December 6, 2022

The fifth class municipality of Pasil, Kalinga is one of the 10 local government units in the country that were commended by the Department of the Interior and Local Government for above par performance in their year-to-year local tax remittances.

In a recent circular of commendation, DILG announced that Pasil topped the list by earning P12.8 million in fiscal year 2018-2019, outperforming its usual P.8M annual local tax earnings.

Pasil is of the remote towns in Kalinga and was established in 1968, separating the mountainous community from historical Lubuagan town.

Long before the scourge of World War II, Pasil hosted an emergent American-owned gold mine that was later taken over by Manila-based prospectors, paving the way to becoming one of the country’s world-class gold and copper reserves now known as the Batong Buhay gold mine.

Large-scale mining began in the ‘80s but was interrupted by the communist insurgency and often plagued by strong opposition of farmers from the vast lowland rice fields of Cagayan Valley and Tabuk, who depended largely on irrigation from the mighty Chico River.

Pollution from excessive mine silt pouring into the Pasil and Chico rivers wrought extensive damage to these vast lowland rice farms.

As a result, the Batong Buhay Gold Mine was forced to shut down in the early ‘80s leaving most of Pasil’s communities to eke out from whatever for their day-to-day life.

Mayor Alfred Malannag Jr. said Pasil residents are blessed from priceless lessons of their once painful past. Their once untended rice fields now yield the Cordillera’s best “unnoy” – heritage black rice variety, thanks to a unique feature of a perennial river that drains from a mineral rich volcano which irrigates the fields.

Most of Pasil’s heritage rice bounty are packed for export or sold at local stores at premium prices.

In another citation by the Department of Trade and Industry-CAR, Pasil outperformed a long list of third to sixth class cities and municipalities throughout the country.

Based on a joint statistical study by the Department of Finance, DILG, and Department of Finance, Pasil was ranked 632 in 2019 out of 884 communities that were enrolled in the “Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index study.

In 2020, Pasil has surged up to number 127.

Based on the fundamentals of the study, local government units are highlighted by its performance in the fields of local governance, compliance to national directives, community access through improved infrastructure and communication, better and improved finance coffers through better collections; better access to health and education; and community resiliency to calamities and other types of cataclysmic eventualities.

Malannag has cited these significant improvements in governance through a highly dynamic political leadership including innovative legislations and efficient implementers and enforcement of policies and ordinances.

Access was also significantly improved by the national government’s willingness to implement better road access, bridges, communication facilities and other infrastructure projects that enhance community cooperation and productivity.

In less than 20 years, accessibility into the municipality had a dramatic improvement with the partial concretion and conversion of roads that lead to and from all of the municipality’s barangays.

Drilling and exploration are currently underway that would provide a better perspective for a renewable energy project that may have a potential of becoming the country’s top geothermal power resource.– Bernard Okubo