BANNER NEWS: SPM ‘ER’ bats for centralized tobacco farming; clarifies drugs, mining, political issues in I. Sur

SPM EFREN "ER" RAFANAN (center) stresses a point during a one-hour media forum hosted by the Ilocos Sur Integrated Press in An-annam, Bantay, Ilocos Sur this weekend.

BANTAY, ILOCOS SUR – Sangguniang Panlalawigan Efren “ER” Rafanan is proposing a method of tobacco farming and selling wherein all tobacco farmers must shift to centralized tobacco production strategy patterned after the method used by the farmers in Misamis Oriental.

“This will provide the farmers not only farm equipment but also a centralized tobacco seedling propagation center, centralized flue-curing barns, centralized warehouse and centralized market,” he said during a Kapihan Iti Amianan Media Forum held here, this weekend.

He said that they will be going to Misamis Oriental next month to observe the implementation of the said strategy which he said has been a very effective tool in helping the farmers.

“After the production, they will sell their products directly to the company which is the Philip Morris Tobacco Corporation and not to the traders who buy their products using their own grading system which is usually disadvantageous to the farmers,” he added.

He said he will also be coming out of an ordinance that will require barangay officials to report the presence of “visitors” who have been staying in that place for 3 days or more already, owing to that recent incident wherein crystalline substances have been recovered in Puro, Magsingal and a speedboat worth P1 million was also found abandoned in Narvacan town. He said there might be a big drug trade in the province with these foreigners coming in contact with local drug syndicates.

“I am most confused because the PDEA said the crystalline substance is not drugs; the PNP said it’s not either but when I asked them what is it, they could not answer! So I presume it might be raw materials for the manufacture of drugs” he said.

With regards to the privilege speech of SPM Christopher “Tupeng” Baterina in the last regular session, he said that the proposed mining exploration permit applied by a mining company to mine in Cervantes should be approved only if the people, particularly the indigenous people there, approve.

“But if they don’t like mining to take place there, then there should be no mining there. Let us respect the will of the people. I remember I proposed that we put up a cement factory in San Emilio due to the abundance of limestone there, but when the people resented my plan, I withdrew it, owing to my respect to the people. If the people don’t like it, then so be it,” he said.

He also said that he is also batting for mechanized rice and tobacco farming patterned after China so as to eliminate the problem of too many manpower needed from planting to harvesting season.

“This is the effect of the 4Ps cash benefits of our indigents. Many of them have improved in their lives hence we need to mechanize our farming technology,” he said.

On the issue of politics in Cabugao that stemmed in the Cabugao Beach Resort controversy, he said that the inhibition of SPM Pablito Sanidad might be a solution in itself. Sanidad allegedly inhibited because one of the parties involved is his client.

“Who knows that this stalemate will provide enough time for both parties to compromise and heal the wounds,” he said.

On his relationship with former Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, he said he has met the former governor three times and he has been acknowledged three times also.

“I also acknowledged him, being a former father of the province. I want to be at peace with myself. If I carry with me my feelings of the past, I might not be able to serve well today. After 17 years, I have already offered everything to God. Let Divine Justice prevail and I hope our people understand me for that,” he said.