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AJJun20 08

AJJun20 08

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Published by ASIAN JOURNAL
Asian Journal June 20, 2008 digital print edition. Email asianjournal@aol.com or visit www.asianjournalusa.com
Asian Journal June 20, 2008 digital print edition. Email asianjournal@aol.com or visit www.asianjournalusa.com

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Published by: ASIAN JOURNAL on Jun 21, 2008
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 It took 600 people to unfurl the largest Philippine ag yesterday at the Baguio Athletic Bowl. Photo by ANDY ZAPATA JR.
 By Jose Katigbak,STAR Washington Bureau Philstar, June 12, 2008
WASHINGTON – Filipi-nos in the Washington metro-
 politan area are stufng riceinto care packages known as balikbayan boxes and ship
- ping them to the Philippines
where shortages have led tosoaring prices and rationing,
the Washington Post reported.As international charities scrambleto help nations hardest-hit by short
ages and high prices of food, Wash
ington-based immigrants from somecountries including the Philippinesand Haiti are providing their own
In 2002, FederalLand started devel
oping a section of land in the bay area.With 40 hectaresof developableland, opportuni
ties abound. And
through the
Bayside living at its fnest
Consider that almost nine
million Fili-
 pinos are nowliving abroadin practicallyevery conti
nent, in everyregion under every climateknown to man,and under dif 
ferent types of  political sys
tems. Filipinoshave investedtheir lives,establishedresidence,intermarriedwith locals, begotten children, put up businesses and built futuresin different countries andcultures all over the world.And more will be doing so.
There are more Filipinos
living outside the Philip
- pines than all of the people
in New Zealand. The num
 ber of overseas Filipinos
equals half of Australia’s
 population. It is not hardto imagine that our recenthistory of massive diasporashould have made
some kindof impact on the different culturesof the world.
The Chinese, for exam
The perfect storm
 By Catherine Jones Philstar, April 20, 2008
In the middle of the Moun
tain Province, nestled among pine trees and blooming ow
ers, 5,000 feet above sea level,lies a tiny village called Sa
gada. This hamlet, renowned
 ABS-CBN news anchor Ces Drilon weeps while recounting her ten-day ordeal as a captive of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. (Photo by Rudy Santos)
 By Roel Pareño Philstar, June 19, 2008
ZAMBOANGA CITY – They were slapped andconstantly threatened withexecution. They subsisted oninstant noodles and slept onthe ground under makeshifttents.
We nearly lost our lives – Ces
Freed ABS-CBN anchor Ces Oreña-Drilon yesterdayrecounted her harrowingexperience in the hands of theAbu Sayyaf.Haggard and full of insect bites, Drilon rejoiced in her newly regained freedom andnarrated her ordeal in the jungles of Sulu at a news con
ference here.“We came close to losingour lives. I thought hard andrealized that I was so reckless.I didn’t think of my family
that I put through a terrible
(Continued on page 9)
Is that rice in your‘balikbayan’ box?
 ASK GONEGOSYO By Joey Concepcion Philstar, May 8, 2008
As recession hangs over America today; it brings about
memories of 
the Asian cri
sis during thelate 90s, whichwas also thelast three yearsof PresidentRamos’ tenure.
If not for the
Asian crisis,Ramos wouldhave scored close to a 10 for 
 bringing the Philippines to
greater heights. But, the Asiancrisis was brought about bygreed, pushing property pricesand development as if therewas no end to good times.This was not a Philippine problem to start with, but
more of our Asian neighbors
 — Thailand, Malaysia, Korea,etc... Their rapid expansionin property development leda lot of companies to borrowmoney in US dollars. As theforeign funds pulled out of their country, it led to a mas
sive devaluation, which
caused the property bubble to burst.
In the Asian crisis, the property bubble and foreignexchange losses hit the devel
opers and larger corporations.In America, the property bubble which led to the nan
cial crisis is hitting not onlythe nancial institutions butthe American consumer whohas borrowed with very lowequity, even for as low as 10 percent. Before the crisis,
 Yes, we can wow the world
(Continued on page 20)(Continued on page 9)(Continued on page 23)
Sagada: An UnexpectedCulinary Paradise
tradition, is now also famousfor its surprisingly good food,a twist of fate that occurred
(Continued on page 9)
 Building façade of Bay Garden Club and  Residences
FROM A DISTANCE ByCarmen N. PedrosaSunday, May 4, 2008
This issue has a personal
resonance for me because both my husband and Iworked for the Lopezes in our younger days. Bert was vice president and general manager of Meralco Securities, the
forerunner of First Philippine
Holdings and I was a reporter 
Meralco and theLopez family
 ple, have made their presencefelt in many countries notonly through its citizens, butthrough Chinese restaurants,temples, religion, culture andthe numerous Chinatowns thatcan be found in most greatcities. The Indians, on theother hand, have spread their arts, places of worship, foodand Bollywood movies whichhave become recognized,enjoyed and admired every
where.But what do we Filipinoshave to show for ourselves?While it seems we mayhave settled outside our home
land in quieter ways than theChinese, Indians, Americansand Brits, I am sure that weare also somehow impactingon the world.Take the world maritimeindustry. The best, most plentiful and in-demandseamen in the world are our kababayan.
Through the
years, wehave built our 
reputation in
this eld, andthe world hasrecognizedour compe
tence. Also,consider thatduring the1950s and1960s, manySingaporeans,Malaysians,Indonesiansand Iranianswere study
ing architecture, engineer 
ing and other professionalcourses in Manila. It is alsoa little known secret that the banking industry in Indone
sia was professionalized byFilipino expats during the‘70s. One only needs to goto these countries to see howwell they have learned their lessons. In fact, they learnedit so well they have outpacedus in many ways.In many parts in Asia, the best musicians are Filipinos.Take a look at the nightspots
(Continued on page 15)
for the Manila Chronicle. Asit were, we had a ringsideview to watch the drama of afamily, though not the richest, best typies the Philippineoligarchy that has been the bane to modernize the coun
try. But it will take a long timeand a book to write on thosememories.The need for lower elec
tricity is the most obvious and practical aspect of the dispute between the Lopezes and thegovernment. But there is agreater reason whether os
tensibly or not that PresidentGMA will settle as she driveshome her government’s point.It was summarized by her father, the late President Dios
dado Macapagal when his
(Continued on page 2)
version of food aid, the Post saidMonday.
These blips on the global food
for its ancient hanging cofns, prehistoric limestone caves,underground waterways, andtime-honored hand-weavingabout a decade ago. Nowa
days, a number of intrepidtravelers journey to Sagada just for the food!To reach Sagada is a bittricky, especially on a rainyday in a shroud of fog. Our 
June 20 - 26, 2008
Riz Oades
Sim Silverio
What your TitoWillie was all about 
The last ‘openletter’ to Daboy
 Poignant Refections on
 Alamo, Youth Basketball 
Canao Festival in SagadaSagada townThe hills of Sagada
Page 2June 20 - 26, 2008 Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588 Visit our website at http://www.asianjournalusa.com
 By Carmen Guerrero Nakpil  Philstar, April 13, 2008
It all really started because of a torn, brown paper bag. Ernie, a ten-year-old urchin standing near a truck atthe corner of Zaragoza and Asuncionstreets in Tondo — the most congestedand poorest district of inner, ancientManila — clutched the bag too tightly.It began to tear, scattering its contentson the pavement.
The truck was one of two elded by
the National Food Authority that eve-ning to carry rice to the Divisoria Mar-ket. It was parked in front of theshop of Carding Peña. “LicensedGrains Dealer,” said the blue-lettered sign on his storefront.The rice shop had been closed for three days and was still boarded-up. Carding had appeared on thesidewalk, dressed in red shorts,rubber Japanese slippers and adirty white undershirt to supervisethe unloading of the rice con-signment. Now that the rice hadarrived he felt that he could facehis neighbors, the plump womensitting in their deck chairs infront of great baskets of papayasand pineapples, the men pushingcarts of folded banana leaves, the jeepney drivers and their loads of  patient people squashed in amongchickens, bananas, pigs’ feet andcoconuts.It was late evening, close to teno’clock. The market vendors weregetting ready for the long, sleep-less night of preparation for themorning’s customers. The talk wasof the rice shortage. The air was rifewith rumors of the most absurd kind,things like the government corneringthe rice deliberately to create panicand to send in tanks.
One of the sacks on the half-lled
truck had developed a slit. Perhaps ithad been deliberately slashed with a blade by one of the hundreds of menwho had walked and driven by the ricetruck in the last half hour that it had been parked on the street. A trickle of rice began to drop from the torn sack and Ernie noticed it. He ran inside,took a brown paper bag which hadcontained their breakfast bread thatmorning, and began to scoop the ricedroppings a few grains at a time intohis paper bag.It took him several minutes to col-
lect a stful of rice, but he thought it
worth the trouble for he had not eatenrice in a week—only bread rolls anda sugar bun to go with some tinned
sardines and his ll of the overripe
 pineapple which the fruit vendorshad readily offered him from theafternoon’s unsold stock. Some of the grains were wet from the muddy
The Rice Riot of 1983
gutter, and after a few more minutesof scooping, Ernie noticed that the bottom of his bag had become soggyand torn. The rice he had painfullycollected dropped with a plop on thestreet.Ernie screamed, “Kuya!” callinghis older brother—a wiry boy aboutsixteen years old—to come and helphim. The older brother, thinkingsome harm had come to Ernie, turnedabruptly from the evening’s chore of half-pushing, half-lifting a cart with a pile of coconuts. Relaxing his grip onit, he let his corner of the cart drop.The coconuts slid into the street with aloud tumble. Someone bellowed. Per-haps the man whose foot was caughtin the corner of the cart Ernie’s brother had stopped lifting. At the same timeCarding, the rice dealer, who had beenfeeling threatened the whole of lastweek by the lack of rice deliveries and by the ugly mood of his neighbors, jumped on the truck on top of the threerows of rice sacks. He blew loudlyon the whistle which he had acquired
when he had rst received his license
as grain dealer.Ernie began to weep hysterically ina mannered soprano voice over theloss of his rice hoard. At that moment,something almost audibly snappedin the air. Ernie’s wails struck a rawnerve in the crowd. Hot, nervous people were pressed around the mar-ket in several layers of want, cupidityand aggressiveness. Suddenly therewere half a dozen men on top of therice truck, and they quickly pushedCarding out. He fell with a roar ontothe street below. The women vendorsscreamed and clutched their crochetedshawls and their aprons full of small bills and coins. Someone shouted,“The rice! Son of a whore, let’s getthe rice!” Here and there men beganto yell and jeer, to pick up stones and pieces of wood and brick.
Instantly there were fty men on
top of the truck pulling and heavingat the sacks. Two of them quickly brought down a sack and dragged italong the street. Other men, still ontop of the truck with many a glanceat the successful looters followed suit.The fallen Carding continued to blowhis whistle through the pandemoniumwhich now overwhelmed the streetcorner. The sharp sound of it onlyaggravated the hysteria. The rowof jeepneys trying to make its waythrough the narrow space of street stillleft unclaimed now stopped. Thedrivers and passengers got off and jumped onto the truck. It was massassault on the rapidly diminishing pile of rice sacks.Through the narrow inside cor-ridors of the market, the frenzyswept like a hot wind, rattling thewomen’s throats, clattering up the board along the stalls, shakingthe counters of the grimy shops,driving the men and the boys tothe truck.The commotion soon reached the police station nearby. The patrol-man on duty stopped talking onthe phone, stood up and lookedaround. Something was happening.Pulling up his trousers over his rice belly, which in the last week haddecreased somewhat since therewas no rice to be had at home or in the various cafes and restaurantsin his beat, the patrolman beckonedto his partner. Both of them walkedtowards the source of tumult, hand-guns at the ready.By this time the rice on the truck was exhausted. Every last sack had been dragged away, opened in the al-leys and fought over by a dozen menand women armed with clubs and bowls. More men were coming look-ing for rice and shouting at the top of their lungs, “Rice! Rice! Bigas!” as if the two-syllable Tagalog word were a battle-cry.Seeing the empty truck, they turnedto the United Bakery, which held traysof loaves and buns within its glasscases. There was a sound of glass breaking and more screams. The menwent on and rampaged through Edna’sBeauty Shop, where the beautician,whose business had been very badlately, had a few sticks of octopus broiling over coals. They overthrewthat. The men kept coming, a wild,amorphous mass of greasy heads;
sweaty, half-naked torsos; and ailing
arms and legs. They swept through theConstant Auto Supply, the St. JudePharmacy, and half a dozen other nameless shops which held noth-ing that the crowd wanted. Piles of  bananas, pineapples and papayas laycrushed and damaged at the feet of thescreaming and gesticulating women.The crowd did not want fruit. It didnot want bread or barbecued squid.It wanted rice. It was tormented byan immemorial hunger for only onething: the boiled white grains whichfed both their bodies and spirits.The rampaging horde jumped acrossthe street to the other market, the Ar-ranque, which was cleaner and moreorderly. The stalls were boarded-upfor the night. Those too were de-molished as the fury escalated. The policeman and his mate had long agoretreated to their telephone to callheadquarters. Now the whole widthof the main avenue, C.M. Recto, was
lled with men inexplicably lunging
at each other, overturning the light pick-up trucks, Fieras and Minicas.
Small res glowed in the middle of 
the street. Loud explosions rocked acorner. An old wooden structure, infront of which a couple of cigarettevendors were hastily collecting their 
wares, caught re.
A siren sounded in the distance.People’s heads popped out from thewindows of the large buildings onC.M. Recto. Someone fired what
sounded like New Year’s Eve re
-crackers—but the policemen knew itwas an Armalite. Where in hell had itcome from?In front of the Tutuban railway sta-tion the crowd was thickest. Peopleclimbed the railings and ran down thetracks. Disheveled men, wild-eyed
and ushed, stopped all the trucks and
vehicles in front of the station.Knees trembling, pushing againsteach other, back to chest, hundredsof men—dock workers and steve-dores from the nearby North Harbor,
thieves, gangsters, waterfront xers
and shop-keepers—joined the fray,grappling and cursing each other 
without knowing why. After the rst
frenzied half-hour it was no longer  just rice they were asking for. It wasa vast, unnamed psychic need for solace, for justice, for a hot meal, for meaning, for a roof over their heads.Who knows what, in the end, the mobwas looking for.The only shop spared was the bank  branch of the Rizal Commercial,which escaped because its grilleddoors, although repeatedly rattled by the looters, kept its premises outof their reach. Other shops were notso lucky. Their merchandise wascarried out by the mob except when,displeasing or useless, it was burnedright on the spot. Men carried on their shoulders or dragged behind themsides of beef, car tires and batteries, a bedstead, an ikon of the Child Jesus,
(Continued on page 24)(Continued on page 11)
Meralco and the Lopez family
(Continued from page 2)
reforming government chastised theLopezes. He said the Lopezes were
“using political power and inuence
to promote the interests of its busi-ness empire.” That still goes on andthe chosen vehicle in our time is near monopoly of media. It is also well-known among those who have comeclose enough to the Lopez organiza-tion that any government official,elected or not, senators, congressmenand some justices included are fair game for bribery yet tracks are wellcovered.It is not certain where the disputewill lead us. After all, other presidentshave tried to break the monopoly butin the end were too scared to followthrough. Today there are at least three potential presidential candidates for 2010 that can be said to be under theLopez belt. Let us make it simple andgo for the jugular. Can the countryafford the cost of electricity thatMeralco charges? It seems not. Themessage of what is involved must godown to the masses.* * *Still it would be instructive to re-visit how the Lopezes came to such power as to own such a sensitive public utility like Meralco. The Lo- pez brothers Eugenio and Fernandowere shrewd players of how to parlay political power for economic power.As a young reporter I had heard itsaid that presidential elections in thePhilippines were decided on wherethe sugar bloc puts down its wager.Where the Lopez money goes, therealso go the winners.Back in 1947, Eugenio boughtManila’s morning Chronicle (circ.44,750), and by adding to it a stringof 25 TV and radio stations, he soon became the kingmaker using hisnewly acquired media.In his book Anarchy of FamiliesAlfred McCoy wrote on the opensecret on how rent-seeking familieslike the Lopezes build their empires.“With these newspapers, and later aHiligaynon edition, Ang Panahon, Eu-genio Lopez maneuvered to establishhimself as the city’s most powerfuland professional media voice,” wroteMcCoy.But they got their biggest coup,their crown jewels when hard hittingwriters in Chronicle riled againstforeign ownership of public utilities.The foreign owners of Meralco then,the General Public Utilities Corp gotthe hint. Worried by the campaign of the Lopez-owned Chronicle, the US-owned company sold off the ManilaElectric. Predicatably it was bought by a government-underwritten Phil-ippine syndicate put together by theLopezes.But Macapagal was not only after the Lopezes, he also went after other entrenched businessmen. If it seemedthe Lopezes were singled out it wasonly because they were most vulner-able for personal income tax evasionand illegal interests in governmentcontracts.The earlier Macapagal campaignwas about rent-seeking which in political terms means the “politicalmanipulation of the regulatory powersof the state over businesses to favor a few, paving the way for installationof business empires: “By skewinginvestments and regulations to favor its allies, the Philippine executivehas, as an institution, compromisedthe integrity of the bureaucracy andallowed the privatization of publicresources. Over the long term, then,we can conclude that such policiesweaken the state and empower elitefamilies, ultimately limiting the ca- pacity of the bureaucracy to directentrepreneurs and lead the country’sdevelopment,” McCoy adds.* * *The Macapagal at the helm of thePhilippine government today con-tinues with her father’s crusade asher legacy. We should support her. Itwill mean not only lower electricity bills but a beginning of the end of rent-seeking oligarchs. She is tak-ing on the Lopezes for the high costof electricity with whatever risks itinvolves because of powerful mediaand politicians in their pocket.
She wants to look into what justies
these increases that make electricityin the Philippines the highest in Asia.One reason put forward by thosewho know the market have accusedMeralco of buying from WholesaleElectricity Spot Market (WESM)during peak hours when rates arehigher. “This was one of the mainreasons given by members of the power industry for the high ratescharged by Meralco. We know thereis room for improvement in the rates,”the President said. This time therewill be no excuses, President GMAordered Napocor to sell their power toMeralco at lower rates, This is oftencited by Meralco to justify their costs.Instead of using the P4.11/kWh rate Napocor would now charge Meralcothe same preferential rate of P3.52/
Page 3 Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588 Visit our website at http://www.asianjournalusa.comJune 20 - 26, 2008
 PENMAN By Butch Dalisay PhilStar 
Thirty years ago, as a young couple with athree-year-old daughter, Beng and I movedinto a two-bedroom bungalow on the fringesof San Mateo — the kind of bare concreteshoebox thousands of lower-middle-classFilipinos yearned to own.Before the realestate develop-ers latched on tosomething and be-gan giving gauzyEnglish names totheir projects — like “Westbrook Hills,” “Domin-ion Farms,” and“Juniper Estates” — our subdivi-sion’s now dearlydeparted owner went straight tothe point of thewhole construc-tion business andmodestly blessed
her little efdom
with her ownname. And soshe remains me-morialized in therusting sign thatgreets all who en-ter the main gateof “Modesta Vil-lage.”Of course, inthe late ’70s, that gate and that sign werenew, as was everything else on that raggededge of a yet-hesitant metropolis. Our vil-lage was literally hacked out of a hillside;the red earth bled from the springs thattumbled out of the cloven rock, and thetall talahib grass fought mightily to staywhere it was and reclaim patches that were being burnt away. At least once a year thegrass blossomed and spawned hairy whitetufts that the sunset tinted an orange-pink.Shortly after we moved in, we learned thatabout six hilltops and valleys behind uswas a mountain lagoon we could still diveinto like children (and we did), and swathsof forest that were rumored to shelter wilddeer as well as escaped convicts from the penitentiary.I gave up a chance to pick out a lot in amore sensible place like Fairview, whichitself was then just getting off the ground,and chose instead the curious charms of Modesta Village, for reasons I now can’t re-member — unless it was because my father 
had also or had rst decided to live there,and being a good Filipino boy I gured that
the best compromise between independence
and lial piety was to take the house next
to my father’s.And that’s exactly what I did, becoming No. 20 to his No. 18 on Block 31. We gotexactly the same concrete shell with twosmall bedrooms, a kitchen, a toilet, a diningroom, and a living room occupying abouthalf of a 240-square-meter lot.With spades of faith and a dash of imagi-nation, these subdivision houses could betransformed into dream abodes, with a littleyard in front and a clothesline behind. Theyall had garages, but few had cars in them — at least not yet. My father had a small Ford
Escort that his ofce lent him, but that was
always parked outside, the driveway being
too good to be driven on; my own rst car, a
VW Beetle, wasstill three yearsaway. Never mindcars: we wereall only toohappy to moveup in the world,from peren-nial apartmentdwellers andrenters to proudand permanentmiddle-classhomeowners.That joy wasmanifest in theriot of colorsthat my neigh- bors chose for their houses: pink, green, pur- ple, blue; oneneighbor, a sea-man, recalledhis voyages inconcrete, shap-ing his façadeinto a ship’s bow. Only myfather’s house and mine stood out in unre-markable white.For all that, we hocked our souls to thedevil of amortization. In my case, I was paying what today would be a laughable pittance — P782.84 a month (when youwrite the same check month after monthand year after year, you remember the exact
gure) for 15 years, with no down payment.
It doesn’t look like a lot but it was half mysalary then. Beng and I worked in PadreFaura, clear across the city, and sometimesit would be eight o’clock and we would still be on the road, literally, tired and hungryfrom waiting for the hourly bus that wentthe whole way home to Modesta.Yup, that was home, such as it was. Ithink someone forgot to check the water table when they set up the village, so allthe backyard wells dried up quickly andsoon all the water had to be trucked in.Then people began forgetting that electric bills were meant to be paid, so the power company pulled the plug and plunged thewhole village into medieval darkness for many months. At that woeful period’s end,our barangay chairman’s jubilation over thereturn of juice to our wires was such that hesigned his announcement with a contextu-
ally precise “Electrically yours.”
We lived there for about eight years. We
took Demi up the hilltop to y kites and
watch the sunset. I got a car and learnedto drive and sulked when I had to use it to
This old house
(Continued on page 10)
 ROSES & THORNS  By Alejandro R. Roces PhilStar 
The effects of global warming are now being felt increasingly all over the planet.Extreme changes in weather patterns have been wreaking havoc in many differentcountries. Almost everyday, you hear or read news of disasters caused by nature’swrath. And because of this, global foodsupply, especially rice, is being imperiled.These have led world leaders to searchfor alternative sources of energy and foodsupply. Most especially now that the priceof oil is increasing almost everyday, theneed to identify and developed alternativeenergy sources have become evident morethan ever.
Here in the Philippines, the ratication
of the Biofuels Act of 2006 have led to thediscovery and development of some of these substitute sources of energy. Coco biodiesel, ethanol and, most recently, jat-ropha are all already being propagated andused. However, these have sparked a rag-ing debate on whether our country shouldengage in the mass production of these biofuels and add to the problem of foodscarcity. Now, an often taken-for-granted plant is being touted as the best solution toending the heated food versus fuel debate.Malunggay, known scientifically asMoringa oleifera Lamk, is one of theworld’s most useful plants. It is the only plant that can provide both biofuel, medi-cine and food at the same time. It is used
as food, effective occulant or water treat
-ment, antibiotic, source of oil and coagulantfor turbid waters. It is also called “mother’s best friend” and “miracle vegetable” by
those who know the malunggay’s bene
-cial uses. Malunggay leaves are an excellentsource of Vitamins A and B, and mineralssuch as calcium and iron. In fact, it was foundto have seven times the Vitamin C found inoranges, four times the calcium and twice the
 protein found in milk, 75 percent of the iron
in spinach, 400 percent more Vitamin A thancarrots and thrice the potassium in bananas. Iteven has copper and all the essentialamino acids.As biofuel feedstock, malunggayseeds can produce up to 40 percent oil.This means that a kilo of seeds fromthe malunggay pods would yield 400milliliters of oil, which can be usedeither for cooking or as substitute for diesel. Some scientists in India havemade a study expounding on Moringaoil’s properties and they found that ithas an iodine number better than that of regular diesel, indicating fuel stability;a cetane number indicating good igni-
tion behavior; and a cold lter plugging
 point indicating suitability even in cold weather conditions. And unlike jatropha, Moringa oilwill not producetoxic by- products.Moreimpor-tantly,malung-gay growsin abun-danceanywhere, particular-ly in hillyareas where it does not compete for space withregular food crops, especially rice. Malunggay’s
many benets must be explored now that we
know its potential to solve the food crisis andwean us from the usage of fossil fuel.
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