Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte is one of the most popular destinations for urban dwellers especially those coming from Metro Manila. Whether on a long road trip with friends or a back pack adventure through public buses, the journey is an adventure by itself and the destination, all worth the effort.
On a good day, Pagudpud is 10 hours drive from Metro Manila, if you go through the more scenic through the North Luzon Express Way â€“ Pangasinan â€“ Ilocos corridor in the west of Luzon island. The town of 17,000 people is known for its breathtaking beaches which are still inconsiderably unaduletarted and its closeness to nature. A great escape indeed from the hectic life and the smog of the metropolis.
Most people go to Pagudpud bringing tents, but there is already a sprawling line of decent pension houses, inns and family hotels run by local folks like the popular Saud beach resort. If you want five-star accommodations, there is none in Pagudpud, but if want to sit back and blend into the rural laid-back charm of a community of friendly Ilocanos then this place is for you.
Unlike other beach destinations, Pagudpud ius more than the beach. Yeah, there is swimming, boarding even kayaking but the town offers more than a tan. It brings out the warmth of the local people seen through the rows of towering coconut trees, humble nipa hut homes and the local sari-sari stores when you can have a small barn talk with the locals.
The trip to Pagudpud is not uneventful. A road trek through the Ilocos provinces will bring you to historic towns like in Tarlac or in Vigan, Laoag and the land of the Marcoses, Batac. You can even drop by the world-famous Bangui wind turbines, the town just before Pagudpud. For public commuters Farinas Lines or Philippine Rabbit buses from Cubao can bring you to Laoag or Tugegarao in Cagayan, which is just a tricycle ride away from the paradise of Pagudpud.
Ilocos means great food so do not forget to drop by popular restaurants like Preciosa in Laoag or even the common pop and pop eateries you pass by along the highway.
Pagudpud is indeed an escape. And, along with the towns and the people around it, become a wonderful paradise for the weary urbanite.
Few beach destinations in the country offer more than the crystal-clear water and the sand. There is only one island perhaps than can transport one from the tropical paradise of the beach and into a time-warp right into the heart of Spanish Catholic Philippines. That island is Bantayan.
Bantayan got its name ater its role in during the Spanish time, a guard post for marauding Moros attacking Christian towns in the Visayas. Aging watchtowers can still be seen especially in some parts of the island.
Now sitting peacefully surrounded by progress and modernity, Bantayan continues to lay back to its old Philippine charm and the embrace of the warm people of the island, while welcoming the throng of tourists out to experience the unique offering of its one-of-a-kind island.
These days, perhaps Bantayan is known for its â€œfiestaâ€ during Good Friday â€“ a traditional solemn day for pious and mourning for Christians. It is not actually a celebration. Not in this solidly Catholic island. Pope Leo XII gave a special exemption for the people of Bantayan so they can eat pork on Good Friday at the end of the traditional religious procession. As fishermen refuse to go out to sea for religious considerations, there is no fish and therefore nothing else to eat but pork. Known for his conservatism, Pope Leo XII did this one thing right. In fact, a copy of the order can still be seen inside the museum in the Peter and Paul Church in the heart of Bantayan town.
The procession on Good Friday is an event on itself. Old families from the island own one carriage depicting a point in the life of Jesus Christ and on Good Friday, this old neighborhood rivalry comes out into the open (in a good way, of course) as families try to outdo each other for the brightest, most colorful (and most followed by the crowd) carriage. Children are also dressed by their parents into the traditional garb of saints, to ask the saint to watch over the child. This is a sight to see indeed. The feast follows after the procession.
Economically, Bantayan is known as the egg basket of Cebu with its huge poultry farms. The famous danggit (dried fish) of Cebu is also produced en masse in the island.
For many travelers and beach lovers, Bantayan is a special island where relaxation, culture and history are rolled into one.
The Philippine military is confident of the eventual collapse of the communist insurgency in the country, citing its membersâ€™ loss of confidence, fatigue and lack of financial support from its erstwhile backers.
This was reported during the round table discussion on the state of the Maoist armed movement in the Philippines held at the headquarters of the Armed Forces â€“ Camp Aguinaldo.
According to Brig. Gen. Francisco Cruz, chief of the AFP’s Civil Relations Service said the NPA, its umbrella organization the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front continue to lose members because of the effort of the national government to weaken its support particularly in the countryside.
He said the NPAâ€™s tag as a terrorist organization is also wreaking damage on the organization as the public continues to lose faith in the armed struggle.
Cruz, however, said the CPP-NPA may resort to more dangerous mutations such as becoming a full-fledged terrorist organization targeting civilians and soft targets as well as becoming a criminal organization to raise money and survive as a group.
Better options are for members of the armed movement of the communist party to lay down their arms and surrender, to take advantage of the governmentâ€™s various amnesty and livelihood programs or join the political arena to push their legitimate causes.
Other speakers during the event were Miriam Coronel Ferrer, a professor of the University of the Philippines professor and lead convenor of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Sulong CARHRIHL) and Executive Director Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) to give a political and social perspective on the matter.
The event was organized by the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR). More than 100 guests from the government, private sector, diplomatic corps, academe, private security management sector, business sector, media and other civic entities joined the affair.
Meanwhile, Ferrer said that the communists’ growing practical pragmatism is making it survive. She said there is a trend for CPP/NPA/NDF political officers to join the political arena, joining political parties and running for office. Some even join the ranks of politicians which Maoists once opposed violently.
Casiple said the communist part and its armed wing, the NPA is now on a crossroad â€“ whether to become a viable movement, a political movement or an irrelevant movement. He said the communists can either drop their firearms and join politics to push their political agenda or continue an armed revolution in the rural areas.
One of the most popular destinations in the Philippines is the island of Bohol. For year 2009,Â Â Bohol had a 13.08 percent growth rate with 238,745 tourist arrivals, making it as one of the most visited places in Central Visayas Region of the Philippines.Â The accessibility of Bohol from Cebu (Philippinesâ€™ major point of destination after Manila) through hourly trips of various sea vessels make Bohol as a major side trip of travelling visitors in Central Visayas. Also, the existence of an airport in its capital, Tagbilaran City, makes Bohol as easy access for vacation trips from travelers across the globe.
Bohol is located at the center of the Philippines as one of the provinces of the Central Visayas Region (the tourist capital of the country). Aside from Bohol, the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor complete the entire Central Visayas Region. Its land area of 4117.3 square kilometers makes this island province as the tenth largest island of the Philippines. Tagbilaran City is the capital of Bohol where almost all commercial establishments and business centers are found in this city.
Meanwhile, Bohol takes pride of its abundant natural resources, rich culture and history, and warmth of its people, the Boholanos.Â With this, it is no wonder that Bohol is now one of Philippinesâ€™ major tourist destinations.
Places to Visit in Bohol
Chocolate Hills. Considered as one of the natural wonders of the world, Chocolate Hills is an spot in Carmen, Bohol characterized by dome-land formations (hills) which turn color brown during summer season. On rainy season, the hills are covered with green color as vegetation replaces the dry land of summer. The view of more than a thousand chocolate hills, which look like chocolate kisses, in one setting is considered by many tourists and even locals as simply breathtaking.Â Â It takes an hour drive from Tagbilaran City to reach Chocolate Hills through vans-for-hire.
Loboc River Cruise. Another popular tourist destination in Bohol is its Loboc River Cruise where floating restaurants offer buffet lunch and dinner with musical entertainment during the 45-minute trip. Motor bancas, with a capacity of 100 persons, are used in the river cruise. In this trip, people can experience the tranquil and clean Loboc River with its rich vegetations around it.Â During the trip, the cruise makes some stopovers in river banks where awaiting group of children sing and dance to entertain the guests.Â During night time cruise, the ambience is romantic where subdued lights in the surroundings give a reflection of the river.
Tarsier Watching.Â Another highlight during a Bohol tour is a visit to Boholâ€™s tarsiers. These endangered small creatures can be seen live as tourists can also take pictures of it. As most of the sayings in Bohol go â€“ a trip to Bohol will not be completed without an encounter with the tarsiers.
Island and Balicasag Adventure. The white sand beaches in Panglao speak of Boholâ€™s rich marine resources and water adventures. Tourists always frequent the various beach resorts in Panglao because of the â€œuncorruptedâ€ natural resources and waters in the area. Also, whale watching in nearby Balicasag Island is another famous tourist spot in Bohol where people can enjoy not just the sparkling Bohol bluewaters but also the site of whales frolicking in the ocean. Whale watching is made possible through motorized boats for hire.
Danao Adventure Park. Located 72-km away from Tagbilaran City, the Danao Adventure Park is the newest tourism spot in Bohol. The place takes pride on the various eco-adventures that do not only showcase the rich forests of Danao, but also the world-class equipment and skills of the adventure park that can compete internationally when it comes to extreme sports.Â The Danao Adventure Park includes zip line adventure (the tallest and longest in the Philippines), cliff plunge, river trekking, sky riding, kayaking, and many more.
Going To Bohol
Bohol can be reached through a two-hour fast craft ride from Cebu City. Roll-on and Roll-off boats are also available for those who prefer the slow trip in waters. Local flights are also available from Manila to Tagbilaran City.
The abovementioned tourist destinations are just few of the many spots in Bohol where people can appreciate the natural wonders of Mother Earth. The Chocolate Hills is enough proof how blessed this province when it comes to natural wonders.Â Meanwhile, what truly make Bohol now as one of Philippinesâ€™ tourist havens is the Boholanos themselves whose cooperation with their local government unit is exemplary.Â The involvement of its people in making their province a world-class destination is very evident. Also, as a former insurgency stricken province, Bohol now is an insurgency free province which further makes it as a preferred tourist destination. With its peaceful environment as well as its â€œuncorruptedâ€ natural resources and aÂ touch of rural rawness in its urban centers, Bohol is indeed worth travelling.
All of the provinces and cities of the Philippines are now preparing for the coming election this May 10, 2010. People are now thinking who to vote, especially for our president. Have you already, decided who to vote?
We have 9 presidential candidates for the 2010 election that in which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accepted. They are:
- Senator Benigno â€œNoynoyâ€ Aquino III in Liberal Party – He is Â correlated with the Â group of the Liberal Part which he goes up against the Â administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, mentioning the â€œhuman rights violationsâ€.
- Former President Joseph â€œErapâ€ Estrada para sa Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino – Â is associated itself with other political parties to create Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino or LAMMP (Struggle of the Patriotic Filipino Masses)
- Senator Manuel â€œMannyâ€ Villar for Nacionalista Party â€“ With his well-liked campaign line “Sipag at Tyaga” which means Hardwork and Patience. Villarâ€™s operation program includes opposing poverty and corruption, the two foremost problems between which he supposes has a strong linkage.
- Senator Richard â€œDickâ€ Gordon for Bagumbayan â€“ As for him our nation needs a leader and not just for political character. Our nation needs a leader with a vision, competence and track record in order to have a peace and good and one nation. We need leaders to know what our country needs right now and must know how to prioritize among those needs and must know how every essential need should be concentrated on.
- Senator Jamby Madrigal â€“ Independent – She wants to keep a record into the areas of education and learning, gender quality, authorization, anti-trafficking and anti-pornography. She has also authored bills on the security and protection of the native people with their ancestral territory and as well as the safety and preservation of the environment and situation.
- Former DND Secretary Gilbert â€œGiboâ€ Teodoro para sa Lakas-Kampi-CMD - Working and functioning together and has a good participation Â suggests it to be the best chance of helping and making it better for our country and this would be a good start of our country and to the people as well.
- Eddie Villanueva of Jesus Is Lord Movement for Bangon Pilipinas – He is the presidential candidate that hasnâ€™t spent much of his campaigns as it was really donated by his followers and friends. He has a different leadership, and, according to him, he called his leadership to be righteous leadership and this is certainly based on a biblical passage, â€œrighteousness exalts nationâ€ and he wants the Philippines to be the third largest Roman Catholic nation in the world.
- John Carlos de los Reyes para sa Ang Kapatiran – He is presently prioritizing the institutionalization of the Barangay Human Rights Action Centers, the office mandated by law for the protection and prevention of human rights violations in the barangay.
- Nicanor “Nick” Perlas – Independent â€“ He proposed a program that would focus on effective or efficient tax collection with no corruption, and he would also like to state and to have e a double counting in order that people would see and believe that there would be no corruption.
So, who do you think is the best leader for our country? Your vote will be a change. Vote wisely.
The local Villalon family bought out the stake of its partner, real estate giant Landco Pacific Corp., in the 210-hectare Monterazzas de Cebu high-end mountain resort community project paving the way for an all Cebuano development and management team for the property.
The president and chairman of the family holding company Genvi Development Corp., renowned architect Augusto Villalon, said they decided to take over the project as they felt an all Cebuano team can manage the project better because they can understand market and deliver commitments faster.
â€œWe believe that a project of this scale should be and can be done by Cebuanoâ€™s,â€ Villalon said. â€œAt last and finally the project is a 100-percent Cebuano endeavor.â€
He maintained the takeover was a mutual decision and the terms were amicably settled.
The erstwhile joint-venture involved a 60-40 stake between property owners Genvi and developer Landco. The subdivisionâ€™s 72-hectare phase 1 had been pre-selling since 2007 and has since raised close to P1 billion in sales, almost half of it from 2009. Its north ridge phase has already been sold out.
The project covers several majestic peaks in barangay Guadalupe with the best commanding view overlooking Cebu City.
Villalon said Genvi compensated Landco for its expenses but refused to reveal the amount as it is prohibited in their agreement. Landco will also stay as project consultants for an indefinite period of time. However, several of Landcoâ€™s personnel including sales, marketing and technical officers in Cebu have transferred to Genvi.
The agreement signed between Villalon and Landco chief executive officer Alfred Xerez-Burgos was filed before the Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board on Februrary 12. The takeover was formally announced to sellers and brokers this week.
Although not a rookie in the real estate business, this is the first time Genvi will venture into a large scale project development. Villalon said, however, that they will keep the concept and standards Landco has set on the project. He also promised that the company will hire the best people to man the development work.
â€œWe will try to make this the greenest subdivision in the country,â€ he said.
The company is set to roll a P300 million development plan for the next 30 months to be funded by capital from the family and from several financing institutions.
Genvi vice president Marga Villalon said they understand the marketâ€™s apprehension on the capability of the company.
â€œThe proof is in the delivery of the things we promise we will do. It now lies within us to show we are able and capable to deliver to the standards that are expected of us,â€ she said.
The law which was enacted by president Arroyo last March 23 clarifies intellectual property (IP) procedures that used to weigh down the commercialization of technologies in the country. It also defines the framework and support system for the ownership, management, use, and commercialization of IP derived from government-funded research and development (R&D), a long-time clamor of scientists who feared their discoveries will be pried away from their hands by unscrupulous market players.
Intellectual property (IP), as defined by the new law, refers to the â€œtangible assets resulting from the creative work of an individual or an organization,â€ including creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.
The new law essentially spells out guiding principles on several issues that used to hamper the commercialization of technology, such as ownership, sharing, and use of revenue, among others.
â€œThe law facilitates and systematizes the transfer of technology or knowledge from the laboratory to market,â€ says Dr. Albert Aquino, head of the Tech-Transfer Technical Working Committee of the Department of Science and Technology.
Previously, research outputs take a long time before reaching the public as a tangible product because of policy gaps. For example, ownership of a research output then, was a big issue between researchers involved, research institution where the research was done, funding agency, and all other bodies that supported the research in various ways.
The absence of standard procedures compelled concerned individuals and institutions to enter an agreement that spelled out percentage of ownership of everyone involved, as well as royalty fees.
Just like the preparation of any other legal documents, finalizing of agreements was quite complicated and took much time and effort. Such condition slowed down the transfer of knowledge or developed technologies to technology adaptors or venture capitalists and, subsequently, to end users.
RA 10055 puts an end to ownership questions by investing the IP ownership to the research and developments institution (RDI) that performed the research. According to the Act, RDIs are in a better position to identify the potential for economic use of IPs and IP rights as they have the â€œright skills and management capability.â€Â The Act, however, exempts RDIs with previously written agreements on the sharing, limiting, waiving, and assigning of IP and IP rights ownership.
Likewise, the Act defines the rights and responsibilities of government funding agencies and RDIs, management of IPs, revenue sharing, commercialization and establishment of spin-off firms, use and compulsory licensing of technologies, use of income, establishment of mechanisms, and others.
ABS-CBN and GMA shows continue to clash with the ratings’ game and as their TV shows become more interesting with regards to their storyline, ratings and rankings have proven their popularity among TV viewers. According to AGB, â€œAgua Benditaâ€ continues to obtain prime time supremacy in the TV ratings in Mega Manila. It still occupies the number one spot in with an average rating of 31.6% from Monday to Wednesday, which is 5% higher than its counterpart â€œPanday Kidsâ€ which acquired an average rating of 26.6% to place it at the fourth spot. The storyline and family issues tackled in â€œAgua Benditaâ€ may have been the reason for its lead. It has been leading the TV ratings’ game for the fourth consecutive week already and shows no signs of weakening as the story continues to unfold and gets more exciting.
While ABS-CBN occupied the top spot, GMAâ€™s â€œThe Last Princeâ€ comes close at the second spot with an average rating of 29.0%. This fantasy-theme series got an average that is 1.3% higher than ABS-CBNâ€™s heavy drama â€œKung Tayoâ€™y Magkakalayoâ€ which garnered 27.7% average for Monday and Wednesday. It did not air last Tuesday because of some technical problems. â€œKTMâ€ and â€œDivaâ€ both occupied the third spot as this comedy from GMA also got a rating of 27.7%. Divaâ€™s light story and appealing spills contributed in the increase in its TV ratings despite its times lot. It even ranked second last Monday with 29.7%, 3.5% lower than â€œAgua Benditaâ€.
Coming in at the fifth slot is â€œQueen Seon Deokâ€, a Korean series acquired by GMA, which has been aired for quite a long time already at the last slot of the GMA Telebabad block. Despite being aired late at night it still managed to achieve an average rating of 25.2%. Its historical and cultural theme and good portraying actors have greatly contributed to the popularity of this series and gained a lot of followers in Mega Manila. QSD had been consistently beating its rival â€œRubiâ€, which is an adaptation of a Mexican series. â€œRubiâ€ only got an average of 18.5%, which is relatively low in comparison to its rival placing it at a far ninth place.
At the sixth slot is ABS-CBNâ€™s newscast â€œTV Patrol Worldâ€ with an average rating of 25.0%. Mega Manila viewers have consistently tuned in to TVP for the last three days as it continues to be superior to GMAâ€™s â€œ24 Orasâ€ which only got a 23.3% average rating tying with ABS-CBNâ€™s drama â€œHabang May Buhayâ€ placing both shows at the seventh spot. Placing eighth is ABS-CBNâ€™s reality show â€œPinoy Big Brother: Teen Clash of 2010â€. PBBâ€™s weekday rating is yet to surpass the previous edition as it fails to generate a higher TV rating. It only got an average of 22.6% consistently losing to Diva and QSD. â€œTanging Yamanâ€ made it into the top ten with an average rating of 16.6% better than First Timeâ€™s 15.6%. â€œFirst Timeâ€ failed to enter the top ten.
Here is a summary of the average primetime TV ratings as computed from AGBâ€™s daily ratings last April 19 to 21, 2010:
- Agua Bendita -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 31.6%
- The Last Prince -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 29.0%
- Kung Tayoâ€™y Magkakalayo/ Diva – Â Â Â Â 27.7%
- Panday Kids -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 26.6%
- Queen Seon Deok -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 25.2%
- TV Patrol World -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 25.0%
- 24 Oras/ Habang May Buhay -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 23.9%
- PBB -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 22.6%
- Rubi -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 18.5%
- Tanging Yaman -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 16.6%
In the daytime race last Monday to Wednesday, ABS-CBNâ€™s talent show Showtime and noontime show Wowowee occupied the top two spots according to AGB Mega Manila based on average. Showtime continues to reign supreme, beating its rivals at a sharp margin. Showtime got an average of 17.0% and has been winning the battle in its timeslot for months now. Surely, the performances of the contestants and the comments of the judges continue to fascinate Mega Manila viewers. Wowowee on the other hand, got 16.7% not far from the third placer, Eat Bulaga, which acquired an average of 16.3%.
GMAâ€™s afternoon drama soaps â€œGumapang Ka Sa Lusakâ€ and â€œIna Kasusuklaman Ba Kita?â€ also continues to excite afternoon viewing and both series placed fourth and fifth respectively. Both shows consistently lead the ratings game beating their rivals. On the other hand, Daisy Siyeteâ€™s current offering Adam or Eve consistently loses to Wowowee, but it still generated an average rating of 12.3% to occupy the sixth spot. ABS-CBNâ€™s afternoon drama â€œMagkano ang Iyong Dangalâ€ got a relatively low rating in comparison to GMAâ€™s afternoon soaps. It occupied the seventh spot. Placing eighth is in the daytime race is â€œFamily Feudâ€ GMAâ€™s afternoon game show. It won last Tuesday and Wednesday against â€œLove Me Againâ€ which settled at the ninth spot. Completing the list is â€œDiz Iz Itâ€ which got a 7.7% average rating. PBB: Uber, Pilipinas Got More Talent and Wipeout fail to enter the daytime top ten.
Here is a summary of the average daytime TV ratings as computed from AGBâ€™s daily ratings last April 19 to 21, 2010:
- Showtime -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 17.0%
- Wowowee -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 16.7%
- Eat Bulaga -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 16.3%
- Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak â€“ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 13.5%
- Ina Kasusuklaman Ba Kita? â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 12.8%
- Daisy Siyete: Adam or Eve â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 12.3%
- Magkano Ang Iyong Dangal? â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â 10.4%
- Family Feud -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10.9%
- Love me Again -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10.0 %
- Diz Iz It -Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 7.7%
To prevent further conflict between opposing parties and to ensure long lasting peace in Mindanao, the signing of the peace agreement between the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines ((GRP) should be put on hold first. This was the claim of Cotabato Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, who stated his foresights on the possible chaos that might result from the signing of the peace pact wherein such may also adversely affect on the holding of peaceful elections in Mindanao this coming May 10 election. According to Bishop Colin, details in the peace agreement might spark again controversies and erring views especially among those who are against the creation of the Bangsamoro.
Meanwhile, Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary and GRP Representative to the GRP-MILF Peace Process Rafael Seguis said that the newly revised proposal of the GRP to the peace process can be easily understood and showed equal advantages for both parties involved. With this, a positive output from this peace agreement can be expected.
Meanwhile, many Filipinos are hoping that a genuine peace agreement will be forged the soonest between GRP and MILF as this will help resolve the centuriesâ€™ old conflict in Mindanao, which has been primarily dominated on the desire of most Muslims in the area to create a separate.
The GRP-MILF Peace Process
It has been almost eight years now that the peace process between GRP and MILF has been laid out on a table. In this timeframe, there have been lots of incidents that tested the strength and the sustainability of the peace process.
As a back grounder, it was in 1997 that the peace process between MILF and GRP started â€“ a leap in policymaking that gave light to the seemingly never-ending conflicts in Mindanao. It was in 1999 that the rules and procedures of the peace process were finalized by both parties. In 2000, the peace talk was at a halt due to an all-out war against the MILF. In 2001, both parties agreed for the resumption of the peace talk. In 2003, the GRP canceled the process upon knowing that the MILF was the one to be blamed on two bombing incidents in Davao City during that year. The same year, MILF Chief Commander Hashim Salamat died due to heart attack. In 2003, the peace talk again resume in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During this time, the peace talk went smoothly until the issue of ancestral domain was mostly debated upon in 2007. In 2008, a Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was signed.
The Issue on Ancestral Domain
Although one can say that the GRP-MILF Peace Talks had withstood all the low points of the peace process due to emerging armed conflicts in between, the incident in 2008 was probably the lowest and most controversial for the GRP-MILF Peace Talks. The said MOA-AD was junked by the Supreme Court, declaring the agreement as unconstitutional. Such attention given by Supreme Court on the MOA-AD was prompted by the series of oppositions from both the government and private sectors that mainly cited on the unconstitutionality in having a separate Bangsamoro state. The MILF, on the other hand, agreed with the MOA-AD.
Because of the injunction of the Supreme Court on the MOA-AD as null due to its unconstitutionality, some MILF base commanders were outraged to the point of conducting inhumane killings of innocent civilians and indiscriminate burning of houses in Lanao Del Norte. MILF rogue base commander Umbra Kato and Bravo were said to be the main perpetrators of these crimes. Such incident led to the all-out war against these MILF commanders as it also sparked as well animosities among Christians in Mindanao against the Muslims.
Long Lasting Peace in Mindanao
Despite the many setbacks and _ bloodshed brought upon by the GRP-MILF Peace Talks, the peace process was resumed and has been going on until to this date.Â With the upcoming May 10 elections, however, it was suggested by many that the planned signing of a peace agreement should be put on hold for the meantime as the results of which might spark anew enormous oppositions, which can adversely affect on the holding of honest and orderly elections. Also, with the poor popularity rating of President Gloria Macapagal â€“ Arroyo, some political experts said that it is best that the signing of the peace agreement will be handled by the new upcoming president.
Meanwhile, it can be surmised that the conflict in Mindanao has go beyond the political strata as such has been there already for a long time, a so-called fixation.Â It can be said that the social problems that beset the area, poverty for one, are the forefronts why there is no lasting peace in the area. Also, the division between Muslims and Christians in Mindanao can be traced back to history. This will be a challenge for the next president of the country â€“ to iron out old traditions that create divisions among two great religions in the area, and unite it with modern yet equal perspectives.
On the presence of secessionists such as MILF, it can be solved if they have sustainable livelihoods where they can focus their attention with.
The Philippines is a country rich in many natural resources. It consists of more than seven thousand islands and is surrounded by vast waters with many aquatic animals and plants that become good sources of food and other basic necessities. Other countries are not as lucky as we are when it comes to these resources but the present condition of the Filipino people contradicts these facts. Instead of moving forward towards prosperity and advancement, our country is stuck in a condition that is slowly affecting every Filipinoâ€™s lives. Other countries in the world that were at the same level with the Philippines in the last decades have already reached peaks of economic growth and improvement leaving the country behind usually placing it at the bottom part of the list.
There are a lot of reasons why people in our country live in poverty despite the abundant resources present. The most common reason is the attitude of the people towards the environment and the lack of knowledge regarding the proper care for these resources. Many people usually fail to see beforehand the long term effects of present actions and this poses a threat to our supposed riches. Dynamite fishing and quarrying are some of the common activities here in the Philippines and these greatly diminish the assets that we could use in order to save ourselves from the difficulties brought about by poverty. These resources might not be enough to supplement and benefit each Filipino, but it will greatly help in our survival. Our resources are important aspects of our existence, and if we maximize these resources it might just save us from poverty.
According to statistics, many Filipinos are unemployed and underemployed and this is one of the major reasons why there are more people in the Philippines living in poverty. Poverty is a major problem in the country that is very difficult to resolve due to a lot of circumstances. Every year, families that characterized themselves as poor greatly increase in number. These people state that they are not earning enough for their family and their salary is not sufficient to support themselves and pay for their basic necessities. Prices of basic goods and other commodities have greatly climbed as compared in the previous decades but the distressing part is that the salary of an ordinary worker in the Philippines remained stationary despite the abrupt increase. Because of this, the number of families living in poverty has also increased but many Filipinos find ways to help themselves and free them from the wrath of poverty. More and more Filipinos leave the country of hopes of having brighter opportunities in other countries. They embark on a journey that involves a lot of risks and with no assurance of a better life abroad. They endure the pain of leaving their loved ones and deal with the loneliness just to earn more for their families. If some are lucky enough to find fine jobs with good pay abroad, there are still many families in the country that are unable to buy their own meals and greatly rely on alms giving and programs of the government and NGOâ€™s. These people usually are left with no option but to do things that are prohibited by the law. Most criminals that rob banks and snatch items from people usually have one reason of doing so, poverty. They do these things just to have something in their dining table and satisfy their craving for food that they cannot afford to buy.
Education is usually a key in achieving our goals as individuals and this is our passport to a better life ahead. This equips us with the things that we should acquire in order to become a successful individual in the near future but many are not privileged to enjoy and experience the excitement of going to school and learning new things. There are many children who spend long hours in the streets working and trying to earn money instead of reading books and going to school. This is an effect of poverty in our country. These children are dying to experience going to school but because of their situation, they are forced to work to help their parents despite laws forbidding children to do so. The government may have programs that offer free education to these poor angels but many parents living in poverty would opt not to send their children to school because of many other expenses for school supplies like notebook and pencils. Oftentimes, achievers from different fields are from poverty, and they strived hard to achieve their dreams no matter what. Those who cannot afford become scholars because of good grades and eventually graduate and find a well-off job. This is a good example that every individual should remember and follow. Despite the unending poverty that many Filipinos experience, there is still hope for change and improvement.