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Dec 03rd
Home Columns Dissenting Opinion The Arroyo Administration Is Talking Cheap Again
The Arroyo Administration Is Talking Cheap Again PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Dissenting Opinion
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 22:47

Yes, talk is cheap. In 2004 the Filipino people were 97% sufficient in rice. Today, by Aggie Secretary Arthur Yaps's own admission, we are down to 90%. Why? GMA stole the fertilizer and irrigation money first and reallocated it to congressmen for the 2004 national (election) canvass where they declared her President, and to various generals to keep her in power since.

So, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, don't blow our minds. Even after 2010, the repair of our irrigation system could not be completed to achieve even a 5% increase in sufficiency, so where do you intend to plant rice? In the asphalt jungles of Makati and Quezon City, where your President distributed fertilizer funds? Even the Banaue rice terraces are in disarray. You should be thankful that Typhoon Frank hit the rural areas before the planting season started or just when the seedlings were starting to take root. If just one typhoon hits us two to three months from now, that could mean the devastation of the nation’s entire rice industry.


The Department of Finance’s latest press release said "the price of rice which soared to P51 a kilo in General Santos City, Digos City and Davao City has stabilized at P32 a kilo after NFA flooded the market with cheap rice."


(Editor’s Note: Mr. Paglinawan attempts here to do a punning exercise on then Gov. Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy, stupid” slogan for the 1992 presidential election.)

Talagang gago economy na ito. (The Philippine economy is really stupid.) Government imports rice at a tremendous overprice, and then uses it to buffer market prices by unloading it at less-than local market prices. E di ba double inflation ito, Mr. Incompetent Finance Secretary! And to think that your government is using the people's money for this trading! You have become Robin Hood in reverse – getting the money from the poor to embellish the rich! Walanghiya ka, bilib pa naman ako sa iyo, pero you have also prostituted yourself under the First Kotong. (You are shameless and I believed before in your goodness but you have prostituted yourself under the First Gentleman.)


And Mohinder Suresh, are you related to the Indian who is always in the company of Mr. Arthur Yap, planning the next bonanza? Are you one of the consultants in Secretary Yap's secret Tektite office that deals only with rice, meat and generic drug importation? Have you counted your recent windfall when the Philippines imported rice at $900 per metric ton when the world market index was $800 – another cool $100 million upwards for the First Kotong!


And sorry Mr. Yap, but when you were enjoying steak during the last GMA visited, I spirited myself inside the Department of Agriculture where I again got so much dossier on your favorite avocation – technical smuggling. Or is it family business? Mahiya ka naman, binabantayan na kayo ng World Bank, wala pa rin kayong tigil! (Shame on you, you have not stopped your nefarious ways in spite of the World Bank watching your moves.) Why was the $8-billion exports to the Philippines denominated only at around $3-billion imports as it arrived on our shores? Kumita ka ba rin doon? (Did you earn also from that transaction?)


So, Mr. Teves, do not make earth-shaking predictions that are baseless. Did you know that the First Kotong will never allow sufficiency anywhere in our economy – that is their biggest opportunity to inflate our imports to ensure that they will have a fine retirement in the Bayside property in San Francisco (California) that they bought in December 2004, right after the presidential elections.


Too bad for Joc Joc Bolante, the First Kotong's biggest fundraiser. He stays in prison in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while his masters are enjoying the Dom Perignon, laughing behind his back.


Papano pa babangon si pinoy, e babuyan na ang labanan? Oops, P5-billion din ng baboy nawawala! (How can the Filipino elevate himself from the pigsty of poverty when it is the battle of the pork? Five-billion pesos in pork-barrel funds are missing.) # # #


----- Original Message ----
From: mohinder_suresh26

Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 3:33:29 AM
Subject: [Filam-Forum] Nation sufficient in rice by year 2010 – Teves

Nation sufficient in rice by year 2010 – Teves


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Finance Secretary Margarito Teves renewed yesterday the government's vow to attain rice sufficiency before or in 2010, curb energy problems and institute measures to help the poor cope with food and energy crisis.

Teves revealed the three-pronged measures during yesterday's joint meeting of the Regional Development Council, Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council at the PhelaGrande Convention Center here.

"President Arroyo has released P26.05-billion to the agriculture sector and support infrastructures to ensure that the nation attains rice sufficiency in 2010 or earlier," Teves said at the tri-council meeting.

RDC acting chairperson Maria Lourdes Lim, RPOC chief Gov. Teng Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat and Chief Supt. Felizardo Serapio Jr., Central Mindanao police chief and RDCC chairman, briefed Teves, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., and Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Melchor Rosales on the situation in the region.

During the meeting, NFA regional director Antonio dela Cruz reported that the price of rice which soared to P51 a kilo in General Santos City, Digos City and Davao City has stabilized at P32 a kilo after NFA flooded the market with cheap rice.

Under the rice program, Teves said, Mrs. Arroyo ordered the release of P3.9-billion in fertilizer assistance, P1-billion assistance for seeds, P2-billion to reduce post-harvest losses, P4.15-billion for small-irrigation facilities and P15-billion for constructing 9,227.16 kilometers of farm-to-market roads.

He disclosed that so far, the government has restored and rehabilitated facilities to irrigate 109,986 hectares of farmlands, and constructed 5,303.55 kilometers of farm-to-market roads and 29 additional post-harvest facilities under its in rice sufficiency program. Teves said the government has also launched various programs to ensure adequate rice supply through FIELDS program (fertilizer, irrigation, extension, loans, dryers and seeds). The national government allotted P1-billion while local government units will give P2.5 billion counterpart fund out of their Internal Revenue Allotment share for the FIELDS.

"We have suspended rice land conversion for two years, open up rice importation to the private sector and the farmer's cooperatives and focus the program to 15 of the 49 provinces that are in Mindanao, since its typhoon free," Teves said.

He identified the 15 provinces as Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao de Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur.

Commentary:It's a good call by PGMA to release this fund to help the agriculture sector attain the goal of rice sufficiency by year 2010. The country have been suffering due to soaring prices of food and oil and other things and clearly this initiative by our President will surely give the people relief, especially the poor.

Included in the program of attaining rice sufficiency are the rehabilitations of facilities as well as constructions of irrigations and farm-to-market roads which will benefit the farmers and even be useful after the crisis is over.

This program clearly is a good example of PGMA's good governance. It clearly shows that she's aware of what the problem is and knows exactly what to do solve it. # # #


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 23:09

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