LAOAG CITY—When Engineer Eduardo Guillen, former mayor of Piddig, Ilocos Norte, initiated a peaceful revolt to end hunger and poverty in his town, little did he know that he would be travelling far to share its benefits and achievements to others.
The historic town of Piddig is known as the home of Basi Revolt, an uprising led by heroic Ilocanos here against the wine monopoly then of the Spanish colonial government.
As Piddig’s municipal consultant to his wife, incumbent Mayor Georgina Salazar-Guillen, the former mayor is among the most sought-after speakers in terms of local governance initiatives and farm consolidation.
In time for the 29th anniversary of the Local Government Code, 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 at the Novotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City on October 11-12, the Piddig LGU was invited to present its first of its kind national convergence projects on organic coffee, plantation and farm consolidation program. Through this local initiative, the Piddig government was able to pull out government resources to change the life of llocano 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 Guillen’s first term as mayor, he was able to convince 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 farmers’ cooperative threw their support to this national convergence program for coffee.
The program later on expanded to farm consolidation, enabling local farmers to utilize state-of-the art machineries to reduce post-harvest losses and increase their income along the way. PNA-northboundasia.com