‘Bachang’ produces results for Ifugao rice terraces | Inquirer News

‘Bachang’ produces results for Ifugao rice terraces

/ 10:21 PM March 15, 2012

BAGUIO CITY—Civic groups, tourists and government workers continue to pitch in as Ifugao farmers begin preparing for the restoration of the Batad rice terraces in Ifugao, Gov. Eugene Balitang said here on Wednesday.

The Batad terraces in the tourist town of Banaue belong to the cluster of rice terraces declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) as World Heritage Site in 1995. Unusually heavy rains over the years had eroded sections of the terraces in Batad and in other parts of Ifugao.

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On Monday, the Banaue government began clearing and stockpiling rocks for stonewalls. It also started field demonstration exercises every Thursday for people who volunteer to rebuild the terraces, reports from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) rice program office showed.

The reports said the Department of Budget Management has set aside P20 million as initial repair funds for the terraces.

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Balitang said the Ifugao government will also tap funds from the Unesco National Commission of the Philippines (Unacom) to repair the terraces.

He said tourists and civic groups have helped in the work as a result of a bachang (appeal for help) that was called by communities there.

The Catholic organization Couples for Christ sent a delegation last week, while the Philippine Army promised to send soldiers to help, reports from Balitang’s office said.

The Ifugao government has prepared new maps and geographical data to guide farmers and engineers in their work on the terraces.

The terraces are unique as they were the result of ancient engineering practices that prevent the mountain from eroding.

Ifugao is a rainforest so the paddies act as soil and runoff water trap, while layers of forest cover in the mountains serve as watersheds, the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office said.

On March 10, Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on cultural communities, inspected the damaged terraces.

Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr., chair of the House committee on cultural communities, has sponsored a bill that provides a stable source of funds for restoring and maintaining the rice terraces. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Agriculture, heritage site, Ifugao, rice terraces, Tourism
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