OPENING UP OPPORTUNITIES THAT THE PEOPLE CAN TAP - May help in Solving Poverty in the Philippines To allow more people to enjoy a wide array of jobs and business opportunities, the government must focus on spurring economic growth across the country. This would mean literally opening up opportunities for growth. This is what we call as catalysts for growth, since these projects encourage other businesses to thrive and expand. Projects such as roads, seaports, airports, export processing zones, commercial centers, tourism sites and massive agricultural-fisheries projects will indeed open up room for growth for a wide array of business enterprises, from food and housing to services. Once these areas or spots are created, the business establishments will naturally sprout around that center. All taking their chance to tap the new opportunity. From food service, transportation and even housing and commercial buildings or mini malls to health services, tourism and finance. The new businesses will even open up other business opportunities as a result. This will also greatly decongest the heavily overburdened cities like Metro Manila and prevent many from the provinces to migrate to the urban centers and end up as beggars and squatters. This infrastructure developments should be coupled with microfinancing and technical-skills training to empower the masses to tap the new opportunities. A simple business venture like in putting up a carinderia, transport service, apartment, sari-sari store, barber shop, and similar businesses will still require capital. With microfinancing through the government agencies like grants from LGUs (Mayor's and Governor's ofc) or private entities like credit coops, lending companies, rural banks and similar entities, the people can indeed put up their own business and tap the new opportunities with it. Other vital tasks that the government must do to spur and sustain the growth is to provide the needed support system in the form of product promotion, helping the producers, marketers and consumers meet each other, initiating the needed legislation to ensure the success of the business, creating the needed government administrative body, providing technical and financial support and similar efforts including the setting up of a research and development (R&D) facilities. Another big opportunity is the agro-forestry including the industrial tree plantations like that of PICOP in Mindanao to sustain the supply of lumber without destroying the remaining virgin and residual forests. But there should be a total log ban on virgin and residual forests. Only trees cultivated in the industrial tree plantations will be harvested. The coconut industry is promising. From fresh buko juice to processed products, the global demand is high. We can use the coconut industry to complement the agro-forestry livelihood. The government can even directly hire people for the massive reforestation projects. Reforestation can help address the problem on flashfloods, landslides and extreme summer heat or global warming. Mountains covered with greens attract more clouds, which in turn cools the area around aside from blocking the sun rays. It even sustains the water flow in streams and springs, which nurtures agricultural plants. It provides the community with fresh water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Scientists must create the plan on proper zoning. Zoning in this aspect simply means where to exactly plant the trees and what trees to plant. I would suggest the top layer is devoted to the tall trees like the Evergreen or 'Lawaan'. This layer shall be our primary forest reserve. The mid-layer is for the other varieties including the fruit-bearing trees. This serves as a buffer zone too for the forest reserve. The bottom layer is for the coconut trees while vegetables or citrus can be planted between the coconut trees. Check this weblink for more details on proper zoning, We can even gather all the unemployed people from the impoverished communities, who are usually not qualified for the usual jobs in the urban areas due to lack of education and skills, to work in the tree nurseries and the actual tree-planting and in nurturing the young trees. Schools and even prison facilities, like the 500-hectare Bilibid facility wherein vast portions are not yet utilized, can be tapped for the tree nursery projects across the country. Another great catalyst is tourism. We saw how a humble Bunawan Eco Park in Agusan that served as the home of the largest living crocodile in the world named ‘Lolong’ spurred economic activity for the people there. Food, transportation and souvenir shops sprouted around that center. Famous cities like Dubai in the Middle East primarily depend on tourism to survive. We as an archipelagic state and blessed with a wide array of eco-tourism potentials, from beaches, mountaineering, whitewater rafting, snorkeling, surfing, jet skiing, bird watching, scuba diving to sky diving. It’s an unlimited potential for eco-tourism. The govt., especially the local government units or LGUs (Mayors and Governors) simply need to provide access and promotion as well as the needed support system to make it start and flourish. Untapped eco-tourism potentials include the vast Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, also known as the Palanan Wilderness Area or simply Palanan Forest, which is the country’s largest untouched virgin forest. The biodiversity is amazingly healthy. This serves as the last home of the Philippine Eagle in Luzon. In the eastern part are patches of beaches. Probably a place for surfers too since it wrestles with the Pacific winds like Baler Beach in Aurora Province, which is a known surfer’s destination too. Bird watching and mountaineering are perfect adventures for this huge eco-park. There’s also food tourism. Lobsters, prawns, mud crabs, tilapias and tasty fishes from the seas around Luzon are irresistible delicacies the tourists can enjoy. As you can see, there is a vast potential for a wide array of business. Sadly, the politicians are not doing much since their focus is not to serve the people but to devote their time plundering this nation. They are dumb about providing livelihood for the people. Worse, instead of tapping the natural resources for eco-tourism, they destroy it for selfish reasons. Among these are illegal logging, open pit mining as well as land-grabbing for the purpose of turning these into ranch or commercial-industrial centers. The commercial-industrial centers would have been just fine if not for the fact that they chose the site because they have the ulterior motive of earning a lot since they have land-grabbed the land from the original settlers who could not defend themselves. Also, despite the fact that there is a better location for the commercial-industrial center they chose to build the center there, because of their selfish motives. It is essential that we elect the right people so that these catalysts for growth can be realized. It is essential that we elect the right people so that these opportunities for livelihood are not simply devoured by the selfishness of the greedy breed. In Tagalog, “Anu pa ang pakinabang ng mga political dynasty at mga traditional politician or trapo kung mga bobo naman sa paglilingkod sa bayan at walang ginawa kungdi magnakaw ng pera ng bayan na dapat ay nagamit para sa ikakaunlad ng kabuhayan ng taumbayan?” Yung iba ay mahigit sa isang dekada na na namamayagpag yung pamilya nila at may Mayor, Governador, Senador at Congressman pa pero ang kanilang probinsiya ay napapabilang sa poorest provinces pa rin. Dalawang bagay lang yan. Bobo lang talaga sa pamumuno o puro pagnanakaw ang ginagawa nila. Also, lawmaking plays a vital role in protecting our eco-tourism potential. The corrupt and greedy men who found their way into Congress are making laws that enables them to rape our forest and natural resource instead of protect them for the welfare of the general public. Read the article in this link to understand it better; Laws Make Forest Protection Really Works It is vital that we elect the right candidates for Congress. Otherwise, instead of protecting our eco-tourism potential they would create laws that will allow them to destroy that potential just to satisfy their greed. By the way, for the urban areas like Metro Manila, where there's not much opportunities for eco-tourism, what the government can do is to provide skills training like what TESDA is doing and bring these job-seekers and employers together through a sustained or regular job fair down to the baranggay level. The LGUs can create their own program for skills training and job fairs. Also, the LGUs can help their constituents put up their own small businesses through their own financial and technical assistance programs. For OFWs, the government can help a lot by forming the so-called 'One Stop Shop' for the OFWs. Passport processing, NBI clearance, Police clearance, NSO certificates, and even the Pre-departure orientation can be done under one roof. These will greatly save the OFWs a lot of transportation expense and time. These 'OFW One Stop Shops' can be replicated across the country or such office is installed in the provincial LGU offices. Full Story photo: credit to owners