Brewing soon in local cafes: Baslay coffee of Dauin

By Roi Lomotan

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Samples of Baslay coffee on display during the coffee brewing and tasting event. (PIA7-NegOr)

 

NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – The aroma of freshly brewed Baslay coffee will soon spread to the coffee shops in the capital city of Dumaguete or at resort cafés in the municipality of Dauin.

This after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Negros Oriental hosted a coffee brewing and tasting event in Dumaguete City recently to encourage local resort and café owners to buy and support the locally grown coffee.

“The purpose of this is to invite local resorts in Dauin and coffee shops to carry this coffee,” DTI SME Senior Trade and Industry Specialist Maribel Sumanoy said.

During the activity, resort and coffee owners were given a free taste of Baslay Coffee which comes in two varieties: Arabica and Robusta.

Sumanoy shared that in the 2nd Coffee Conference held in Baguio City, DTI sent samples of Baslay coffee to be evaluated and it had a high cupping grade which is good for specialty coffee.

Baslay coffee was cultivated by the Baslay Farmers Association (BFA), a recipient of DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) Project.

Last year, the DTI turned over units of dehaulers, depulpers, dehumidifiers, sorting tables to association and also sponsored trainings on coffee harvesting, dry method processing and understanding standards and grading system.

Sumanoy said that through these interventions, members will have a competitive edge and will be able to demand a better price when selling their coffee beans to the market.

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DTI-Negros Oriental Senior Trade and Industry Specialist Maribel Sumanoy stands beside a coffee maker that brews Baslay coffee. (PIA7-NegOr)

The coffee plantation is nestled near Mt. Talinis with an elevation of 800 meters above sea level up to 1,200 meters above sea level.

The development coffee plantation was a reforestation project of the Philippine National Oil Company (now Energy Development Corporation or EDC) to give livelihood assistance to former kaingineros in the area.

“Before 1984, we were all forest occupants. We were all forest destroyers of Baslay forests,” said BFA Adviser Ruel Perez.

Perez continued that sometime in 1984, they were organized into an informal group and in this process, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine National Oil Company started to realize that there is a prevailing problem with the community.

“Of course the destruction of the forest because we were practicing these destructive farming practices – we called it the maganas. You have to clear this forested area so you can plant corn and your first and second harvest will be adundant. Along the way, after 3 to 4 years, when there is a decline in harvest, you look for another area to deforest. That’s how we do it. It’s our way of life that is exhausting but there is no success,” Perez explained.

It was in 1986 when different government agencies and the New Zealand government gave the community a funding for agro-forestry project.

In 1988, the group was registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) making it a legitimate organization and in 1989 the BFA was launched with 135 founding members.

By 1992, the group was awarded a community forest stewardship agreement for 25 years and they were given the opportunity to manage and protect the forest of Baslay.

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BFA Adviser Ruel Perez delivering his message (PIA7-NegOr)
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Dauin Mayor Neil Credo delivers his message to Baslay coffee farmers. (PIA7-NegOr)

All those years, BFA was into coffee production and from being kaingineros, they eventually became coffee farmers and forest conservationists.

Perez said the group practices organic farming and they do not apply synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in their crops.

“Everything there, the animals, the birds they all contribute to the pollination that’s why our coffee has a very nice flavor coffee. Our coffee needs forest to grow and have a very nice flavor,” Perez said.

Sumanoy said BFA originally had a 70-hectare plantation and they had just had a 50-hectare expansion.

Perez disclosed they hope to cover a 300-hectare expansion in five years.

Meanwhile, Sumanoy disclosed that as of now, BFA has one buyer in based in Manila and that is the reason why DTI held the activity to help BFA introduce to the local market in Negros Oriental the Baslay Coffee.

“In Negros we don’t have a market yet. So we are introducing it. The trend today like in Bo’s Coffee is to carry in their coffee shops local coffee. They are carrying Mt. Apo, Benguet, and Kalinga Coffee. Now we are introducing themthat since you are in Dumaguete, you carry Baslay coffee,” Sumanoy said.

 

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DTI staff gives free taste of Baslay coffee to resort and cafe owners during the event. (PIA7-NegOr)

The DTI official added that they requested the farmer’s association to retain at least 20 percent of their produce for the consumption of local market here.

 

Sumanoy said that BFA was able to harvest 3,200 kilograms or 16,000 red cherries and then processed it to 3,200 green coffee beans last year.

He hopes that through this endeavor, local coffee shops and resorts will be encouraged to brew and serve local Baslay coffee. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

Feature: Economic empowerment first step to prevent women abuse

By Roi Lomotan

 

 

 

 

How do you empower women so they won’t become victims of different abuses? According to Marlene Pepino of Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. (VF), the first step is to lead them to opportunities where they can become economically productive.

Pepino stressed that economic empowerment is an important factor that can prevent women abuse.

“If you are economically stable or you have an income as a wife, mawala ang physical abuse.  We can say abuse can happen if you are too dependent on your husband. The first will be verbal abuse,” Pepino said.

“For me economic empowerment is very important. It is the core aspect that will prevent you from experiencing abuses like psychological, physical or emotional,” she added.

Although Pepino is actively involved in a non-government organization that fights human trafficking (she is currently a provincial coordinator for VF in Negros Oriental), she has not abandoned this advocacy on economic empowerment for women.

She knows how effective this is in empowering women and in helping them change their perspective on themselves because this is one of the greatest lessons she learned in her life.

The 64-year old revealed she was once a victim of abuse from her late husband who passed away six years ago. The two of them lived together for 35 years but she started experiencing abuse from him for 15 years.

Pepino explained that she lacked the courage to defend herself that time because she was not yet empowered.

“There were times I was struck in the head and called me some bad words. I think we can say it’s physcological, emotional abuse. I thought these acts were ordinary,” Pepino said.

The turning point in her life came two days after a major incident happened to her.  Her husband brought her three kids to her mother-in-law’s house where they will stay for few days. However, her youngest child, who was close to her, was able to get out of their grandmother’s house and returned to their home.

“Since he brought all the children’s things. I sent somebody to their house, my niece to fetch some clothes. The hurting part there was when my niece came back and she relayed their message: niingon sila wala ka’y pinalit sa gamit sa bata so dili sila mohatag (They said you did not buy any of the children’s things so they will not give it to you),” she said.

Didto ko (naka-realize). Wala man tuod ko’y contribution. I have not bought even a single panty or brief for my children because I was just a mere wife. Didto ko nasakitan ug maayo. Para nako, murag pagpapanawong na wala ka’y pulos (I realized I had no contribution for my children. I have not bought even a single panty or brief for my children because I was just a mere wife. I was really hurt. For me, it was telling straight to my face I have no use),” Pepino recounted.

After that incident, Pepino was determined to look for opportunities to earn money so she won’t have to depend on her husband to buy stuff for her kids. She also promised herself she will not allow him to hurt her again.

At first she sold dinuldog (a local version of guinataan), she turned to selling pot holders and other products made of textile recycling to stores.

Pepino then looked for an agency where she could apply for a loan. She was adviced to go the Department of Social Welfare and Development office. When she inquired there, she was informed that she can only apply for a loan if she becomes a member of Kalipunan ng mga Liping Pilipina (KALIPI).

When she became member of the women’s group, Pepino was able to borrow money from the organization and used it for her livelihood to help augment her income.

Pepino eventually became a president of KALIPI. She was an active officer of the group for more than nine years. She recounted that it was in her stint in KALIPI where she learned about women’s laws and women empowerment.

Even though Pepino is earning her own income, there were still attempts of physical abuse from husband. But at time, she already knew how to defend herself.

Pepino shared that since then up to the time her husband died, she was already financially independent.

Because of her story, Pepino would receive invitations to speak in various engagements every Women’s Month.

In 2014, she was one of the resource speakers of the local Kapihan sa PIA forum here where she shared her experience to participants of the forum.

Since the issue of economic empowerment is close to her heart, Pepino also shared her story to the members of Bantay Komunidad (BK) organization in Sitio Dumandan in Barangay Mayabon,  Zamboaguita town through a livelihood initiative called Ventures for Freedom.

Through this endeavor, Pepino was able to share to BK members, mostly composed of mothers of child laborers and other victims of abuse, her skill on sewing and textile recycling.“I teach them whatever skills I know which I am sure can bring income to them, including the access to materials I introduce it for free,” Pepino said.

Every month the group produces more than 1,000 pieces of textile products such as doormats and potholders. The group supplies these textile products to some local supermarkets in Dumaguete City and in other parts of the province.

Aside from the livelihood trainings, members also undergo orientation on different government programs like Social Security System (SSS) benefits and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) programs which they can access because they want them to be aware of government services they can utilize.

Pepino said that some the members of the group are already active members of SSS. However, the most rewarding in all of this is to see them regain their self-esteem and become economically productive.

With this, Pepino has this message for other women: “The only person that can help you is yourself. The change you want to achieve starts in you. The government has laid down its programs, services  and laws. It’s already there. If you want to access livelihood there are programs in other agencies. It’s up to you how to adopt, embrace and take action on it.” (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

P36M oxygen generator plant at NOPH inaugurated

By Roi Lomotan

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The P36 million oxygen generating plant inside the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital. (PIA7-NegOr)

DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – Governor Roel Degamo led the inauguration of the P36-M oxygen system generator plant inside the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) on January 11.

The facility was funded by the Department of Health (DOH) and was constructed in the middle of 2016.

In his message to the hospital staff and some officials of the provincial government at the inauguration ceremony, Degamo cited that establishing an oxygen generator plant is part of his goals as the local chief executive of the province in providing quality service to poor patients of the hospital.

He said the oxygen generator is 100 percent ready to supply oxygen to the rooms at the central bloc building of NOPH as per the recommendation of the contractor and the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO).

Aside from supplying oxygen to the patients of NOPH, Degamo also pointed out that the oxygen generator plant can provide additional revenues to the province since NOPH can also sell oxygen to other hospitals.

“Once we have our own oxygen (generator plant), we can sell oxygen to other hospitals at a lower cost. I will talk with economic managers on how much (rate) will be imposed per tank of oxygen but rest assured it will be lower than the price of oxygen we bought (from other sources). If we can make the price cheaper, I’m sure many will purchase it,” Degamo said.

“We are also targeting private hospitals. I know there are no oxygen generator plants in Dumaguete and also in other areas in southern Cebu and Northern Mindanao,” he added.

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Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo turns over the key of responsibility and management of the P36 million oxygen generating plant to new head of Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) Dr. Marc Angelo Llosa.
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Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo gives a message to some staff of the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) and officials of the provincial government during the inauguration of the P36 million oxygen generating plant inside the NOPH compound on Jan. 11

However, the governor declared that oxygen tanks will be sold at a lower price to community and district hospitals in Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, Degamo also revealed that aside from the oxygen generator plant, an MRI equipment is installed at NOPH.

The province is also eyeing a new CT scan machine to be in place in the hospital within the year.

With this development, the governor told the hospital staff to take care of the facility and also encouraged them to work harder and provide good service to the patients of NOPH.

“My appeal to all employees of the hospital; let us work hard. Let us serve the people in a manner that that the people we serve are happy and satisfied (with our service),” Degamo stressed.

Aside from spearheading the inauguration of the oxygen generator plant, Degamo also officiated the turnover of leadership of NOPH from outgoing head Dr. Zenaida Jusep to its new leader Dr. Marc Angelo Llosa. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Jan. 12, 2017)