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Dr. Emil Javier

A longer term view of mining (Part II)

With all the bad press about mining, many of which are deserved, it is very facile to accept the irrelevance of the mining industry to our country’s future. However, as often in the many complex issues we face, the resolution is not always that clear and straight forward. In the first place, metals are very much part of everything we use and do. It is nigh impossible to contemplate civilization without metals. And every time we import these metal products, whether we like it or not, we have to pay the price of the mineral ores from which they are derived, share in the cost of extracting and processing them, and pay for restoration/rehabilitation of the earth where they came from. The Philippines is ranked top five among the world’s mineral-rich countries. In …

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A longer-term view of mining

Just like agriculture, all’s not been well with mining. From its peak in the 1970s when there were 45 operating large-scale mines and minerals accounted for as much as 21 percent of our country’s total exports, mining had been in decline except for a brief boom in the late 1980s. For the period 2003-2012, minerals averaged only 3.94 percent of total exports. The “anti-mining” campaign with the high profile audit by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the compliance of existing mines particularly with environment laws and issuances has sent chills to the local mining industry and prospective foreign investors. The bluster of the President that the country can do without mining, if the industry does not behave, reinforces the low esteem of government and many communities and …

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Finally, a serious bamboo development plan (Last of the series)

Putting the pieces together All the elements for a broader-based, more productive and sustainable bamboo industry are in place. The bamboo is not only uniquely adapted to our wet tropical environment, it is also providentially resistant to typhoons. It is a valuable species for protecting riverbanks and erosion-prone hillsides and for rehabilitating watersheds. The demand for its current uses for light construction, furniture and handicraft manufacture, for use as props/stakes for bananas and fish pens and bamboo shoots for food remain strong and only partially met. The potential to scale up to produce paper and pulp, engineered bamboo and biomass as source of renewable energy have yet to be exploited. The national agencies (the Department of Trade and Industry [DTI], the Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR], the Department of Science and …

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Finally, a serious bamboo development plan (Part II)

The ubiquitous bamboo has significant potential to create employment and thereby reduce poverty particularly in the countryside. It has many uses: Material for light construction, for handicrafts, for food as bamboo shoots, for paper and pulp and source of biomass for renewable energy. And, as importantly, bamboo renders valuable ecological services in the conservation of soil and water resources. With its dense, matted root system, bamboo is an ideal species for protection of riverbanks and erosion-prone slope lands and rehabilitation of degraded watersheds. There are continuing efforts by national government agencies, local governments, some state universities and colleges (SUCs), and the two government banks, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to promote the development of the bamboo industry. Non-government organizations (NGOs) and the private sector …

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Finally, a serious bamboo development plan (Part I)

There are so many opportunities to raise productivity in the countryside, create jobs and reduce poverty which are just waiting to be exploited. One such resource which remains under-rated and undervalued is the ubiquitous bamboo. The Board of Investments (BOI) recently published a bamboo industry development road map which could just be the impetus needed to jump start the process. Bamboo grows well all over the country and like the coconut adorns the rural landscape. Many an Amorsolo painting feature the graceful bamboo in the background. The bamboo plant which is actually a grass species symbolizes longevity, harmony and tranquility. It is appreciated for its durability, strength, flexibility and resilience. The bamboo has myriad uses: Traditionally for light construction, for furniture and handicrafts, as outriggers for bancas of small fishermen, as fuelwood, as …

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JCI Senate Philippines relaunches TOFIL Award

After a break of two years, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines relaunched the iconic The Outstanding Filipino Award (TOFIL) in ceremonies last June in Club Filipino, this time with a new corporate partner — ANSA Foundation. The TOFIL Award is bestowed by the JCI Senate Philippines to Filipino men and women over 41 years of age who have distinguished themselves in their respective professions and callings and widely recognized for their contributions to society and national development. Started in 1988 by JCI Senate Philippines in corporate partnership with Insular Life, the TOFIL Award was intended to be a complement to the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awards for Filipinos 35 years and younger (later adjusted to 40 years). JCI Senate is a select group of JCI members worldwide who in recognition of …

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Realizing the benefits from P686-B investments in irrigation (Part IV)

Concrete Lining of Irrigation Canals We are realizing only about a third of the potential benefits from the P686 billion worth of investments in irrigation and drainage systems. This is based on the reported cropping intensity of 1.37 versus the target of 2.00. These unrealized benefits are equivalent to 764,000 hectares of unplanted rice fields which should have produced 3.7 million tons of palay worth P51.8 billion each year. A significant part of the firmed-up service areas (FUSA) of the irrigation systems run out of water during the dry season. After the rains, the water available for irrigation in the rivers and dams gradually diminish. This seasonal decline in the water supply in made worse by water losses in the canals due to seepage. The aggregate length of the canals of our national …

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Realizing the benefits from P686-B investments in irrigation and drainage (Part 3)

Convergence of Efforts of Stakeholders Among the infrastructures required for a productive and competitive agriculture sector, the most capital intensive are investments in irrigation and drainage systems. Dependable supply and control of water are vital for three reasons: 1) to maximize crop yields, 2) to avoid losses from drought and floods, and 3) to effectively multiply available arable land by relay, continuous cropping. For the last 50 years, we have developed 1.73 million hectares of irrigated farms with a capital value of, conservatively, P686 billion in 2000 prices. However, the realized irrigation use efficiency is only 137 percent versus the objective of at least 200 percent. We are therefore realizing only about a third of the potential benefits from our investments. Four key complementary measures are needed to achieve higher levels of irrigation …

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Realizing the benefits from P686-billion investments in irrigation and drainage (Part II)

‘There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?’ – Robert Kennedy Reinforcing NIA’s role as lead institution in irrigation development During last 50 years (1965-2015), we have invested roughly P686 billion in irrigation and drainage, expressed in 2000 prices. Updated to 2015 prices, the amount balloons to P1.06 trillion (Arlene Inocencio, 2016). The more urgent challenge therefore is not so much whether farmers pay irrigation fees or not (although they are related) but how do we realize the full benefits from those investments. The most direct and simplest way of assessing the efficiency with which we use irrigation systems is by an agronomic measure called CROPPING INTENSITY (C.I.) i.e. the number of harvests obtained on the same piece …

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Realizing the benefits from P686-billion investments in irrigation and drainage (Part 1)

We fully support the initiative of the Duterte administration to relieve the farmers of the burden of paying irrigation fees but with a CAVEAT. The farmers should not be charged for construction and major rehabilitation of irrigation systems. Nor should they pay for the operation and maintenance of upstream irrigation facilities like the major pumps/gates/locks and major canals. But it is only fair and proper that the upkeep of the lateral and sublateral canals which directly convey water to their fields should be the responsibility of the water user themselves. The canals need to be periodically cleared of vegetation which obstruct the free flow of water. With cooperation and discipline among the water beneficiaries, this responsibility is something they can easily perform. Experience with irrigation systems the world over have demonstrated that irrigation …

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