The aesthetics of redemption

My column for today is The aesthetics of redemption. It’s as much a response to items such as this one, see Clarissa Ocampo vs. Jun Lozada, as anything else, but also a reiteration of a point I’ve felt strongly about for some time, see She is as they are, from March 2, 2006.

In the news, Think tank to draft 10-yr economy blueprint: it’s about time such a think tank buckles down to work. What can we see, 10 years ahead? A provocative article in The Asia Sentinel says, a peso-dollar rate of 56 to 1! See Philippine remittances could slow: The global slowdown may mean a fall in remittances, the Philippine lifeblood, and an end to the party for the peso :

That said, the trend is clear and at some point it is likely to impinge on all remittance sources to varying degrees. High and rising energy and food import costs are also likely to erode a Philippine current account which has been in a healthy surplus for an almost unprecedented time. Looking ahead, the issue will be whether remittances will stagnate because of the US (and probably very slow growth in Europe), resulting in a weaker peso and the unwinding of a cycle that has taken the usually sickly peso from 56 to 40 against the dollar over the past three years, the fastest rise of any Asian currency.

Many would argue that the strong peso has been damaging the wider economy, encouraging imports, reducing the peso value of remittances, deterring investment in industry and agriculture, helping rentiers at the expense of productive capitalists. But to politicians, not least Arroyo, it is a virility symbol.

The nation has become so dependent on the seemingly endless increase in inflows which created the strong peso that any major reversal or even slowdown will be shock to the system. Don’t be surprised if the peso is back at 56 before the decade is out.

In History Unfolding, historian David Kaiser ponders the collapse of Bear Stearns in the context of the Baby Boomer Generation to which he belongs:

The Boom generation has never believed much in restraint, least of all in the economic field. We have cut marginal tax rates from 91% in 1963 and 50% in the late 1970s to 35% now, vastly increasing the incentive for managers to increase profits as much as possible–partly by cutting the labor force–because they can keep so much more of the proceeds. We have chpped away at the Depression-era restraints, allowing commercial and investment banks to combine during the late 1990s. (The Clinton Adminstration did impose fiscal discipline–probably its one real domestic achievement–but it paved the way for the coming crash in many ways as well.) We have developed new financial instruments like bonds backed by sub-prime mortgages that have been every bit as seductive as the Mississippi bubble in the early 18th century or prime Florida land in the 1920s. And by creating new institutions not subject to regulation, such as hedge funds, we have allowed clever Boomers and Xers to avoid the regulations that their parents and grandparents so wisely put in place. Last Friday almost became the Black Friday of a new generation when Bear, Stearns melted down. Bear Stearns, the New York Times informed me, works on 96.66 margin–of every $1 million it invests, $966,000 is borrowed. Much of those investments have now collapsed along with the subprime market, undoubtedly threatning a whole range of banks, hedge funds, non-profits and pension funds as well as Bear Stearns itself (since they are presumably the ones whose money Bear Stearns was playing with.) The Federal Reserve stepped in to ward off the catastrophe, but it will not be able to continue to rescue failing firms that way without implicating the whole nation in the potential crash.

The Warrior Lawyer points out why the Bear Stearns collapse matters to us:

Why should we care then if another capitalist enterprise should go under ? Banks like Bear Stearns serve a worldwide clientele of corporations, institutional investors, governments, and wealthy individuals. Its almost a given that the Philippine government has done business with investment banks like Bear Sterns and its kind and will continue to do so in the future. In a globalized economy, the fallout from a U.S. financial crisis will impact us adversely. The resulting volatility and panic in the US stock market will send shock waves to European and Asian markets. These fears and uncertainties are driving world stock markets to their recent lows. Furthermore, the US, one of our major trading partners, is already experiencing a de facto economic recession. This will dampen our prospects for continued economic growth.

Incidentally, remember the foreign analyist I met, back in 2005? See The President’s “sweet spot,” from July 28, 2005. He was from Bear Stearns.

During an economic downturn, or worse, in times of an actual shortage in basic commodities, a government has to wield its authority and at the same time, appeal to a reservoir of good will and expect a certain amount of instinctive obedience on the part of the population. You have to wonder what reservoirs the present administration has left.

In Already we have riots, hoarding, panic: the sign of things to come? by Carl Mortishead (hat tip to Thoughtcrime), there’s this:

The President of the Philippines made an unprecedented call last week to the Vietnamese Prime Minister, requesting that he promise to supply a quantity of rice.

The personal appeal by Gloria Arroyo to Nguyen Tan Dung for a guarantee was a highly unusual intervention and highlighted the Philippines’ dependence on food imports, rice in particular.

“This is a wake-up call,” said Robert Zeigler, who heads the International Rice Research Institute. “We have a crisis brewing in rice supply.”

While Neal Cruz says Rice shortage, no; high prices, yes , prospects of a shortage or higher prices at least, is enough to inspire an impassioned plea from The Magnificent Atty. Perez:

Look at the sugarfields of Negros Occidental, where you still see to this very day, poor and uneducated laborers being paid so much less than minimum wage for backbreaking work. Look at the farms and haciendas that conveniently side-stepped coverage from CARP by allegedly growing “cattle” and having “agricultural corporations” on their land. Go to the farmlands of Capiz where in this age of tractors and the scientific method of farming you still see farmers tilling the land with the lowly carabao and drying their grain by the roadsides where it may be swept away by strong winds and rain.
You see, the problem is not that our population is too big for our food production to supply to. Our problem is that our current agricultural system for the whole country is still stuck on methodologies and farming techniques used at the turn of the 19th Century, which does not yield enough to feed our starving nation. Hence, we have to import food at a higher premium when we have the capacity to solve our own problems with the right farming science and technology.

A U.P. professor I talked to a few weeks back bluntly told me that our agricultural productivity is still at 1940’s levels while our neighbors have vastly increased theirs. And recall, as well, the observation by Dr. Michael Alba that the government isn’t keeping track of formerly agricultural lands being lost to real estate development, because of a change in methods (instead of having people actually conducting a periodic inventory of land, less precise aerial surveys, I believe, take place).

And, as usual, the problem’s compounded by another reality: that one of the many criticisms leveled against this administration is how smuggling is not only rampant, but allegedly condoned at the highest levels of government.

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    • supremo on March 17, 2008 at 11:21 am

    JPMorgan Chase will absorb Bear Stearns with help from the Fed Reserve. That’s bad news for the 14000 employees. Their future is bleak as Chase is only interested in the company assets and clients in the long run. Expect a major layoff in about a year.

    • tonio on March 17, 2008 at 11:31 am

    why can’t our farmers upgrade their capabilities?

    (it’s a question that’s bothered me for some time.)

    • supremo on March 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Chase got Bear Stearns for a fire sale of $2 per share. It was the Carlyle Group’s failure to get enough cash that broke Bear Stearns’ back.

    • mlq3 on March 17, 2008 at 11:45 am
      Author

    tonio, me too. one answer i’ve gotten (viz. coconut farmers for ex.) is that farmers are ageing, their children preferring to go overseas. another is, farming requires lavish subsidies from the government, which the farmers aren’t getting (for ex. for modern irrigation, high-yield seeds that the up prof. says are at irri but not availed of by the farmers, for fertilizer and equipment, etc. because, the prof. claims, of two things: rampant smuggling by cartels, and also profiteering by the middle men, and the political consideration of keeping prices low but also, keeping prices the farmers earn low, too, which makes farming practically not worth the effort). how this is solved seems a combination of the straightforward (curbing smuggling, reducing farmer to customer costs) and the more dexterous (how do you keep rice cheap for the population but paying farmers top peso to boost productivity?). and of course, the shifting of land from agricultural to real estate purposes.

  1. “You see, the problem is not that our population is too big for our food production to supply to. Our problem is that our current agricultural system for the whole country is still stuck on methodologies and farming techniques used at the turn of the 19th Century, which does not yield enough to feed our starving nation.”

    And then Gloria’s response to the problem:

    “The President of the Philippines made an unprecedented call last week to the Vietnamese Prime Minister, requesting that he promise to supply a quantity of rice.”

    Assuming that there are concrete reforms in developing the agricultural sector, one can say that is hasn’t been sustained through the years and that the momentum lacked a serious move on the government’s part. Instead of falling back on sustainable agricultural reforms, the government has subsumed itself on immediate and temporary solutions.

    IRRI’s Robert Zeigler makes an ominous forecast, that the “crisis brewing in rice supply” should serve as a “wake-up call” not only because we don’t have sustained agricultural reforms but also because there is an apparent increase in food import costs.

    • benign0 on March 17, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    There is also the reality that imported grains rice and corn are far cheaper than those produced locally. Part of this is due to primitive transport and handling infrastructure. Locally harvested corn is still handled in bags and shipping containers rather than in bulk (silos, conveyors, and bulk shipping). So transport on a per tonne basis from Mindanao to Manila is more expensive than international rates.

    It follows Nick Joaquin’s “heritage of smallness” principle. Everything in the food supply chain is small scale — small mom-and-pop farms, vegetables are transported by the jeepney and tricycle load, cold storage is limited to small privately-run facilities, etc. There are hardly any industrial grain drying facilities (rice and corn is spread over roads to dry in the sun). At every point in the transport chain, there is waste and loss.

    Bridge capacity connecting major highways all over the islands are far below the minimum 20-tonne weight of the average 18-wheeler truck.

    Small time talaga ang Pinoy.

    The only thing we are big-time at is in our ability to double our population every 20 years or so.

    The Philippines’ food security is virtually zilch. If ever war breaks out in the region or if our Asian neighbours suddenly decide to mount a food embargo on the Philippines — siguradong tepok ang Pinas, unless someone invents a way to convert all of those celphone trinkets we import from China into some kind of food substance.

    As the saying goes. If we don’t take steps to change our irresponsible behaviour, nature will do it for us.

    Kawawang Pinoy. 😀

    • cvj on March 17, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Tonio, Manolo, it’s the landed oligarchy. Both China (communist) and Taiwan (non-communist) got rid of them in 1949 and 1952 respectively. From then on, the government in Taiwan used a carrot and stick approach (via their monopoly in Fertilizers) to extract rents from the farmers and channel into investments in industry. After two failed experiments, China got its act together in 1978 and adopted a two track system where a certain portion of the produce is sold to the State while the remainder is sold to by the farmer to the open market. In our case, the Oligarchs are still there and are being joined by younger ones.

    Anyway, economically, we are moving from the ‘sweet spot’ to a ‘sore spot’. The price of oil is increasing as well as the demand. Any implementation of biofuels will take away from our rice (and other food) production. So the tradeoff between affordable oil and and affordable rice will be harder to make.

    • rego on March 17, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    “The question then is perhaps this: Why must either one be considered a hero? It is not whether Clarissa Ocampo was a hero, and Jun Lozada is not, but rather, that neither was a hero but both were undeniably brave.”
    =========================================================
    To me the question is who produced good results? Clarissa Ocampo was able to overthrow Erap without so much funfare. While Lozada until now is still talking and talking and talking ang talking and talking……

    • rego on March 17, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    O di ba Benigno, ano ang masabi sa results orientation ng Pinoy?

    • benign0 on March 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    O di ba Benigno, ano ang masabi sa results orientation ng Pinoy? — rego

    Spot on as usual.

    Kung baga sa project, roadshow lang nang roadshow pero wala namang business case for funding approval. 😀

    • tonio on March 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    rego:

    i find it amazing how you can pull out the most amazing conclusions from disparate data… i gotta admit, it’s a singular talent.

    cvj:

    well, we’re back here again. kind of sucks how once you bring up the oligarchy, one can immediately see how useless any solution to the country’s problems is, if it requires their participation.

    • KG on March 17, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2006/09/01/8384353/index.htm

    Africa in Bloom
    Led by Uganda, a continent better known for food shortages is becoming the center of an agribusiness boom – with fertile opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere…

    The rice business faces constraints, mainly because the heavy subsidies that the United States, Japan, Korea, and others pay their growers distort prices and restrict the market…….

    comments

    2006 article pa ito
    kung africa nakakagawa na ng paaan kahit mahirap ang mga constarints like subsidies by governments to their farmers.

    tayo-wala we are stuck with promising land reform,when we cannot make land reform work.

    The world bank tried to offer market assisted land reform,but oour NGOs rejected it for some reasons.

    http://www.philsol.nl/D-RicReyes-WB-mar99.htm

    Rice cartels? This is the time to make matters worse by hoarding rice and wait for the prices to get much much higher.

    • KG on March 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080307/hl_afp/philippinesfarmriceunaid

    “The UN agency now provides food aid to about 1.1 million of the Philippines’ 90 million people.

    Guarnieri said the UN was unlikely to ramp up its food aid to the Philippines immediately since it is considered a “middle-income country” with lower priority.

    She also warned Manila could be hit in the pocket by having to boost spending on subsidies just to maintain current prices of the lowest-quality rice that it sells to the poor.”

    Un can’t increase it’s food aid because we are not that poor enough, we are conidered as middle income, then good di pala tayo naghihirap masyado, eh di walang problema.

    Diyoskolord, we have to rely on subsidies from gov just to maintain prices of lowest quality rice.

    • anthony scalia on March 17, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    clarissa ocampo’s testimony was a smoking gun

    jun lozada’s testimony is not. too bad no public funds was spent yet for the NBN-ZTE project.

    it all boils down to this: there’s just an attempt at bribery and kickbacks. im not sure if there is such a crime as attempted bribery or attempted ‘kickbacks’

    actual ZTE money going into public men’s pockets is another matter.

    • frombelow on March 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    “it all boils down to this: there’s just an attempt at bribery and kickbacks. im not sure if there is such a crime as attempted bribery or attempted ‘kickbacks’”— a. scalia

    Should we always frame our mind as if we are in courts of law, we are lawyers and/or in debating halls?

    sometimes, in our eagerness to defend our stand, we forget to…

  2. Ah, CARP. Sure it removes hacienderos but, when those farmers get to own their land, in many cases they just sell it back to real-estate developers and hence, your subdivisions. So much for “agrarian reform”.

    I am so disgusted with the way our farming has stagnated at its levels. I have only recently begun to travel to different parts of the country (with my wife in the travel industry) and that is my main gripe. Is there a way to massively mechanize our agricultural sector?

    I wonder.

    • Mr. L. Duran on March 17, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Naaawa po ako kay Lozada at sa kanyang pamilya ngayong medyo hindi na alintana ng karamihan ng mga pinoy ang usaping ZTE-NBN. Minsan tuloy naitatanong ko sa sarili ko kung ito po ba marahil ang dahilan kung bakit karamihan sa mga pilipinong nakakaalam or nakakakita ng mga anomalya at korapsiyon sa gobyerno ay nagtitikom na lamang po ng kanilang mga bibig at pumipikit ng kanilang mga mata o dili kaya ay naki-ki-join in na lamang, tumatanggap na lamang ng kabayaran at makikisamang gumawa ng anomalya. Kasi nga naman po mas magiging maganda pa yong lagay nila or estado nila sa buhay kung ganon kesa nga naman pong magsalita ng katotohanan. Kaya po naitatanong ko rin sa aking sarili ngayon kung sa tingin ba ni Lozada ngayon eh worth it ba ang mga pinoy sa nangyayari sa kanyang buhay ngayon pagkatapos niyang isiwalat ang nangyaring anomalya sa ZTE-NBN deal. Para pong si Jesus Christ na pini-persecute noon ng kanyang mga fellow hudyo hanggang sa mapako siya sa krus. Pasensiya na po kayo medyo disappointed and disillusioned lang po talaga kasi ako ngayon sa mga attitude ng karamihan ng mga pinoy sa ngayon.

    • WillyJ on March 17, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    “problem is not that our population is too big for our food production to supply to”.
    Someone has to say it, finally.

    But its big enough for votes, see? Let them stay poor, its easier to buy their votes.

    • Kamote on March 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    I hated CARP. Agrarian reform my ass. If Macapagal didint implemented it on my lolo s estate I could have inherited at least 50 hectares of land. Now I see subdivisions built on the lands that were supposed to be mine and oh yeah some resorts too near the river.

    The agricultural sector we have at the moment are being threatened by what we call progress. Most of the farm lands I see are turning into Malls and Subdivisions. Even the children are not even interested in tilling the land now. If you ask a child what he wants to be when he grow up? then you will have the answer why we are having less farmers now.

    I guess we have more laborers than farmers at the moment. I bet most of the people would just work as a factory worker than singing while planting palay and being burned by the sun.

    again, I hate CARP.

    • vic on March 17, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Between Lozado and Ocampo, Lozada has a lot to loss including his personal Freedom, in case his testimonies fail Big Time and would not put a dent on the sitting Power and more to loss if the Government will be retained by the same Group after her term ( assuming she’ll step down after 2010, by not inventing anything to prolong her stay). Ocampo who was not involved in any shenanigans in her works could only loss her livelihood, which she may already had.

    Therefore Lozoda has to do some acting (natural or fake, only him should know) to mitigate his own shortcomings and at the same time not to diminish the strength of his own knowledge of wrongdoings on the part of the others..

    But let us look at the other Two Disgraced Presidents; not one voluntarily stepped down and not one was ousted by Constitutional Process, unless people power is a de facto one of the means under the Charter ..Expecting GMA other than after 20l0 to step down on her Own will be the FIRST If it happens. And it will be another Fave for every President that will be coming after??

    • tonio on March 17, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Mr. Duran:

    sir, please do not compare Lozada with Jesus. he’s probably closer to Barabbas if anything. i’m not really a religious person but that comparison grates.

    • tonio on March 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Kamote:

    I know what you mean, man. CARP essentially was a way for the upper echelons of the hierarchy to get rid of their rivals. I don’t think it was ever for the people. It was (is) an internecine conflict between hacenderos with the rest of the country held hostage, dressed up as a government initiative. What CARP did was ensure that only a few landowning families (the large ones) remained.

    • BrianB on March 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Anyway, economically, we are moving from the ’sweet spot’ to a ’sore spot’. The price of oil is increasing as well as the demand. Any implementation of biofuels will take away from our rice (and other food) production. So the tradeoff between affordable oil and and affordable rice will be harder to make.

    This is why broad solutions like population control and agrarian reform are much preferred over the economically-enlightened macro-management of Gloria Arroyo. A little change in the economic weather and all she’s worked for is for nothing.

    • maginoo on March 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    as far as rice is concerned, its cheaper to import from vietnam and thailand with our less-efficient production system. some of the ricelands were converted to fish/prawn farms which genreate higher export revenues than rice.

    but really, RP should seriously look at our own food security, especially that many hectares of land are being for bio-fuels (not edible) and being leased out to china for the latter’s own food needs.

    • BrianB on March 17, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Manolo, any word on planting potatoes?

  3. The factors that threaten our food security are more than farmers’ capabilities to produce more. Environment deterioration is a major threat.

    As I have written in my blog blackshama.blogspot.com this should make Gloria reexamine her priorities. If Jun Lozada can’t dethrone her,this one certainly will.

    • anthony scalia on March 17, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Kamote,

    “I hated CARP. Agrarian reform my ass. If Macapagal didint implemented it on my lolo s estate I could have inherited at least 50 hectares of land.”

    maybe the blame should be on Tita Cory who signed it to law in the late 1980s. blame also the Congress then for blocking the people’s agrarian reform code (PARCODE) which was attempted to be passed thru people’s initiative

    • anthony scalia on March 17, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    frombelow,

    “Should we always frame our mind as if we are in courts of law, we are lawyers and/or in debating halls?”

    isn’t the end in view (for this NBN-ZTE circus) is the prosecution of those who are guilty? so thinking with prosecution in mind (thinking like a lawyer) is inevitable. there must be a ‘connect’ between the acts complained of and existing laws that could penalize such acts

    • nash on March 17, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    @Kamote

    What?

    Hindi kayo na-exempt from CARP unlike Cory Aquino? and the other sugar barons of visayas? Bakit sila exempted sa CARP?

    • Jeg on March 17, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Nash: What? Hindi kayo na-exempt from CARP unlike Cory Aquino? and the other sugar barons of visayas?

    And as MLQ3 has pointed out repeatedly in the past, the Arroyo’s haciendas have also been excempt from CARP.

    blackshama: The factors that threaten our food security are more than farmers’ capabilities to produce more. Environment deterioration is a major threat.

    The government has made it a point that the rice problem is a worldwide phenomena, that is, “It aint our fault.” To be fair, it isnt GMA’s fault nga naman, since this policy of neglecting the agri sector in favor of a globalized ‘great leap forward’ was already the policy after Marcos was booted out. GMA just perpetuated it.

    • nash on March 17, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    @benignO

    I too agree with the salient points of Nick Joaquin’s “Heritage of Smallness” although I will not be to quick to disparage ‘small mom & pop” operations.

    The key is really is to encourage these small self-sufficient entities to combine their produce (ie. cooperatives). Perhaps, you should look at the small wine cooperatives in France or the olive groves in Andalucia. Those farms are small, on their own they would not get the benefits of scale, but by combining their produce, they are able to push their products to market efficiently and profitably..

    However, in my lifetime (and I’m young), I’ve seen the rise and fall of cooperatives in the farming community I grew up in. Cooperatives are good in many ways, especially with providing loans at small interest to struggling farmers, pooling money to by the communal equipment…etc. Sadly, money gets drained because some will treat the cooperative as one big cash cow (withdraw lang ng withdraw)..one or two people doing this is ok, but once too many people do it, the cooperative is a goner. Of course, you can say “Then they should have been more strict with giving out loans” but it’s not so simple as cooperatives are run by close-knit communities who know each other…human nature kicks in and it’s hard to say ‘no’ to your neighbour…

    in the meantime, the government is not doing us a favour by turning a blind eye to smuggling or appointing incompetent ministers (like Mike Defensor when he was at DENR)

    cheers

    • nash on March 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    @maginoo

    “many hectares of land are being for bio-fuels”

    We have that cheating senator from maguinadanao Migz Zubiri who is pushing for these biofuels, as if they will solve our fuel needs!

    Also, let us not forget the Golf Developments. These golf course draw copious amounts of water, water that is needed for farms and drinking…(and these golf course attract shady dealers like Abalos)

    • Madonna on March 17, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Two words: aesthetics and redemption.

    Aesthetics — the main concern of Gloria Arroyo and her defenders. Their main concern is proof. Everybody knows that proof is everywhere and is staring down at our very faces, only that the system has made it almost impossible for the proof to be pinned down back to perpetrators of lies and injustice.

    Redemption — what the whole country needs and our fundamental concern here. We are fighting for the very survival of our society, a society that is anchored in honor and sense of decency, one that we will be proud of and will pass on to our children.

    Aesthetics is pretty and easy to get and come by. Just listen to Imelda Marcos’ stupefying rants about the true the beautiful. She should have been shot at Luneta a long time ago.

    Redemption is beautiful and difficult and messy. Tune in to Jun Lozada’s words, without the histrionics and imagine, that there for the grace of God or equally without it, there goes each and every one of us.

    A meaningful Holy Week to everyone.

    • maginoo on March 17, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    a society that is anchored in honor and sense of decency, one that we will be proud of and will pass on to our children. – Madonna on Redemption

    Many people think the oust-GMA movement is Erap’s redemption.

    How many times do have to have redemption?

    • Kamote on March 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    nash :

    @Kamote

    What?

    Hindi kayo na-exempt from CARP unlike Cory Aquino? and the other sugar barons of visayas? Bakit sila exempted sa CARP?

    Kasi ang alam ko hindi naisip ng matanda na gawin industrial land ang lupa nya. Plus the fact na he supported the wrong politicians that time. At kala nya porque bigay sa ninuno nya ang lupa ng mga maharlika sa espanya e hindi sya sakop. Spanish title my ass ulet.

    I think the key to not submit your land to being carp’ed is to convert it into a industrial land or commercial one.

    the food shortage that we are supposed to be going to suffer have many factors that we have to consider why it is so.

    Like

    1) the price of oil – Transport
    2) the price of fertilizers and feeds – farming
    3) the lack of government oversight for hoarders
    4) the lack of agricultural seminars for farmers to boost their output
    5) the lack of somebody to lend out some money to the farmers for number 2
    6) the lack of manpower
    7) and the small time mindset of the farmers ( La pa akong nakilalang Big picture thinkers sa kanila). Due to number 4.

    • Bert on March 17, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Gloria was too busy somewhere else she totally forgot irrigation. While our agricultural Asean neighbors are rice exporter, we, an agricultural country, imports much of our rice needs. The main culprit is the neglect of our irrigation system nationwide. During the time of Marcos, our National Irrigation Administration (NIA) was a very efficient agency developing the system that we have a surplus of rice stocks which the gov’t. then could even afford to export. At that time, our farmers could utilize their farms for rice planting four times a year using the same methods being used today because of the availability of abundant water sources for field irrigation. Today, that NIA is a sleeping agency. Now, farmers could plant rice three times a year in some lucky locations only where an efficient irrigation system exists, and that is far in between. In most agricultural location, specially those outside of Central Luzon, farmers only rely on the onset of rain to be able to plant, and substantial rain comes only once or twice a year. Even in said lucky locations in Central Luzon, and rice fields near NCR, the irrigation system is not efficient enough to water large swath of riceland, so the farmer/landowner has no other option but to sell the land to subdivision and golf course developer.

    Give our land the water it needs and it will give us all the rice we want.

    But it seems our president has other priorities!

    • nash on March 17, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    “Now, farmers could plant rice three times a year in some lucky locations only where an efficient irrigation system exists, and that is far in between.”

    I noticed this too. We can pretty much plant 3x a year in Nueva Vizcaya, but this isn’t so in some areas of Pangasinan (I wonder what JDv was doing). Benguet is also well irrigated (although mostly do-it-yourself rather than government stepping in) but crossing across the border to Abra, some lands are just barren. Local patronage politics maybe at work….

    • BrianB on March 17, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Madonna, right on. I have a question, though. Do you have any info on the ghostwriters employed by Philippines Star Lifestyle or the writers of these pages?

  4. Diyoskolord, we have to rely on subsidies from gov just to maintain prices of lowest quality rice.

    Even in the first world economy as the US, subsidies for agricultural products is a practice to ensure adequate supply in the market.

  5. As I have written in my blog blackshama.blogspot.com this should make Gloria reexamine her priorities. If Jun Lozada can’t dethrone her,this one certainly will.

    Are u not tired of your prediction ?

    • BrianB on March 17, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Manolo, did you make that 12:16 comment of the official Guccigate blog. I believe it’s you. He he. I wonder how you can resist at least writing an analysis on quezon.ph.

  6. clarissa ocampo’s testimony was a smoking gun

    jun lozada’s testimony is not.

    clarissa ocampo’s testimony was a bomb that exploded.
    jun lozada’s testimony was a bomb that went pffft.

    i like to go to the archive where many commenters predicted that Lozada’s testimony would end GMA’s admin.

    i feel it’s useless.

    It’s my prediction which is coming to reality. The star of lozada is losing its sparkle.

    Pretty soon, he will be “archived” as the whisteblower who lost his whistle.

    Next.

    • nash on March 17, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    ok si Mang BrianB ha, sa taas, asking about potatoes…now it’s guccigate…

    anyways, that other blog is truly addictive…nga lang puro anonymous commenters doon much like the alleged ghostwriters that philstar hires…

    • jakcast on March 17, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Jun lozada should save his bottom.

    The Senators are not after the bottom of the truth. They really scraped the bottom with the dud witness Leo San Miguel. And the palace denizens showed they could spew a bottomless pit of tricks.

    A race to the bottom indeed!

    • BrianB on March 17, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    nash, ever heard of “tabbed browsing”?

    • mlq3 on March 17, 2008 at 10:18 pm
      Author

    nash, someone mentioned to me briefly, once, that in the cordilleras some rather interesting projects were ongoing, mini-dams or solar-powered pumps or something… do you have any info on that?

    • mlq3 on March 17, 2008 at 10:26 pm
      Author

    brian, no.

    • BrianB on March 17, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    What’s the nutritional value of kamote and how practical is it as a crop?

    nash,

    Dear Brian,

    Like many others, I am supportive of your seeking to attempt to prompt your former boyfriend to do the right thing.

    But may I ask – is this the direction and content of this reopened blog really the right way to go about this?

    I understand why you have felt compelled to go this route, but ‘this kill everyone in your way’ path only engenders the worst – mob lynchings fueled by mob comments – and alienates you from those of us who feel for your core issue credibly.

    I hope you will reconsider the merits of reopening this blog. While you have become a cause celebre of sorts, is this the thing you want to become known for? I venture not. You seem like someone who cherised his private life very much.

    Having known off and on a few of the personalities involved in your blogs I’ll make what I believe is probably a very correct assumption: neither does DJ have your funds any longer (nor his family). But I would add that it is likely he has no personal credit available to him (its probably very poor) so he probably is in no position to just borrow the money. If he had any personal credit, he would be able to go into a bank and borrow the sum needed – its not that hard if you have good credit.

    I’d also suspect his former friends, also know very very well that he is an extremely poor credit, and most likely will not lend him any money, that is, if any of them have $70,000 in easy cash at hand, which not a lot of people do – even if they have substantial assets.

    What I’m saying clearly is that no matter how scandalous these comments and entries become, how much of an expert you may be portrayed on this not-so-shining aspect of Philippine society, the simple fact unfortunate: it is highly unlikely tovyour money ever again.

    I think its important for you as you lay out your case in public to explain, in detail, why you only chose to demand repayment months after your relationship ended. I think that for most of us, we would have questioned – demanded – accountability of money far less than $70,000 you lost. Why did you not become suspicious after the first $5,000? Why not after the first month? The first two months? Why did you not after the first $25,000? You seem an extraordinarily bright and together guy, surely, you must recognize that there are some things we have to sometimes write off just because one has made bad judgement. That happens when you date losers and they treat you in the way DJ did.

    That said, and in the best of all worlds, I sincerely hope you get paid. More than that, I sincerely hope that you get some kind of manly reply from your former boyfriend, at the very least just to take responsibility for stealing your money. He owes you that at the very least. If he has any iota of decency within him, he will do that and beg your forgiveness for all he has put you through.

    It is not incumbent upon you to forgive and forget. You should eventually, however, let all this anger and hatred go so that you can forgive and move on for yourself. You deserve that, and your health and well being will need that.

    DJ will continue to reap what he has sowed all his life, far after this episode becomes an ugly scratched into his demented mind.

    Sincerely,

    Concerned…

    • anthony scalia on March 17, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    “Even in the first world economy as the US, subsidies for agricultural products is a practice to ensure adequate supply in the market”

    maybe it will surprise most bloggers here that agriculture is heavily subsidized in the US and other rich western countries

    • nash on March 17, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    @manolo

    Mini-hydro plants is the advocacy of Rufino Bomasang (who used to head PNOC). He is the resident expert. If you are keen, I can dig for his contact details somewhere.

    Mini-hydros, by all accounts, do little damage to the river systems and more importantly, once it is installed, the upkeep and maintenance is taken over by the local communities.

    @ BrianB

    Kamote is mostly starch so it’s used as a binder. It’s the leaves which are nutritious pero yung tuber, pang-tawid gutom talaga.

    By experience, we only plant kamote (sweet potato) for our own needs…mura kasi compared to potatoes.

    And like you, I so want to know who Celine’s ghostwriter is…kasi naman it takes talent to be able to write like her 😀

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