Monthly Archives: June 2011

Higher fees for slow computerized service

Philippine Daily Inquirer
June 28th 2011

SIGNS IN Registry of Deeds offices announce that computerized processing for the issuance Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) is being introduced, therefore, “Please bear with us,” “Sorry for any inconvenience,” and it can take some 20 working days of best effort—meaning, no commitments—before new titles can be issued; and should there be computer glitches, like the recent one that lasted two days, nobody would know. Is this what the public will get from computerization?

Yet the fees, collected up-front, are charged in full and have increased. A big share of this fee is for IT service, presumably going to the computerization service provider, Stradcom, the same company mired in intra-corporate controversy at the Land Transportation Office.

When one is given an assessment, he can do nothing else but pay. No fee schedule is posted anywhere for the public’s information. Is the public not entitled to know the cost of the service?

And there are multiple documentary requirements asking clients to photocopy this and that; get certified true copies, with LRA keeping the original. And when one has to go to a number of Registry of Deeds offices requiring the same documents, he has to submit more original certified true copies. A fee is charged for every certified true copy, and it takes time to issue one because the computer cannot be rushed. In my my case, I was told to go back after three to five days for my copies. Shouldn’t computerization get things done faster instead of putting up roadblocks?

I understand that the transition from the old manual system to computerization requires some adjustments. I asked a friend in the real estate/property development business, who had  regular dealings with different Registry of Deeds offices, if he knew some people in the LRA. He introduced me to them. The connection helped. I submitted my documents to the Quezon City RD on May 18, 2011 and to the Caloocan City RD on May 27, 2011. On June 16, 2011, I was able to receive the new transfer certificates of title I applied for. I didn’t make any follow-up with the Caloocan RD the week I was told the document was ready. It was available when I went to get it, seemingly its processing taking a shorter period than the 20 or so working days I was told it would take. But I had some help. How about those who don’t and have only themselves to depend on.

There is need for the LRA to see how it delivers its service to the public and justify all the fees it is charging. Efficiency and transparency are the call of the day.

—DANILO S. VENIDA,
Quezon City

House okays bill allowing disposition of government-owned lands for socialized housing

The Philippine Star
By Paolo S. Romero
June 20, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill allowing the disposition of government-owned lands for socialized housing projects for poor Filipinos to address the country’s housing problem.

Passed was House Bill 4578 or the “Idle Government-Owned Lands Disposition Act of 2011,” which mandates the Local Government Units (LGUs) to undertake urban development and housing projects for the benefit of the underprivileged and homeless citizens.

Under the measure, 10 percent of government-owned lands to be sold, alienated and encumbered for development purposes shall be segregated or allocated for socialized housing projects.

The bill directs the conveyance of the segregated land or fund to the National Housing Authority (NHA), for lands owned by the national government intended for the development of socialized housing projects.

However, for lands owned by the LGUs, the segregated land or fund shall be retained by the LGU concerned to be utilized exclusively for its socialized housing projects.

The measure authorizes the NHA and the local government unit to enter into a joint venture agreement or other similar agreements with private developers and non-governmental organizations engaged in housing production.

“The right to a decent housing of every Filipino is enshrined in our Constitution. Section 9 of Article XIII states that the State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban and land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas,” said Nueve Ecija Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago, one of the authors of the bill, said.

Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson, Jr., another author of the bill, said there is a need to improve the government’s housing program in order to make available at affordable prices decent housing and basic services to poor and homeless families all over the country.

“The acute housing problem compounded by indiscriminate squatting in the urban areas necessitates a forward-looking approach to answer this basic need of the people,” Singson said.

Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo, another author of the measure, said there should be continuing update to policies designed to address the problem of housing for the underprivileged if not for the homeless whose number or population has swelled through the years making the problem a constant menu in the country’s development agenda.

“Consistent with a rationalized land use plan, housing for the underprivileged could be set aside from government-owned lands for homeless Filipinos,” Castelo said.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, also an author of the bill, said the housing needs of the underprivileged and homeless in the country “is a problem that continuously paints a stark picture for the country’s economic managers and housing czars.”

“Our government is fast running out of available residential lands for its huge and ever-increasing population.  It has to pursue a rational land use plan that will entail the rational allocation of the government’s scarce land resources to include housing for the underprivileged,” Biazon said.

Climate change not a big problem among Bukidnon farmers

The Philippine Star
Mereyll Kyla Irader
June 12, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Though typhoons are not considered a major problem in Bukidnon, calamities such as drought, pests and diseases did not spare the crops of farmers from damages.

When El Niño hit Bukidnon in 2003 and 2005, indemnity paid for drought reached the highest.

What the farmers did

Subsistence farmers have their share of traditional farming practices that served them well when drought hit the province. Among these are using organic fertilizer from manure and compost; observing proper timing in planting crops; using crop residues as mulch in vegetable gardens to conserve water; planting drought-tolerant crops; and constructing reservoir to collect rainwater.

Water-saving technologies like rainwater harvesting using small reservoirs, drip irrigation, shallow tube wells, and other irrigation development and services are present in Bukidnon.

Small farm reservoir (SFR) is an impounding structure that harvests rain and collects runoff. SFR provides irrigation for dry season crops and supplements water for wet season cropping. It also enables farmers to raise fish and grow livestock for food and additional income.

Drip irrigation is a process of applying irrigation water into the base of the plant like a leaking bucket. Minimal soil surface is wetted through this method; thus, amount of direct evaporation and excess percolation through the root zone will be reduced. Bananas are among crops which rely on drip irrigation in the province.

Shallow tube wells and irrigation development are commonly used for rice irrigation. In 2003, DA-Region 10 provided the province with shallow tube wells and irrigation development support.

Government initiatives

Government institutions in Bukidnon do not have explicitly labeled programs on climate change.

There are existing programs, however, undertaken to capacitate people to adapt on the impacts of climate change. Programs applied are on organic farming, diversified integrated farming systems, and water saving technologies for agriculture. On lean seasons, farming communities have alternative income sources.

For lowland rice production, the Sustainable System of Irrigated Agriculture (SSIA) Technology is applied. It employs intermittent water application in rice farming; applies organic fertilizers and pesticides as agricultural inputs; and follows prescribed crop management procedures.

Through SSIA, early transplanting and straight row planting at one plant per hill is required to enable seedlings to grow better in lesser competition. Also, it specifies the cropping calendar and lowers the water application requirement.

The Department of Agriculture-Region 10, through a study, modified SSIA and showed that the technology performs better during dry season because of the organic matter’s carry-over effect for the next cropping in a lower production cost.

Contour farming and diversified integrated farming systems resulting in better yield, and reduction of bacterial  wilt population  and water  runoff over monoculture  proved to be suitable technologies  for  upland and  hilly land farming. Runoffs are reduced in contour farming; thus, protecting the top soil against soil erosion. Top soil contains nutrients for plants and also serves as reservoir for soil water during dry periods.

Meanwhile, crop diversification augments the income of farmers as any crop, which grows well, can be tapped as another way to earn a living. An example for is the ipil-ipil tree which is used for firewood, charcoal as well as fruit trees, root crops, vegetables and other plants that are feed sources for livestock.

Another strategy is through organic farming where even marginal lands can be brought back to life as organic matter is essential for the sustainability of subsistence agriculture. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur are released in the decomposition stage, thus, supplying carbon and energy in the soil. Organic matter binds the soil mineral particles and improves the soil structure for moisture retention.

Through intervention of local government, agriculture input subsidies are given to farmers to increase agricultural production. In Valencia City, Bukidnon, an ordinance, which espouses sustainable agriculture through organic farming, was passed to provide assistance in farming communities. Through Valencia City Ordinance No. 2008-09, the city aims to stability of food supplies for its constituents.

Identifying existing strategies

All because of climate change, an agricultural province like Bukidnon is threatened of losing its productivity. As agriculture relies on climatic conditions in order to flourish, agricultural practices shall then cope with the climatic changes.

Unlabeled programs on climate change are already in place. These are on research, extension, policy information, subsidies and grants. However, these programs must be properly identified for efficient facilitation and employment.

With explicitly identified programs to address the phenomenon, it will be easier for subsistence farmers to apply techniques and adjust on the impacts. Hence, economic loss among the farming sector will be avoided.