02 Jan TRIBUTE TO THE LATE PRESIDENT OF THE RICE TERRACES FARMERS COOPERATIVE-MT PROVINCE CHAPTER
The Cordillera region, along with the rest of Luzon, was devastated by an unprecedented number of severe typhoons in 2009. The typhoons caused extensive power and communication outages, landslides that closed roads and brought death and destruction to villages. Many terraces were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water coursing through them, washing away seedbeds and collapsing rain-soaked and weakened walls.
One of the greatest casualties was the untimely death of Francis Dangiwan, the vice mayor of Sadanga, Mountain Province and the president of the Rice Terraces Farmers Cooperative, Mountain Province chapter, who suffered a fatal heart attack while helping clear debris after typhoon Pepeng.
Vicky Garcia, executive director of RICE, Inc. sends the following tribute to the late Vice Mayor and president of the RTFC, Mountain Province.
TRIBUTE TO THE LATE PRESIDENT OF THE RICE TERRACES FARMERS COOPERATIVE-MT PROVINCE CHAPTER
The Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project was launched in Mountain Province because of the persistence of Vice Mayor Francis Dangiwan, Sr. In 2007, Vice Mayor Dangiwan wrote a letter to RICE Inc and asked that the farmers of Sadanga and Mountain Province be considered for inclusion in the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project.
Although he represented the LGU as the Vice Mayor, he said that he was also a farmer. His personal letter reiterated the desire for the farmers of Sadanga and the whole of Mountain Province be included. His desire was coupled with a plan. His office could make arrangements with the National Irrigation Administration (CAR) to assist farmers interested in participating in the Project.
He was a very modest man and very committed to helping his people. He was the person who inspired me to extend the project to a third province. He understood that the vision of the project was to help the Cordillera region flourish economically, but to also help find a balance for preserving the culture and the environment.
On November 17, 2007, RICE Inc was invited to do project presentation at Mt Data. After which, I was invited by the municipalities of Barlig, Natonin, Bauko, Bontoc and Sadanga to conduct a municipal-wide orientation on the project. These five municipalities are now active partners with RICE Inc in the preservation of the terraces and traditional varieties, as well as the culture that revolves around their traditional rice.
Vice Mayor Dangiwan was elected president of the new provincial chapter of the Rice Terraces Farmers Cooperative and was instrumental in raising awareness among the farmers of Mountain Province Through his leadership, the board and farmer members from each of the five municipalities have been actively involved in promoting the production of traditional rice in the province.
In 2008, the vice mayor was very excited by the province’s first export opportunity. Leading by example, he and his family harvested their own Gomiki variety and processed it for export. He continually encouraged other farmers from Sadanga and assisted them in hauling their rice to the processing center, despite the challenging road conditions. He saw the value of continuing to grow the traditional varieties as a high-value crop and understood that it could mean a new opportunity for farmers to fulfill their own dreams
This past year, he helped lobby the regional and provincial agriculture offices to support the procurement of the new custom designed post-harvest machines for the three provinces. In August 2009, through his leadership, a set of post harvest machine was installed in NIA compound in Bontoc. The following pictures are just a few that showed his commitment and support to the farmers of the Cordillera and the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project.
Vice Mayor Dangiwan welcomed his farmers from Sadanga and helped explain the process for consolidating the rice and how a farmers’ cooperative could be an enterprise (not just a buy and sell) for farmers capitalizing on their own resources.
Posing with his farmers and quality control inspectors after the final inspection, processing and loading of accepted volume for export at the NIA office.
On behalf of the Farmers’ Cooperative, Dangiwan accepted the turn over of the post harvest machines at the NIA compound. He challenged his group to step up to the leadership required of them to manage the enterprise. He also sought continued assistance and support from DA Region for a dryer to complete the set of machines required to fully process the rice at maximum level.
As president of the Cooperative, Dangiwan signed the MOA during the turn over ceremony at NIA on August 25, 2009.
His own time,….he enjoyed just watching others.
You will be greatly missed!