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PIA Press Release

BSU prez says autonomy advantageous to Cordi SUCs

La Trinidad, Benguet (28 February) -- Autonomy in the Cordillera is advantageous to state universities and colleges in the region. This was claimed by Benguet State Univesity (BSU) president Rogelio Colting in an interview during the Association of State Universities and Colleges-Solid North (ASUC-SN) Olympics here.

Colting explained that an autonomous set-up would mean freedom for the institution to allocate or appropriate funding for research and extension programs responsive to the needs of the indigenous peoples in the region.

"We could have all the leeway to research and focus on specific needs of the communities primarily on agriculture", Colting said. Problems on national government's budget cut on SUCs would be addressed through an autonomous government, he added.

Through autonomy, SUCs could expound or elaborate further the indigenous knowledge system that is applicable in the locality, citing the indigenous way of protecting the environment.

He said negative reactions of some sectors are being noted, however, he stressed that these are due to lack of proper information on the benefits the region could gain under an autonomous region.

To address these negative issues, we need a more aggressive information campaign for autonomy, Colting said.

Colting informed that BSU has already planned series of symposiums and forums on autonomy for the students.

Meanwhile, a P50 million funding assistance from the budget of Committee on Agriculture Chairman Senator Edgardo Angara for SUCs in the Cordillera is ready for implementation.

This was announced by Apayao State College president _Zacarias Balluscang saying the amount will be utilized primarily for the research and development of agro-forestry, organic farming which include vegetable, legumes and rootcrops, textiles that include silkworm production and the development of indigenous way of dying and the improvement of rice terraces in the region. (fnm/PIA-CAR)

SN Aboitiz Power provides assistance to host communities

Baguio City (28 February) -- Aiming to improve the economic activity of the communities surrounding the two hydroelectric dams in Benguet, the SN Aboitiz Power Inc. recently conducted a livelihood seminar on camote (sweet potato) food processing for the Daclan residents in Bokod which is the host community for Ambuclao Dam. It also turned-over P500,000 fund for Barangay Tinongdan's various projects as host community of the Binga Dam in Itogon.

An ambulance was also provided to barangay Ambuclao and the construction of tramlines for an easier transport of products from the farm to the main road.

Aside from these assistance, Corporate Communications Officer Mike Hosillos said the company also allotted P300,000 seed capital for the Botika Agnanayon project of established Municipal Senior Citizen Federation. Municipalities initially benefited by the support fund include Atok, Buguias, Kabayan, Kibungan, Bakun and Mankayan. These Local Government Units (LGUs) will get P50T each.

Hosillos informed these various programs and projects are under the company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He explained the CSR fund is made available to projects proposed by host communities and endorsed by the LGU councils.

To qualify for the CSR funding, community projects must correspond with the key result areas of SNAP-Benguet such as livelihood and eco-tourism, education and information technology, health, environmental protection, social infrastructure, indigenous peoples and governance, Hosillos explained.

Aboitiz also plans to subsidize the power being utilized by the households within the host communities through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the officials in the locality.

The monetary assistance will be based on the current amount being paid by each household. With this project we can help them save an amount which they can use for other needs of their family, Hosillos said.

Meanwhile, Hosillos reported that the rehabilitation of the Ambuclao Dam is in full swing. This is being implemented by Norwegian company headed by Rolf Baaserud. This started December last year covering the civil works which include the rehab of intake area, plugging of leaks, construction of alternative tunnels, and elevation of the dam spillway. The rehab is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

He said the project has already generated employment to the host communities without displacement of the current workers of the dam, and is expected to generate more opportunities as it progress.

The eventual full operation of the Ambuclao plant will again allow the host communities to collect national wealth tax (NWT) and also enjoy the benefits to host communities (ER 1-94) which have ceased due to non-operation of the plant, Hosillios added. (fnm/PIA-CAR) [top]

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