Coming to its own

Posted by cybermagic | 8/20/2007 08:00:00 AM

By Edgardo J. Angara published at Manila Bulletin on August 19, 2007

BALER, AURORA — Today, we celebrate the founding anniversary of my hometown Baler in Aurora Province.

Baler and the rest of Aurora are associated with raw and rugged attractions, lushness and pristine beauty. Those who have visited this side of the Pacific would know that our coastline is one of our best attractions, offering variety in the character and quality of its beaches.

Having spent my childhood in Baler, I grew up in this flourishing environment of rich forests, immense tracts of fertile land and vast coasts teeming with aquatic life. This is where I learned to truly appreciate the land.

Over the last few days, we inaugurated key development projects in Baler and Casiguran in the areas of agriculture, education and skills training, livelihood, infrastructure, and culture and history.

The Baler Coco Fiber Processing Plant makes it possible to turn coco husk into coco fiber and coco peat, which will provide additional livelihood to coconut farmers. The Aurora Technological Institute (ATI) will create a pool of skilled workers through technical and vocational programs which include Personal Computer Operation, Computer Hardware Servicing, Consumer Electronics, Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Shielded Metal Arc Welding. The Coffee Research and Development Center supports coffee development in Aurora, one of the top producers of coffee beans in the country, through training and research.

The 321-hectare Mariculture Park in Casiguran promotes fish cage farming to culture milkfish and other economically viable species such as grouper, siganids, and snapper, thereby sustaining our seas’ productivity and arresting resource depletion.

We also unveiled a bronze sculpture of Manuel L. Quezon in front of the Museo de Baler, to pay tribute to a great President and our province’s pride and joy. The kubo where he was born and spent his early years was refurbished into a museum shop which sells the finest sabutan handicrafts unique to Aurora.

Baler and the rest of Aurora’s bountiful resources and beautiful people prove its potential for growth and development. Through these development efforts, we look forward to watching the growth of Aurora as a model for rural development and a province coming to its own.

Governor issues stern warning to local officials

Posted by cybermagic | 8/16/2007 05:10:00 PM

Orders DENR to go after officials engaged in illegal logging
By ARIEL P. AVENDAÑO published in Manila Bulletin on August 16, 2007

DINGALAN, Aurora – Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo issued yesterday a stern warning to local officials against engaging in illegal activities.

The governor was reacting to reports that at least three newly elected officials are attempting to assemble a mobile mini bandsaw mill in Barangay Paltic here.

A mobile mini band sawmill is a movable equipment being used by smugglers in processing flitches of illegally cut logs.

Its use is intended to conceal the illegal activities and avoid detection by personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Castillo, who inspected the area where a footbridge is to be constructed over Langawan River, directed provincial environment chief Benjamin Miña and district environment head Meliton Vicente to run after local officials who are engaged in illegal logging.

The visibly irked governor said that she will help in the prosecution of any local official who is found to engage in any illegal activities.

"There are no sacred cows in my administration," Castillo said, hinting that the concerned local officials, were her partymates in the recent election.

Earlier, Castillo stopped the transport of at least two trucks loaded with hundreds of sacks of charcoal, after she noted that the owners have no pertinent document covering the shipiment.

Reiterating her policy against illegal logging, gambling, and drugs, Castillo said she was embarrassed by the involvement of some local officials here in controversies in the previous years.

These had caused a black mark in the image of the province, she said.

She was referring to the cases involving some local officials here.

One such case is about the involvement of then town mayor Jaime Ylarde in the murder of a weekly newspaper pubisher.

In August last year, then councilor, now Vice Mayor Edgar Liu was implicated in the operation of a multi-million-peso shabu laboratory in Barangay Butas na Bato here which was raided by the authorities.

Liu admitted having brokered for the acquisition of the lot where the shabu lab was built in behalf of four Chinese nationals who were arrested during the raid.

Also last year, town Councilor Majalia Tabanguil nearly got killed when her car met an accident while tailing a cargo truck loaded with a huge volume of lumber.

"I will not allow the development which is now taking place in the province to be tarnished by the wrongdoings of corrupt local officials," Castillo said, reporting that economic growth is now beginning to be felt here.

She also noted the inclusion of Aurora in the as sites of special economic zone which was mentioned in the state-of-thenation address of President Arroyo last month.

Huge Korean presence hardly benefits Pinoys

Posted by cybermagic | 8/09/2007 01:26:00 PM

Excerpts from: Huge Korean presence hardly benefits Pinoys
By Rene Q. Bas,

I think the popularity of the Philippines to Koreans as the place to learn English in is just a carry over of the Korean War.

In the times when we were the best friend of the South Koreans, I had classmate who came to study in the Philippines. One of my best friends in college was Bong Oh Cha, who I have been trying to trace for decades without any luck.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, who spoke at Kookmin University in September 2006, said these words which are still completely true today:

“The political alliance between the Philippines and South Korea goes a long way back. In fact, the government in Manila was among the first to send troops to the Korean peninsula to defend the South against the invasion from the communist North during the Cold War era.

“Today, Korea is the most important source of tourists for the Philippines. In popular tourist places such as Boracay, Bohol, Cebu or Palawan, the Koreans have become regulars. And apart from short-stay tourists, the estimated number of South Koreans who choose to permanently live in our country now stands at 46,000.

Angara recalled that Koreans began migrating to the Philippines in the 1950s when Korean students came here in great numbers to study business, science, economics, political science and agriculture.

Angara also said that many Koreans actually come to the Philippines today in order to learn English either in universities or in one of the numerous private language schools. He noted that some of these language centers even cater exclusively to Korean students.

Koreans indeed have decided that the Philippines is best halfway house in their eventual progress to become students or residents in the United States.

The Philippines has received some Korean cultural influences. The most recent of these is the Philippine passion for Korean-made telenovelas shown on primetime TV.

Angara intimately knows about the Korean government’s support of the country’s development effort to educate illiterates through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Angara said that KOICA has been instrumental in the efforts to put up a “Digital Village” in Aurora province where farmers can use the Internet to access information by computer. These pieces of information include the prices of goods, land records, weather forecasts, local government database and other agricultural knowledge support.

“Imagine if every province was connected to each other through a computer network where information could be downloaded in seconds. Think of the businesses to be spawned and the investments to come if such a system were in place,” Angara said.

“Since Korea is acknowledged globally as a leader in wide broadband and recognized as having the highest Internet penetration rate in the whole region, I envision that someday Filipinos, hand in hand with the Koreans, will be highly modernized in information technology. I believe the people of Korea have recognized the talent and skill of our workers—proof of this are the many Filipino workers in Korea. And similarly, the country is a host to the biggest overseas Korean population in the region,” the senator continues.

Korean newspapers report that Filipino workers there are among the best liked. Of the 36,000 Filipinos in Korea, half are undocumented.

There are also stories of Koreans complaining about the Filipinos.