NFA… Ningas Cogon or Real? – maybe the question has to be rephrased. It should be: NFA…How long can it survive to save the day. Also, how long can State keep up the show, keeping it up before everything boils down to normalcy : spiraling prices, not only of Rice but of everything, a little bit away from the reach of Juan dela Cruz each time. Normalcy means ever tightening poverty at the grassroots while others say “damangdama ko ang asenso” – or doesn’t everybody feel the same? Poor getting poorer and rich getting richer. There must be an end to that.
National Foods Authority (NFA) evolved from the National Grains Authority (NGA) known before that as Rice and Corn Administration (RCA) which our greats instituted long time ago. NFA was one of those considered up for Privatization during the Ramos administration that could have pushed through had not the administration run out of time or, if Jose de Venecia Sr. won the Presidency that followed at the turn of the millennium. JDV, running on the promise of pushing the privatizations of the FVR administration, lost to Joseph Ejercito Estrada or Erap.
Does it mean that people queuing there for cheaper NFA rice have something to thank Erap? I think this question is highly hypothetical as Erap never finished his term because of EDSA -2. One thing is sure, however, one of his chief economists, today, Sen. Edgardo J Angara harbors the idea of privatizing the NFA. Privatization of NFA means selling or delegating it to no other than the Rice traders themselves. Mismo! Now it looks like Queue people have something to thank the Lord, the Senator did not win 2004 Presidential election.
Well, for those who believe in ‘privatization’ there’s the guy to vote for President in 2010, folks. And no, I am not saying that he is manipulating or scaring the nation into surrendering NFA into the hands of the traders.
Really something good in what the senator is saying however is that, if NFA continues to operate like politics rather than based on sound economics, eventually it will have to be thrown overboard or else the whole system will sink. Either way then, everybody, except the traders, will lose.
Rice passbook for Juan? Like, one rule for Juan and another rule for Pedro? Can not we just simplify, giving people equal rights? Those simple cards the senator is talking about will probably cost the state hundreds of millions of pesos in public work contract! And there’s nothing that will keep any Pedru or Juan from getting that card when they feel they need it. Grass root politics (and grassroot corruptions, too). I think cards are added burloloy.
Restricting people’s access to NFA rice is what these cards are practically about. Good parts of population who feel they need or should be living on NFA rice, do not qualify under the State’s definition and classification of Poor Filipinos. Classification of poor is far beyond people going to bed with empty stomachs.
Instead of the (restrictive) rice passbook, maybe State should adopt something similar – like (rice) Food stamp to be given to those that it sees as really in need of such privilege. This is already unnoticeable practiced anyway. My small girl who goes in public elementary school goes home with a few kg of rice dole-out for children in places like Payatas, every week.
People are seeking NFA rice because centavos mean so much to them. In the other hand, even at P 10. 00 difference in price per kilogram, there are people who are not buying non classy NFA rice. If NFA operates around sound sustainable level, my guess is, the difference with commercial rice won’t be that overwhelming, which is expected when there is fair, real, and tough competition. Yes, NFA should protect the interest of consumers far beyond those who form the queues.
In our producers’ side, Government support price for farmers are actually more than what many farmers are asking. Problem there is that government and farmers hardly meet at the grassroots. Bureaucratic, mostly illegal red tapes, collusion of unscrupulous traders and authorities along the bureaucracy, rendering the institution less effective if not futile, something for sincere authorities to check and to do something.
We have people out there today demanding for things like: back with Oil regulation and/or for state to buy back PETRON that was privatized. If Ferdinand E. Marcos were alive today, I bet he has only one thing to say to all Filipinos – Crazy people!
To be fair with the man, we threw him out for being no-good, but history now proves him to be the best ever. Yes, nothing is absolutely good and nothing is absolutely bad. Except for being a figure of speech, nothing is absolute, ever. Maybe we should think twice before throwing away anything instituted in our system long time ago, next time.
[Add to your dictionary, folks. Burloloy: unnecessary, unneeded, fancy, impractical, useless ]