Friday, April 18, 2008

For The Things that Really Matter

Image modified - source from lankalibrary

My long absence and silence from my blogs had a reason. Breaking this silence has its reason too.

For some time now I have observed this government slowly sink into the dark pits of its own making. Allowing the corrupt among high levels of government to feed on the lifeblood of its people has led to mismanagement of the basic things that really matter; food, water, shelter and clothing...the simple things. The corrupting influence has now matured even affecting the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court itself. But of course this has already been predicted.

The current problem with the food crisis has also been foreseen. Unknown to these dark creatures installed or appointed into the corridors of power, their very action of corrupt and abusive practice led to what the nation is now. This had happened in the very unfortunate period of our nation. If only properly managed, by this time the idle barren lands would be full of fruit bearing Jatropha a source of biofuel and would have lessened our nation’s dependence on oil (I wonder what happened to the five billion peso allocation for this.) More importantly this plant could have been a stopgap for whatever happens to the unstable world conditions which has a steadily growing number of disasters, whether natural or man-made. By this time, our millions of hectares of undeveloped and idle agricultural land should have provided us with farm produce enabling us to attain food sufficiency and security.

What had happened in the years that passed? The unresolved fertilizer scam is only the tip of the corruption iceberg, compared to the avalanche of neglect for our country’s future. Even now, you could inspect the massive unnecessary infrastructures built by government which leads one to conclude that up to now the “moderate” or “immoderate” corruption mechanism is still in effect. Instead of money being spent to aid our countrymen develop their idle land, government pours down money where an effective conduit for corrupt pay-offs to flourish. Perpetrators of this have created a mechanism which extends from municipal level up to the national level. This is not new and they want to make sure it stays that way.

Image from Irrawady.org

As of recent, government official and unofficial “spokesmen” say that there is no rice crisis; this of course is another half-truth. There may not be a CURRENT rice crisis in a proportion some imagined; however there is an actual PROJECTED rice crisis caused by calamities happening in countries all over the world, which includes our nation. Trying to allay the fears of the citizenry while they quietly try to fix the mess we’re in is a typical standard move of the administration; in any case this may be beside the point. The point is that there is a deficit in rice production for our country and that we cannot attain self sufficiency now and in the immediate future.

If the natural calamities continue in our nation and Southeast Asian region, even if we boost development of our long neglected
irrigation system, it may well nigh be too late. The effect of corruption is exponential, therefore something committed years ago would affect the condition of the “now” and in this instance the health of our agriculture industry and food self sufficiency. More that two years ago this deficit has been headline news, yet instead of taking action, those in position took the money and laughed all the way to the bank. The administration instituted a system of sycophancy, within Congress, the National Police, the Armed Forces and now the Supreme Court; as such the disaster looms nearer and is at a real loss for a permanent solution.

As I have said, most of these sycophants whose brain power is often limited to self-interest, preserving power, preserving those who GIVE power, and money to name a few; these poor sods don’t know what’s coming to them. The only sad thing here is … their greed, abuse and arrogance would take the rest of the country to chaos with them, including you, me … us. The results of their sin will be upon us and the sin of the substantial number of our countrymen who have doped themselves with creature comforts, computers, fashion, fame and other Metropolitan pleasures to escape the reality of declining standard of morals within our leadership and society will for certain heavily contribute to the looming catastrophe.

Already the crops of the last season failed in Mindanao and Visayas because of strong untimely rains. Freak weather conditions (Ever heard of tornadoes with hail and ice in the southern Philippines before?) have become the norm yet we fail to diagnosis this fact and prepare for any impending crisis. Two or three planting seasons that fails in the Southeast Asian region would spell disaster in a nation lacking in food surplus, guess which nation fail in this regard? …the nation that does not have adequate food stock and production surplus. You don’t have to look far.

An untimely combination of calamities, forest denudation, water pollution and growing population could result in raging discontent within the populace. Making matters worse, the type of discontent would be something which would hit closer to home … our stomachs and our pockets.


The only solution I can think of right now is a shift of food crops for production. To start weaning our populace from the water intensive and sensitive rice produce. At most, a hectare of ricefield can produce 100 sacks or approximately 5 tons of palay, which converts to about 3 tons of rice. Hybrid rice may increase this yield (perhaps double this) but in reality not significantly so; this is because of the dependence of high yield rice to fertilizers and pesticides (Nice work, colonial mentality led us to develop rice hybrids heavily dependent on imported chemicals.) Either lack or too much rain equally decreases the yield of any rice variety, whether hybrid or not.

Another calamity that is besetting our ricefields is the Blackbug. This pest strip the rice stalks of its sustenance. This insect is also highly resistant to pesticide. The “Light Trap” (High intensity light is used to draw these horde of insects since they are attracted to light sources during the night) is only a stopgap solution which never really got rid of this problem. So
where do we go from here? The answer is development of a different food crop source. And I would volunteer one word … Sweet Potato.

I have read this in an article somewhere, in any case I would not go into the details. I would rather let the lazy corrupt sycophants in office figure this out as this is their original job in the first place.

So one might ask why I choose to tell all of this knowing that I would also be helping out the graft ridden people, currently wallowing in a disgusting system which this administration has created, to think. For months now I was torn between letting this administration drown in a coming disaster of its own making (along with the rest of us) or giving a sound suggestion for the sake of love for my countrymen.

After more than a month of reflection, eventually my love for my countrymen won out over my disgust for this government. Besides, this administration would likely not listen anyway (or at least pretend not to but would do it several months down the line and crow about their brilliance) and by the time they do, and if these calamities continue their course, it would be too late. They have several years to do this or else it will be for naught. (Divine
Providence might forgive us yet and give us some slack; however, gauging by our collective behavior, I would not heavily bet on it.) Who knows, if this government and my apathetic fellow countrymen come to their senses, I may volunteer more information on the suggested alternate food source … or then again, maybe I would not.


5 comments:

stuart-santiago said...

hay naku. you're so right. things are going to get worse before they get better, if at all. and what's the government up to? charter change na naman, ano ba yan! and "conditional" yes to jpepa! i wonder if there's a connection. they want to change the charter so they can say yes to jpepa without violating the constitution? sink sink sink deeper into the darkest pits.

Kabayan said...

Hi Stuart Santiago,

After posting this article in my blog the govt. propaganda gears started to grind, unfortunately for them the truth will eventually come out. The Dept of Agri branch in the Visayas said there was a bumper crop rice harvest, later Ilo-ilo was reported to have the highest price for rice sold. An anachronistic anomaly or perhaps simply padding the figures.

They also reported succeeding in eradication Black Bug pest in a paltry 300 to 400 hectares of ricefields in the Northern Luzon last January. However they failed to mention the TENS of THOUSANDS of hectares of Black Bug damage in Mindanao that occurred just last month. The administration still rely on spin-doctoring till they actually believe their lies, hence their lies and half-truths will be their downfall.

On the positive note, some notable figures from the private sector have took notice of my blog and now looked at the angle of crop diversification that would be less dependent on water. Secondly, the govt. got scared for some reason that they continue to import rice, a stop-gap measure at best.

With this govt's lack of creativity , foresight, dedication and connection to the people, now I simply wait as the inevitable unfolds.

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