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Classroom Backlog, Rice Importation, Final Peace in Mindanao

Widely varied matters all-in-one that might appear one weird composition. Again and again we have been feed good news about them.

And every time, I can’t help it, I might appear rude in my reactions, but I feel I am being feed preposterous information that I wish are true. I sense distortion, I sense deception – the common denominators.

Classroom, rice shortage gone by 2013

But that’s what they are – wishful thinking at least, which makes them ridiculous.  The most revolting side of it is that we are getting them from people who are supposed to be telling no-nonsense. Skip the craps, this government can survive without it hoodwinking the people.

Classroom backlog: I am a product of public school. Lack of classrooms in our public schools has always been a problem since my time. And that has been since more than 50 years ago. The problem is more acute today than in my days. In my time there were average of 45 pupils per room, whole day [morning and afternoon] session for one class.  Today it’s something like 70 pupils per room at start of school year, to taper down as time progresses due to drop-outs, two or three shifts [classes] per classroom, per teacher, per day. Common in urban areas and lesser or better as we look farther in the countryside. Out there the problems concerning education are a bit different. Like, some places need schools  and teachers where there is none.

And it would be wrong to assume that all the public school administrators that came and went, never thought of putting an end to that. To say it simply, I think the problem is money. The Philippines is not rich to slash dead the problem in a single stroke. Government needs to deliver many other [legitimate] services, and funds can only be allocated and divided, meager and inadequately it will seem, for each of all those needs. Any allegation of neglect in there appears nothing but politics and political squabble, actually. Who of all the administrators who came and went never dreamed of being hailed a hero?  Nobody. OK, maybe priority is an issue. Sure,  sound priority makes some difference. But I don’t think that the difference can be considered revolutionary in regard to the scope of the problem. Indeed notable improvement in there could be awesome.

The Philippine public school system is no place to talk about success. I know how parents feel in there. I have 7 children who went through there. Those who capitalized on the public education system for higher positions did not win elections: Secretary Raul S. Roco for President and former Senator Teresa Aquino Oreta for re-election.

OK, there must be an end to this problem. But looking at present government resources and needs, I don’t think we will see that happening in President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s time. The problem appears perennial that could be marginalized to its barest minimum. Again, I don’t think that it is possible under the present administration without putting itself into a very difficult situation.

Like, one solution being tried with the private sector right now, as reported, which is Build and Lease – is actually a dig deeper into a hole dug for the taxpayers. We are dealing there with debt, interest and rent, charged on the Filipino people. And it is not good news like they make it appear. It is a bitter pill forced on the people hoping it will do them better in the end.

Another is for government to push for more revenues. Former President Gloria Arroyo was criticized and attacked for pushing Value added taxation [VAT] from 10 percent to 20 percent. The present administration not only maintained them, it actually pushed for more like the added hundred percent [increased] taxation called “Sin tax” on consumer products like cigarettes and alcoholic drinks. No, my figure may not be real. But “sin tax” has caused consumer products like cigarettes to sell double the cost they used to be at the retail end, as a result.

While the authors of this “sin tax ” can praise themselves as progressives, I think the nation is actually reeling back in its push forward. We are killing there industries and jobs at a time when we need more of them. More industries and jobs can also mean more revenues.

Done is done. I think Filipinos prefer to hear sympathy instead, something not in the vocabulary of much-disliked-ex-President Gloria M. Arroyo, rarely heard in her State of the nation addresses. Personally, I rated her as the most egotistic president who went in this republic, for anybody to grab that title from her.

Rice self-sufficiency

Ancient Rice Terraces, Philippines

The Banaue rice terraces, Mountain Province, Philippines. Lifted from Google search: riceland philippines.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, in the time of President Arroyo assured rice self-sufficiency for the Philippines starting 2010. Where does that put him now that we are 2013?  So we see, what works in paper does not always work in the real world. And sad to say, sometimes we get to see technocrats who seem do not know what they are talking about.

Now Filipinos are being told that we are soon to become a rice exporter country. Indeed, rice produced in the Philippines to be shipped out will qualify as “export”. But in the situation where the country is a traditional net importer of rice, I think the nearest description is plunder of Philippine resources by foreigners. Like, when foreign nationals invest in rice production, clouted under assistance or cooperation, or disguised as local capital and the product is shipped out when there is shortage of rice in the Philippines.  Chinese capitals for one have been investing significantly in rice production in the Philippines. No, nationality behind investment in agriculture is not really an issue. There are government regulations regarding foreign ownership in the country, if anybody would like to make an issue of them. It is the shortage of rice in the Philippines that is the issue.

I remember during the rice crisis of 1972, local government units were empowered to restrict or regulate movement of rice in their municipalities.

I think Filipinos need to review their values of  bad and good. OK, lets upgrade that to good and better. Like, it is good that our neighbors from Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Korea are buying out the Filipinos. But is not it better if it is the Filipinos who are buying into Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Korea? So we see that the Filipinos are not really better than their neighbors, for them to prate anything about when it comes to the economy.

But we are going a-side, where were we… ah, the awesome great leap from being a rice importer to becoming a rice exporter country just around the corner for the Filipinos.

Malacañang has announced a drastic drop in rice importation by the National Foods Authority this year. No, there is no revolutionary leap in rice production if that was the impression.

The [projected] importation by NFA this year will be an impressive drop from previous figures due to “over importation” by National Foods Authority [NFA] done last year. Or, the buffer stock of the NFA has been considered a glut. Importation can only be approximated because typhoons and drought conditions that are among the causes to them cannot accurately be predicted.

I really feel this “rice exporter” talks is mental conditioning and  a pa-consuelo de bobo for Juan dela Cruz while he is being plundered – my nearest word of choice, when that happensThis dashing convergence of bigger-than-reality good news could not be by chance.

Preposterous issues like in the world of showbiz do not really work. They affect more the people engaging them than their intended audience – the masses, actually. Like, should Presidential sister Chris Aquino be endorsing political candidates for the May 2013 election? Remembering her as a Presidential problem-daughter, and also looking at people around me, I think she has more dislikes than likes, to even be endorsing anything.

The Philippine entertainment world is a different world by itself. It is a syndicated world with its own established order. What their mafias in there think become their reality. They affect little the world of politics.

In politics, leaders stay because masses see no better. And masses know better when they see them. Oh, OK, this is a free country, anybody has the right to campaign for, or even against anybody.

Graphic1

Killing a myth. Endorsers of Sen Manny Villar for President in 2010 election, clockwise top to bottom: Willie Revillame, Manny Pacquiao and Dolphy. Politics has its own rules. One, people are sold by their own merits and not really of who are selling them.
Lifted from Google search: willie revillame, manny pacquiao, dolphy. Pictures arranged by rltjs.

If the trend lives on, tomorrow’s elections might even be costlier for candidates as expenses could include endorsement by big names –  a becoming must-spend-for by those seeking elective public office. Talents and their handlers cost.  It is business, and nothing is free – binabayaran ng pera kung di utang na loob.

But we are going a-side, where were we… ah, 10 tons average harvest, per hectare, for Filipinos. The Philippines is not in the Mekong or in the Yangtze for a 10 metric-tons-per-hectare large-scale projection, to douse the over-expectations and the hope of becoming a rice exporter country. A harvest of one kg of rice is achievable in one square meter experimental plot. It means, a hectare which is 10,000 square meters, could produce 10 tons per harvest or 30 tons in a three-crops year. Ten tons per hectare,  times area,  times three, works only in paper.

Where 3 cropping is possible, 15 tons per hectare per year is achievable. That has been the Filipino computation. But considering upland and rain-fed rice-lands, and considering Philippine weather or seasons, the total national  average in rice production is way, way down 100 cavans, or 5 tons per hectare. And that is per year and not per harvest. That’s about Philippine reality at present.

There has been an anti-landlord culture in the country that has discouraged large-scale agriculture by Filipinos, actually, adding to the situation. You can thank the Maoist revolutionaries for that if you think it is good. But I think they need to update their politics to be in the mainstream. Three quarters century has brought many changes to the Philippine and world political landscapes.

Anyway, I think we have a prospect of free trade coming into heads with national food security – the looming issue.

Bangsamoro Entity – the so-called Final Peace in Mindanao

“Final Peace” is too big a phrase to use and  it is actually baseless at this point in time.

Secession, like any rebellion, has its own bases that determine it. Say, poverty. Say, government neglect. Whatever, there is social-political-economic discontent by a people for their government. Discontent becomes dissension that in turn further develops to organized armed rebellion.

Eliminate all those causes and rebellion will be floating on air with nothing to stand on. That would be next to lasting peace.  But the situation is far from that.

Moreover, the Mindanao conflict is quite complicated than that. Add in there Bangsamoro nationalism and religious Islamism and that would be more like it – the Mindanao war.

In 2007, President Gloria M. Arroyo actually announced the end to Moro Secession and NPA rebellion by year 2010. Well, if she knew what she was talking about, as we are now 2013.

Right now we have a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities – peace that is good while it lasts, between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front  and the Philippine government.

The Bangsamoro Entity to replace ARMM:  MILF to govern a [Moro nation] within the folds of the Republic of the Philippines. It has to be real, genuine and never token, or else the romance and honeymoon between rebels and this administration, like with the ARMM under the MNLF, will come to an early end.  Philippine government must deliver the agreement, which is a contradiction with itself.

It smells like Federalism between the Bangsamoro and the Philippines but it cannot be a federal form of government that Malacañang is creating over there since it has no power to do that over the Constitutions. Chief architect for the Mindanao peace process, Marvic Leonen, who negotiated this Bangsamoro Entity for Philippine government, and who has since there been promoted as one of the justices of the Supreme Court, surely would assure us more on that.

Bangsamoro Entity is bringing us just a step away to “Final” peace? Come on, give us a break, that’s another crap. It is just another name for ARMM which was a failure in the views of Muslim rebels. Frankly, I see Bangsamoro Entity more in the side of Moro independence should it veer that way. For one thing, it brought cognizance to Bangsamoro as a different people or nation giving it an international legal personality. Bangsamoro means Moro nation. The mere word alone serves as a concrete divide between the Moros  and all other Filipinos.

I am of western Visayas. Ilonggos do not call themselves as BanwangIlonggo. They are comfortable being Filipinos, co-equal rightful owners of what is entire Philippines.

I think anything that divides any Philippine tribe with the rest of the Filipino nation, which cannot be reconciled, should be pulled down, dismantled, or eliminated.

Probably, a little near to “Final peace” in Mindanao is when or if the Moro rebels will cease to see themselves as a different nation fighting for a different state. That has not been easy, though we see progress,  as it is very deeply rooted in their culture. The lingering animosity between ethnic groups comprising Bangsamoro and all the others that make up the Philippines stretches back since Spanish colonization of the archipelago in the 16th century, or probably even before that in old Borneo.

Or, if Republic of the Philippines will surrender part of its territory to this Bangsamoro.

We don’t see any of that, or any of that happening soon, to expect that kind of peace.

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3 Responses

  1. Parehas pala tayo, pareng Rod, may katagalan na bago nakapag-post ng bago. Alam ko, pareho tayong may ibang ginagawa. Hindi natin napansin na sampung taon na pala itong ating WordPress. Silipin dito.

  2. Sometimes ideas come out smooth. Sometimes they don’t. I hate repeating saying same things, actually. An old habit.

    It has to be a special person for me to say things twice.

    Sure, I have many things to say. Just sometimes they seem not timely, or people might not be interested about, so I don’t write.

    Maybe in times like that you’ll happen by me, out there, surfing the world. I write there [in form of comments].

  3. Bangsamoro Basic Law will open the road to Bangsamoro independence. It is a mere autonomy, a reformat of the old ARMM, as Filipinos are told about it.

    It is a cognizance by the Philippine government of the Moro as a nation. The Philippine government is also defining and recognizing a territory for this Moro nation. Add to that a Moro, not necessarily the MILF, movement for independence.

    Bangsamoro goes beyond the MILF. It means the Moro people.

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