer groups and even the youth to support its organic farming program.

During the 4th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress held here, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Salvador Diputado of DA and Governor Roel Degamo, both rallied for support to organic farming.

They also expressed their commitment and full support to the organic agriculture program especially in providing product inputs and stechnical support to the farmers to increase their harvests and sales.

Over this, the officials challenged farmer-participants to come up with some proposals, for the department to address their adoption to organic agriculture concerns.

The DA believes this will help in the improvement of farm produce but also to engage young farmers to be aware of the viability and for them to promote the development and the spreading of organic agricultural practices.

Felipe Apale, regional organic focal person said the congress aimed to provide updates and share technology to the farmers to promote organic agriculture.

At the gathering of farmers, producers and stakeholders, the department trained participants about the low cost production in organic farming, its health benefits and the advantages of producing healthy farm crops which are uncontaminated by synthetic chemicals, Apale said.

He highlighted on the advantage of producing organic food which are healthy food, one that sells high and which the youth can be encouraged to adopt.

“There are chemical residues in our food that bring harmful effects to our health, Apale added.

We are now trying to teach the young to eat healthy food and in so doing, also help protect also the environment,” Apale said.

In the Philippine organic farming 2017 data, from the total target of converting about 7 percent of its farms to organic food prduction areas, the country has attained 5.6 percent, said Sharmaine Sabandana of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP).

She also noted that “In different regions, we have champion commodities like organic rice or colored rice, cacao, high value crops, organic vegetables with value added products that are being produced like organic soap, shampoo, cosmetics and many more.”

Production of organic rice as a champion commodity is promising, because [demand is increasing so] production is increasing, she added.

All local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to support the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 to apportion five percent of the total agricultural areas to be converted into organic farms.


200 volunteers plant 3K native trees in NegOr

By Jennifer C. Tilos

EDC employee Geliah Taboco planted a balete tree with her son, Kian, to teach him the value of caring for the environment. (FA/PIA7-NegOr)

Over 200 volunteers from Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and its partners for a Greener Negros movement (10M in 10) celebrated BINHI and Arbor Day by planting 3,000 native tree seedlings at Brgy. Calabnugan, Sibulan, Negros Oriental.

EDC and its current and potential 10M in 10 partners planted balite, tabugay, taruy, talo-ot, pili, and kube trees in celebration of the two important occasions that are instrumental to the fulfillment of their commitment to grow back forests in Negros Island.

“The passion for environmental preservation of all our BINHI and 10M in 10 partners is truly admirable,” said Norreen Bautista, head of EDC’s Community Partnerships, External Relations, and Watershed Management Group in Negros Island.

Bautista said the huge turnout of volunteers indicate the Negrenses’ increasing awareness on the need to plant more native trees.”

Now on its 10 year, BINHI is EDC’s forest restoration program that aims to bring back to abundance premium endangered native trees and to bridge forest gaps through a holistic, scientific, and multi-pronged approach.

To date, the company has already planted over 6.3 million seedlings with the help of its 149 partners from 16 regions all over the country, said Baustista.

She added that more than 2.5 million of these were planted on over 3,000 hectares in Negros Island with the help of EDC’s over 30 BINHI local partners.

In 2016, EDC’s BINHI team identified, located, and collected 96 targeted threatened native tree species and have sought out ways to propagate them.

To do this, EDC has put up a state-of-the-art automated nursery called a Vegetative Materials Reproduction (VMR) facility in its 222.5MW geothermal project in Valencia, Negros Oriental that makes use of an automated mist irrigation system to give the right amount of mist and mimic the conditions of a natural forest habitat.

This VMR in Valencia will serve not only the need for native seedlings of EDC’s BINHI partners in the Visayas region but even that of its over 140 10M in 10 partners.

“We encourage those who are truly committed to protecting and restoring the forests of Negros Island to partner with us in this green revolution.  All these efforts are crucial in fighting climate change,” Bautista urged.

The geothermal leader, EDC is the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company and the only diversified renewable energy firm in the country.

The company has been powering Negros Island for over 35 years with geothermal energy, the only form of renewable energy that can provide baseload power 24/7.




‘PWD Got Talent’ highlights NDPR week celebration

By Leandria Pagunsan

In observance of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) week celebration on July 17-23, the Provincial Federation of Persons with Disabilities (PFPD) in Negros Oriental will showcase talents of persons with disabilities (PWD) through the “PWD Got Talent” at the Robinsons Mall, Dumaguete City on July 20, 2018.

In a recent meeting of Provincial Council for Disability Affairs (PCDA), Benemerita Badon of the Provincial Social Welfare Office (PSWDO) and focal for PFPD urged municipal social welfare officers to conduct NDPR activities at their level and discover talented PWDs for the provincial competition.

A cash prize of P3,000 will be awarded to the winner of the competition, according to Badon.

In a related development, Cathy Sedillo, Special Education (SPED) coordinator of Department of Education (DepEd), Negros Oriental Division reported that the department is fully implementing the inclusive education for special children.

According to Sedillo, teachers are well trained in handling basic intervention emphasizing lip reading for deaf and mute children and make them sit at the front rows so they can follow while the teacher is talking.

DepEd will also observe NDPR week celebration to recognize talents of special children.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through Bless De Padua disclosed that there is a livelihood assistance for PWDs.

PWDs who wish to avail of the program must register with DOLE as an organization for proper accreditation.

A representative from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that in line with the government’s implementation of accessibility law or Republic Act 7277 known as Magna Carta of Disabled Persons, they are strictly monitoring the compliance of ramps, grab bars, and hand rails in business establishments, hospitals and schools.

Badon also informed that on August 29-31, trainers from the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) will conduct sign language training for police stakeholders as they are the primary responders to crimes involving PWD victims and to testify through sign language in court.