Thursday, November 2, 2017

Former Piddig mayor, now consultant, Engr. Eddie Guillen showcases his town's best practices. (Berong Ver)

Staff reporter

Piddig, Ilocos Norte—When Engr. Eduardo Guillen, former Piddig mayor initiated a peaceful revolt to end hunger and poverty in his town, little did he know that he would be travelling far to share this goodwill to others.
The historic town of Piddig is known as the home of “Basi Revolt”, an uprising led by heroic Ilocanos here against wine monopoly by then Spanish colonial government.
As Piddig’s municipal consultant to his wife, Piddig mayor Georgina Salazar-Guillen, the former mayor is among the most sought-after speaker in terms of local governance initiatives and farm consolidation.
In time for the 29th anniversary of the Local Government Code, Mr. Guillen served as one of the presenters in the “Festival of Best Practices” organized by the Manila-based Local Government Academy to highlight the best practices of local government units in the country.
Held in Cubao, Quezon City on October 11-12, the organizers invited Piddig to present its first of kind national convergence projects on organic coffee, plantation and farm consolidation program, pulling out government resources in one to change the life of local farmers.
Piddig is host to the 1,750-hectare coffee development project which is now gaining ground to achieve its ultimate purpose of alleviating poverty in terms of sustainable livelihood, both in upland and lowland communities.
During Mr. Guillen’s first term as mayor, he convinced the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to fund nurseries for lowland and highland coffee farming as part of its National Greening Program (NGP). The rest is history as other national government agencies and an organized farmer cooperative threw their support to this national convergence program for coffee. It later expanded to farm consolidation, enabling local farmers to utilize state-of-the art farm machineries to reduce post-harvest losses and increase their income along the way.

Best practices
The forum included a discussion on environmental protection, renewable energy sources and best practices of selected local government units (LGUs). There are exhibits available on innovations from the Philippines’ different regions and the 2017 Galing Pook Awarding Ceremonies thru the Local Governance Regional Resource Centers (LGRRCs).
Mr. Guillen presented the town’s Convergence Projects: Organic Coffee, Plantation and Farm Consolidation, which he considers as “Best of the bests.”
Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco and Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Donna P. Magno, also presented their respective disaster preparedness and resilience initiatives.
A total of 14 practices are available and ready for replication to interested participants with LGA promising assistance.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Guillen said, “LGU Piddig is not just successful in local agri-business, it is now globally competitive, indeed.” (With a report from Bernard Ver)

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