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More Troubles for Mother Earth Ahead?

Non-ownership of land by non-nationals is indeed quite becoming obsolete. Filipinos can buy land, real estate or farm, in the U.S., in Australia, or anywhere half in the world today. But wait a minute. Let’s scrutinize them because we have indications of twists to them as proposed here in the Philippines.

We Filipinos cannot buy forestland in Australia, or in the U.S, or anywhere else, or people there must be insane. An Asian or an African Pedru buying private land owned by an American Pedru, or the other way around, that’s how it is but not land owned by everybody – or public domain.

Correct me if I’m mistaken, I might not be updated, but last time I knew, before any portion of public land can be utilized, especially by the private sector for agriculture it has to be declared Alienable and disposable by Congress.

Concession in that regard, also granted by congress, as in Forestry [logging] concession, has already existed. Concession, same as lease, is not ownership. They are not covered by land retention limit and land reform.  Concession is economic exploitation of public land allowed for a specific period of time. The old form of exploitation of public land, more particularly forestland, is farther advanced or furtherance by the Billion Trees Act authored by Congressman Genaro Alvarez Jr and Congressman  Jose de Venecia II of the lower house of Congress.

As we have seen, this bill went through smooth passage in congress with some radical left supporting it actually. Squatters, soldiers and policemen, church people, everybody may now exploit our forest lands. That’s how the authors explained it. But that one day Filipinos will wake up to find one giant private entity operating thousands or even millions of hectares of forestland for agriculture, well, that’s reality made possible by this Billion trees Act.

Congress, in passing the Billion Trees Act of 2007, is passing direct control of Public lands to the Executive Branch of government —  to Malacanang Palace through its arm the Department of Energy and Natural Resources [DENR]. Whoever is interested in Philippine public land should go to them instead of Congress, that’s what the law says now.

Let’s go straight to the heart of the matter – Biofuels as one solution to save mother Earth. I believe we have a very, very legitimate issue there. Biofuels is a renewable source of energy, one solution to fossil fuels crisis. It will also bring about a cleaner environment. Now comes Jatropha Curcas for bio-diesel. Jatropha is projected at 5 metric tons of harvest, per hectare-per year at best. As we can see, same with Cassava, Jatropha cannot compete with crops like rice, corn and sugarcane in term of income for farmers. In short, people are not throwing away what they have at present just for Jatropha Curcas. Moreover, for investor to buy or to lease land just for Jatropha or Cassava is not economically feasible. Promoters of Jatropha have their eyes focused at they see are cheaper – public lands. They cannot do it in their own backyard. They cannot do it in advanced and developed countries; perhaps they can do it in third world countries.  With the Billion trees Act investors need not buy land. Vast territories can now be possibly exploited  for agriculture, for 50 years, for almost a token.

[Jatropha is good only where no other agriculture is economically socially feasible as in arid regions.]

Why cannot [Philippine] State do it for itself thus for its people, IF it must do it? The answer is obvious. Bureaucrat won’t make money for his /her personal keep, or make money that maybe he/she can stash secretly in an account somewhere else. That would be easy money acting like Real-estate broker for moneyed people incidentally, or most likely, foreigners… or, perhaps, be in secret partnership with them laway lang ang puhunan.  This one does not leave money trail, just some big questions where had one got money to buy so much shares of stock!  Are not they familiar old stories for Filipinos? [If you’ve been to rallies of activists and you don’t get what they mean by phrases like down with Bureaucrat capitalism, well, now you know the meaning of one. Simply stated it means one is in government to become rich by using government position to push for personal or selfish interests. But they are all about politics and economics.

Let’s talk about environment. War against Global warming and dirty air…is not that becoming just a horse for some greed here? I can’t see trees and Reforestation in Jatropha Curcas and Cassava. Maybe its me my eyes are twisted or crossed.

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3 Responses

  1. There is no reason what so ever that any developing region needs to surrender land to investors. It makes sustainable quality business sense to allocate the land to community members as land that has been set aside for energy cropping. Investors need to establish the complete management of agricultural extension, harvest species protection, harvest purchase and processing of demanded goods to market (internal and export). Jatropha can only discover economic, social and environmental sustainability at certain strategic locations in the sub tropical regions (at this time) the lead to market products must be bio jet fuel for direct export and decentralised electricity + liquid bio fuels and other value added commodities in support of national economic demands. In sync with this there is a need for synergy with city hygiene services that benefit for waste to fertilizer and energy programs that in turn support and contribute to sustaining agriculture (food and fuel) as well as improving general health of the cities.

    No your eyes are not twisted or crossed but your bound up in the mists that prevent a clear view of reality. There has never been a political person who did not seek office for their own wealth seeking interests. It is a business just like any other but the investment is to place ones life on the line in order to gain the chance to manage the nations interests. Lets face it if you were appointed as the CEO of a company and immediately found yourself in the care and protection of a security force you might actually get the idea that your actions were likely to be in conflict with other interests. Frequently the CEO of a country is only charismatically qualified for office. Even Gandhi established a dynasty and one should not ask where the funding came or comes from.

  2. Come on. Cassava and Jatropha are shrubs.To culture them one MUST DESTROY natural environment more potent than them in correcting man’s previous undoing…corrections made by Mother Nature herself.

    Yes to biofuels. As you see it’s not everything to the war against global warming. By TWISTS it is coming into direct conflict with REFORESTATION as applied here. The world should be watchful especially in the third world.

    The problem is simple. It is the bug called bureaucrat capitalism aka government corruption. United Nations is not free of it. The bugs are in its feet and hands if some of the disease has not already invaded his nerve center.

    There is much money set aside by the world for the war against global warming. They are meant to be tapped and for incentives. The irony is when some of the funds fall into hands that are intent on causing more damage to the environment than improving the already bad situation.

    Brace yourself against water world, folks. No, it’s not coming overnight. It’s inevitable unless the bug is arrested.

  3. And Clive, “one should not ask where the funding came or comes from.”…I know one person who might probably agree to that. His name is Philippine ex congressman Mark Jimenez.

    It happened someone in USA happened to have asked where funds came from and Mr Jimenez’ name happened to be one. The law said he made illegal contribution in America. The Philippines happened to have extradition treaty with USA so he was handed over and served his time.

    I agree, it is normal for business to be profit hungry. In fact, society can make use of profit as incentive for progress. This is of course regulated by states. For business, domestic or foreign, to have trojan in government is another different thing. One or both could be breaking the law nowadays, anywhere.

    Call it by one name or another Bureaucrat capitalism is a marked thing everywhere.

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