The Peculiars

Iba Sila sa Lahat (One-of-their-kind)

by Gil Camporazo

Ferdinand Sy

Ferdinand S. Sy, the office-in-charge of Assistant Schools Division of La Carlota City left a beneficial legacy to the people of Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo through his school, Granada National High School that “explodes for the better” before he was transferred to La Carlota Division sometime in early December 2010.

As a native of Gigantes Islands, he knew that a vast of land area in his place was barren due to soil erosion, which lessens or even cripple the top soil of the rich nutrients that are needed by any plants and vegetables that grow.

To remedy this dilemma, a biogas plant was realized. Sometime in October 2008, doing some resourcing to find ways and means for the project of enriching the arid area for his agriculture land of the school, Sy met a Japanese Peace Corps volunteer in the office of the Division of Iloilo. They became fast friends. He presented the situation of his school, its needs. Yosuke Hase was interested to help augmenting the agricultural needs of his school, more particularly the food production and the nutrition requirement of the students. Yosuke was willing to finance the project whatever it is.

Having heard about the Auke Idzenga, a Dutch engineer and an inventor of biogas plant which used local, indigenous materials, he visited Idzenga’s techno park at Mansilingan, Bacolod City. He transacted his proposed project to the Dutch engineer. The said project's cost was more than One Hundred Thousand Pesos. The Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc., (AIDFI) personnel installed the project to the school agriculture area in Granada National High School, Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo. The external stakeholders who are composed of the students’ parents and community residents donated their labor and some local materials like sand and gravel to complete construction of the project.

The project was completed and was inaugurated on June 12, 2009 by a simple ribbon cutting ceremony and it was well attended by the benefactor, Yosuke Hase and the parents of the students, teachers, pupils and community residents. Two days later started its first operation.

Sy’s dream was realized and functional. The technology, livelihood education students benefitted so much with the project for their vegetable garden. They realized the importance of animal manure as a source of a liquid fertilizer for their planted vegetables. Sufficient food for undernourished students was made available. And the community residents availed of the product of the school’s bio-intensive gardening.

However, in the planning stage of the project, various negative reactions cropped up more particularly with the students’ parents, community residents and among the teachers. By experience, they were tired of the bad odor emitting from the pigpen. They believed that the project would fail in the long run.

Others were optimistic suggested pushing through with the project. They understood that modern technology would address the problem anyway. But Sy’s initiative won’t hinder him to pursue with the project. Determined, undaunted, he followed his dream until he gets tired. “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” He believed that.

Now the project was realized. Everyone was being assisted with their food and nutritional supplement specially those who are undernourished. Biology students enhance their technological knowledge on how this biogas plant operates. No one, he believes, will be stagnant on the pursuit of the quest for larger scale of knowledge for everyday is a learning day.

Biogas plant is a legacy that Sy bequeathed to the people of Gigantes Islands and to the students of Granada National High School, especially those who are undernourished and those who could not have their regular meal in going to school early because of the distance they have to travel to come to school. This plant produces a high-protein water content that fertilizes the food production of the school. In so doing, the school produces more vegetables for the consumption of 2 barangays, which have a population of more than 5,000 residents.

On the other hand, Ferdinand Sy personally has expressed his congratulations to AIDFI founder, Auke Idzenga who recently received recognition from the City of Bacolod in a resolution authored by councilor Ceasar Distrito. Accordingly, AIDFI is instrumental in installing “157 hydraulic ram pump units nationwide and other water and energy systems in more than a hundred poor agricultural communities benefitting around 35,000 individuals”

Posted 22 December 2010

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