Domo arigatou, OISCA

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By Butch Bacaoco

Cane Points

Friday, August 26, 2011


I first heard of OISCA (Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement) as the organization, which spearheaded the sericulture project in Bago City. I didn’t even know back then what the acronym stands for.

Thus, it was a revelation for me to know that OISCA and its allied organizations have been active in agricultural endeavors and environmental conservation projects not only in Negros but also throughout the Philippines for so many years now.

It also came as a pleasant surprise when Gov. Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. disclosed that the Philippines is the pioneer country which benefitted from the outreach programs of OISCA.

OISCA’s thrust for food production and environmental protection are so basic to be almost elemental approaches for human development. Any decent-minded person will readily agree with that approach.

Food is a basic need and its production is of foremost importance to our survival. No argument about that. However, food production needs to be sustainable. A case in point is Barangay Alangilan right here in Bacolod.

Alangilan used to be the vegetable bowl of Bacolod, as well as of its neighboring towns and cities. During those years when the salaries of government employees were not yet standardized, the vegetable farmers of Alangilan were earning more than their fellow Bacolodnons who were working in government.

Back then, vegetable production in Alangilan was heavily dependent on inorganic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Farmers were of the mindset that the use of these chemicals translates to faster and easier ways of turning a profit from the fruits of the soil.

Time came when the soil already contained too much chemicals than it can tolerate. Harvest at Alangilan’s farms started to dwindle and eventually, farming ceased to be profitable. The farm’s productivity dried up, forcing farmers to look for other sources of income.

When the farm lands in Alangilan were later parceled out in line with the government’s agrarian reform program, the vegetables which used to proudly sprout in the area were replaced by fighting cocks. The vegetable farms were transformed into cock farms.

Alangilan’s productivity suffered because the farming practices were not sustainable.

As OISCA says, we need to take care of our environment, including the natural resources around us which play essential roles in sustaining the productivity of our agricultural area. Aside from the farmlands themselves, we need to protect our forests and rivers because they are crucial in ensuring that our farms’ productivity remain unhampered.
OISCA has also sponsored more than a thousand Filipinos who received technical and agricultural training in Japan. Hundreds of these beneficiaries are from Negros Occidental.

Personnel from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist are among them. Undoubtedly, these beneficiaries have shared their experiences with many more of our farmers here in Negros.

For all that you’ve done for Negros and the Negrenses, domo arigatou, OISCA!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 26, 2011.

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