Wednesday, October 15, 2008

About Us . . .

The is an experimental blog designed by, whose advocacy is to promote Pilippine history, culture, tradition and faith - bonding families, friends and fellow advocates promoting nationalist ideals, Pilipino ingenuity, products, goods and services using cyber technology, a non-profit undertaking.

(Inset picture: Roy R. Luga and Willy Cabezon)

About the Organizers of this Blog:

WILFREDO BAUTISTA is a retired bank executive, former 1st VP, IT Systems Group & Branch Services Division of KEPPEL BANK, presently connected with eBusiness Solutions and Consulting Inc. as Managing Partner, who is now actively involved in Couples for Christ Outreach Ministry. He is the husband of Elsa Bautista, who was formerly connected with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Agricultural Land Management Division (ALMED) in charge of the Geographical Information System (GIS) in the BSWM and now employed with the National Computer Center. Joined by the former Senior Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Administrator of the National Irrigation Administration and former Chairman of the Committee Secretariat on the (GIS) Mapping of NIA's NIS and CIS Watershed Areas (NIA-BSWM-DA Project 1996-1998), this blog site was conceptualized.

A Monument of the Past Waiting to be Rediscovered :

At the Function Hall of the Civil Service Commission awaits Elsa Bautista. With her was Nico Liu, the secretary of Willy Cabezon, the Assistant Director of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).

Twelve years ago, Elsa Bautista supervises BSWM's main frame computer under the office of Willy E. Cabezon, the Agricultural Land Management Division (ALMED). BSWM was then headed by Roger Concepcion, who, years after a joint project with the National Irrigation Administration and the Department of Agriculture: "The Inter-Agency Ad Hoc Committee on the Mapping of the National Irrigation Administration's National and Communal Irrigation System's Waterhsed Areas" - BSWM's publication under his watch: "The Soil and Land Use Atlas" - was finally recognized. Roger Concepcion became a recipient of Civil Service Commission's Pag-Asa Award.

At its inception, the marching order then during the Ramos Administration is to conceptualize and implement a comprehensive plan to ensure food security within the shortest possible time. The Atlas, which was then almost finished provided the government a Geographical Information System of the country's soil classification and land use including water levels, it was however, limited to BSWM's small water impounding projects. NIA decided to embark on a joint project to complement the Atlas, specifically to identitfy the waterhsed areas of large Dams that needs to be rehabilitated for sustainable development.

The envisioned concept to propel agricultural growth was the food basket theory, i.e., to concentrate on large track of land suitable for agricultural development, complemented by the water basin approach, i.e., to tap main sources of water and construct a water basin to ensure stable supply of water - to generate power from water pressure coming from the large volume of water and equally distribute it for agricultural and potable use. The Department of Agriculture then, under Secretary Salvador H. Escudero III, fully supported the concept. His consultant in NIA was Eng. Aber Paguio Canlas, the nephew of DRA. LIGAYA P. JORGE, founder of the Personnel Officers Association of the Philippines (POAP) and a former official of the then Civil Service Board. While NIA was headed by Gen. Orlando Soriano, former Army Chief of the AFP with Gen. Ramon Ong, Head Executive Assistant formerly with the Engineering Brigade of the Philippine Army; and, Deputy Administrator Eduardo P. Corsiga, the son of the late Col. Corsiga from Leyte.

Gen. Ramon Ong, a PMAr and a West Pointer, is very specific when it comes to details. We have to see to it that our people in the field produces results according to the instructions and the plan to implement FVR's vision based on the mid and long term strategic plan agreed upon. Complemented by experienced specialists with backgrond in intelligence work and a network providing accurate and reliable informations, people down the line have to tow the command. Politics have no place in levelling the playing field.

WEC, a proactive and a revolutionary minded leader never hesitated to say yes, when approached and asked if the computer facility under his care at the BSWM can be used for a project to provide the breaucracy accurate geogaphical information. The project did not passed through the usual process. The marching orders then was to cut corners and cut it clean. Bureaucracy and red tapes should be set aside. WEC readily offered BSWM's computer equipment to develop a GIS for the project. Like our long time friend in the Bureau of Fisheries - Cordillera Administrative Region, Dir. Rebecca Dang-Awan (who never hesitates to implement projects for the peace development effort in CAR when we requested) WEC, a product of U.P., speaks little, but acts decisively. We have the green light.

Except for the budgetary compliment for the personnel who shall digitize the map on a larger scale more than 1:50 to specifically identify the watershed areas sorrounding NIA's National and Communal Irrigation Systems with precision - as NAMRIA's map has not yet been updated at a scale larger than 1:50 - we foresee the need to execute the project even without regular funds. Without hesitation, NIA provided a budgetary complement for two personnel out of NIA's project fund. They were hired and assigned at BSWM - whose job is to digitize a base map larger than 1:50 upon NIA's directive.

It was Elsa Bautista, the wife of Bro. Bobot Bautista, who directly supervised the project at BSWM. While the mapping is in progress, the information is immediately passed to Eng. Rey Baloloy of NIA's Watershed Division who evaluates and study every information to provide and recommend a reforestration/rehabilitation project for our watershed areas to be implemented nationwide. In the field, the Civil Service Commission with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources played its role, the former by directing government agencies to adopt identified areas for reforestration project as Centennial Forest, while the latter supplied planting materials. It became one of CSC's major project then under Chairman Corazon Alma De Leon, which actually begun during the incumbency of Chairman Patricia Sto. Tomas. Among others, the surrounding areas of the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija and the Wahig Pamacsalan Dam in Bohol were reforested. The Office of the President's Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP) also took part by ensuring the return to the folds of law of our lost brothers in the hintherland - peace were offered in exchange for development. While the National Power Corporation took charge of the power generation aspect.

Government agencies moved as one and implemented the project jointly to bring forth peace and development in the countryside. In two years time, the government irrigated hundreds of thousands of hectares of land. In Cotabato, both government and MILF troops carries shovel and farm equipment and worked hand in hand, regardless of religious belief, to construct the Mal-Mar Irrigaiton Project. Peace was then at hand and foreign debts was almost wiped out. The people behind the success of these development are those in the field providing frontline services such as Elsa Bautista including the countless of faceless people in the frontine, working within and without the government - to achieve peace, progress and development: to provide food at the table of every Filipino. Many of them may not have been aware of the actual roles they respectively played and the extent of impact that each one contributed to attain the national goal. Of so many people involved, others may have risked their lives in the process to fulfill their mission, some may have already gone, while the remaining few remains without faces. A legacy we have been proud to be part of.

Today we see people in the past re-appears to continue the struggle, converging once again clamouring for moral recovery and reconstruction espousing nationalist agenda - now, through faith - trying to reach out for the younger generation to continue the struggle. During those days, it was the Civil Service Commission that first initiated the Moral Recovery Program, the Alay Sa Bayan Seminars, which synchronized and galvanized the over-all mid and long term strategic plan of the national government identifying our strength and weaknesses as a nation then moved forward to carry on our specific task and mission. It set the tone for each and everyone to internalize their respective role to focus towards attaining a common goal. A short lived dream that should have been a wonderful beginning shattered by the decaying moral values and lack sense of nationalism.

It might have been providential that these people once again converged at the seat of government bureaucracy for what lies in the past can be found in the very place where the movement is planting its seed. To quote then Commissioner Filemon Fernandez' favorite passage in St. Mathhew:"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all. In the same way your light must shine before men so that they may see the goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father." Who are we then to say NO to the invitations of long lost friends sent by the Divine to converge in the hope of rebuilding our nation and continue the struggle of an ideal society we once dreamed of and tried to achieve. Like in the past, only a few might have knew or have felt the message behind - to heed the call to start seeding, plant and weed as another epoch of our political struggle near its end gearing towards a brighter future. Let us prepare then for its coming to put the house in order and start a revolution early on with the intercession of the Divine, regardless of religious belief.

It might also have been providential that the movement knocked at the door right in the heart of the Philippine Bureaucracy under the leadership of now Chairman Ricardo L. Saludo, a product of a Jesuit educational system with Commissioner Cesar D. Buenaflor, who is also a product of Ateneo, a career official in the government for more than three decade and native of Cotabato where Mal-Mar Project is situated; and, Commissioner Mary Ann Fernandez Mendoza, who is also a career official for decades. In coordination with the Office of Personnel Management and Development under Director Editha M. Dela Peña, the Couples for Christ held its first Christian Life Program right at the heart of Philippine Bureaucracy.
In one of the Christian Life Program session, Commissioner May Ann Fernandez Z. Mendoza approached Dr. Villareal, an agricultural scientist from U.P. Los Baños, a guest speaker in one of the talks and a friend of a common friend - Dr. Teodolo Topacio, the first Dean of UPLB's College of Vetenirary Medicine, espousing for a possibility to undertake a project to develop CSC's centennial forest into an agri-forest farm to benefit its employees and the bureaucracy per se.

We hope this reaches WEC and the officials at Department of Agriculture - Assistant Secretary Belinda Gonzales, a career official of DA and Undersecretary Dennis Araullo, former Director of BFAR who rose from the ranks, among others - to help the Commission, through this movement, to rediscover what might have been left in the past and to continue our struggle for an ideal environment for our future generation to benefit. Let faith be the vehicle to materialize this continuing saga and let the seed of goodness sprout before the very corners of the seat of bureacracy - "The CSC CENTENNIAL FOREST" - a monument of what might have left, waiting to be rediscovered: