Today as in the past, the months of November and December are the most critical and dangerous period in the Bicol Region as far as typhoons and its destructive aftermath are concerned. Most especially in Catanduanes which is today as in the past is originally famous for its monicker: THE LAND OF THE HOWLING WINDS. Today, however, tourism-wise, Catanduanes is now a HAPPY ISLAND.

            In fact there was a time, several decades ago,  when we had typhoons in May. This is more so now that Mother Earth (Pope Francis calls it sister Earth) is most likely taking revenge against us due to our exploitative and wanton human activities inflicted on her.  

          Barely three (3) years after Nina’s devastating power unleased in 2016 at a time when we are supposed to be merry as we celebrate the birth of the Messiah—December 25—here came Typhoon Tisoy who hit us on December 2-3, spoiling in the process the much awaited activities in the fiesta celebration of our Patroness, Mary Immaculate Conception, under Mayor Sinforoso ‘Posoy’ Sarmiento’s administration.

           Agriculture and fisheries are always vulnerable to the vagaries of weather conditions due to climate change. This was very apparent on the devastation wrought by Tisoy, {international name–Kammuri},the 20th  typhoon to hit the provinces of Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur, Samar etc.

          In Catanduanes alone, reliable sources revealed,  damage to agriculture and fisheries reached P229-M. Agriculture and fisheries took the brunt. Not only that.  Tisoy left one person dead, 13 injured and 370 homes destroyed in its eight-hour rampage last December 2-3.

          Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA) provincial office report revealed that 34 percent of Catanduanes effective abaca plantation area of 25,942 hectares sustained either slight, moderate or heavy damage.

         Of the 11 towns, Caramoran (1,969 hectares), Virac (1,621 hectares), San Miguel (1,605 hectares), Gigmoto (1,062 hectares) and Baras (908 hectares) accounted for 83% of the damaged abaca plantations. The extent of the damage in these five municipalities ranged from 60 to 80%, the report added.

          Unfortunately, five agri-fishery projects of the provincial government, including the Capitol Farmville, a salt-making project and a tilapia hatchery, sustained over P3 million while damage to provincial roads and bridges was estimated at P6 million.

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           Congratulations to the following forty (41) CSU-College of Agriculture and Fisheries (CAF) 2019 newly licensed agriculturists: ALFARO, Christian L; ARAOJO, Leonel M.; ARCILLA, Chona; ASINERO, Lieza A.; BANDOL, Gerald C.; BODOTA, Cheska Dianne T.; BONA, John Henry V.; BONGANAY, Norielyn B.; BORROMEO, Ma. Catherine N.; BUCOL, Mary Jane P.; CAMACHO, Charlote Francia DV.; CAMACHO, John Patrick; CANCIO, Mark Ryan T.; DANIEL, Ruben R.; DIWATA, Eric; FRANCISCO, Kim Jesse Ian Irving; GABATO, Anthony Jr. H.; GIANAN, John M.; GONZALES, Rizalyn; LUMABI, Mary Ann;

            MASAGCA, Christine May; MELGAR, ANA Mae; MOLINA, Hannah D.R.; OMAYAN, Connie O.; QUINTAL, John Wil V.; REBUYA, Fore F.; ROMERO, Hannah T.; ROMERO, Peter Rey; SALVADOR, Herbert S.; SAMUDIO, Ray; SAPICO, Rescel S.; SARMIENTO, John Franco V.; SOLSONA, Christian; TABLIZO, Efren Jr. Z.; TAPEL, Noli Boy; TERRAZOLA, Jerome; TORRECAMPO, Marlyn; TRAQUENA, Rochelle; TUMPANG, Myra Joy S.; USERO, Karl O.; and VILLANUEVA, Antonnete A.

             These Licensure for Agriculturists (LEA) Board Passers took the examination on November 5-7, 2019 at various designated examination centers in the Bicol Region and elsewhere.

             Of course, I salute the faculty members and the non-teaching personnel of the COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (CAF) headed by Dean Epifanio V. Rubio and most especially to the respective parents of these newly licensed agriculturists.

             However, due to space and time constraints, I have yet to get a copy of the reported 11 or 12 LEA passers at the CSU- Panganiban campus. Nevertheless, congrats to all the board passers in there, the administration, faculty and staff headed by Dr. Edna A. Pante, CSU-Panganiban Campus Director, and their respective parents. I’ll try my best to get an official copy of the LEA passers in that northern-town campus.