Victory gardens and that “Perfect Storm”


Damned if you do, damned if you don’t? When things are relatively easy, no one wants to rock the boat. When times are tough, we’re told everyone’s too busy trying to keep body and soul together to want to rock the boat. The former is what I heard from middle and upper class types, to justify their reluctance to be politically engaged. The latter is what I hear from them now, to justify their continuing reluctance to be politically engaged. A further difference I’ve observed, on the part of those previously politically engaged: they are too tired and too battered by the ongoing economic downturn to literally afford to remain politically engaged.

Which suggests that as those with businesses, property, a middle class lifestyle, etc.focus on trying to keep afloat or protect, they will retreat from the political scene: leaving it wide open to be seized by whom?

Well, there’s the Roman maxim: fortune favors the bold.

In certain opposition circles, the term “a Perfect Storm” has gained currency, even before Typhoon Fengshen came on the scene and struck such a blow at the administration, that even among its supporters, a certain amount of hostility has set in (to give just one example, the parents of a friend have been fiercely supportive of the President since 2005, and I view their reactions to events as a kind of bellweather of the President’s political stock among her supporters; when Fengshen struck, they were so appalled over the President’s decision to go the United States that they’ve turned critical: the father, who is Ilonggo, is now actively hostile, the mother, a Cebuana, less demonstratively so, but their former enthusiasm seems irretrievably lost; other loyalists I’ve talked to seem to have been quite irked by the President’s chasing Barak Obama around).

Billy Esposo, for one, has gone further and put forward what he calls a “loose ball” situation, one (if memory serves me correctly) was first put forward by Fidel V. Ramos when he proposed solving the political crisis in 2005 by having the President commit to presiding over the shift from the presidential to the parliamentary system. I remember Ramos, on TV, at the Palace, saying he would look down from his Urban Bank penthouse office, at squatter colonies while wondering what would happen if the poor suddenly left their slums en masse, hell-bent on invading the gated communities in their vicinity.

Esposo’s variation on this theme was contained in a recent e-mail he sent out:

…the country is indeed headed for a “loose ball” situation. [A participant in a recent conference] admitted that if the situation deteriorates to the feared “loose ball” situation (food riots, have-nots attacking the haves, open hostilities between warring factions in the country, etc), even a united AFP (which it is not!) cannot hold the country together. The complicating factor is, of course, what hand will the US and China play in such a development.

I’ve said before that my personal view is that we aren’t important enough to have China and America devoting either energy or resources to physically carving up the country; and part of me thinks the “Perfect Storm” scenarios are more about wishful thinking than an actual probability that needs to be confronted. Mon Casiple, much more of a sober observer, puts it this way:

Some have predicted chaotic protests and even vigilante actions because of the high prices. To be sure, it has not been our history that economic issues directly lead to regime change. However, it has the legacy of setting the stage for regime change by rendering an incumbent administration politically vulnerable to a political offensive.

That offensive can take many forms: the mushrooming of protest actions, particularly on the day the President delivers her State of the Nation Address: the “Perfect Storm” scenario being put forward would then be in the nature of a prediction that’s come true; or there might be spontaneous eruptions of public indignation that could get messy if officials on the ground lose their cool; or even an impeachment effort in October -supported, covertly, by an administration coalition prepared to jettison the President ahead of 2010 so as to give itself a fighting chance.

As Casiple puts it,

The GMA administration certainly faces — f it is still possible — a heightened political crisis because of its unpopularity. If the inflation crisis — and more telling, the inept handling of the Frank national disaster — is linked in the people’s consciousness to the poor quality of governance by the GMA administration, then it will translate into a landslide win for an opposition presidential candidate in 2010.

At the moment, this is already the case. If the president continues on into 2010, she will be the only issue of the elections and, if the opposition know its stuff, it will trump anybody whom the ruling coalition puts up against their sole candidate.

For this reason, I find two items Danton Remoto posted in his blog, velly, velly intelestink, indeed. Bopth involve Efren Danao’s column in the Manila Times.

The first is, Loren, Chiz firm up tandem:

Legarda and Escudero belong to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), although at the Senate, Legarda is with the minority and Escudero, with the majority. Legarda was number one in 2007, having won the most number of votes among all the senatorial bets. Escudero was number two.

… Escudero predicted that there would be no one-on-one contest between the opposition and the administration in the 2010 presidential election, “since no incumbent is running, and there is the question on who is really an opposition.”

The second is Chiz talks about 2010:

“GMA is not running in 2010, and it would be unfair to the people if presidential candidates should still use her as an issue,” he explained.

Indeed, candidates would be like shadowboxing if they will be punching at a non-opponent. Chiz said that instead of raising the GMA bogy, candidates should talk about their platform of government.

“Any candidate who runs on an anti-GMA platform is insulting the intelligence of the people. The people will vote for a presidential candidate because of what he or she intends to do if victorious, not because he or she is against GMA,” Chiz stressed.

This is a familiar strategy: we saw it when the Palace proclaimed the protests against it as “political noise.” Now you might jump to the conclusion that a Legarda-Escudero tandem is under construction as a kind of Trojan Horse for the ruling coalition. That might be premature. But it would be fair to zero in on how the NPC and Danding Cojuangco have skillfully played the game when it comes to the present administration and the political opportunities the pragmatic Big Boss and his party sees in 2010. What the NPC has, in its camp, is a potential dark horse for the presidency, and a formidable one, at that: and I don’t mean Legarda, but rather, Escudero. Again, without dwelling on anything negative, I do think it’s fair to say that he possesses many of the positive attributes of Ferdinand Marcos, not to mention a more contemporary style gift for gab. What other political camp has such young presidential timber, primed to capitalize on an increasingly young electorate?

But enough, for now, on speculating on what might be. Let’s look at what is, and was.

I once described Malacañang Palace as prize, pulpit, and stage: it is all of these things both to our chief executives and the nation at large.

One of the informal but most effective powers of any president, is the power to set the national agenda, simply by saying or doing something. As the country set out to recover from World War II, President Roxas took to personally growing vegetables in Malacañang Park. Such stunts have a value, politically, and I’m surprised Mar Roxas hasn’t taken to proposing Victory Gardens as a worthwhile effort for urban residents and communities to engage in. Or why the President hasn’t thought of something similar, considering the multitudes fed on a regular basis in the Palace. Even Laurel instituted a diet of mongo gruel in the Palace as a wartime austerity measure.

Today’s Malaya editorial says the administration’s actually made noises about boosting food production, but takes it to task for actually not meaning what it says, and embarking on what the paper views as unnecessary fussing over alternative sources of energy:

The Palace said among the measures are a stepped-up program to expand production to answer the food problem and energy conservation, tapping of alternative energy sources and intensified search for oil in response to runaway global crude prices.

Let’s look at these proposed measures to ease the impact of spiraling fuel cost. Conservation of energy will come by itself and not through government effort. With gas at P60 a liter, there will be fewer private vehicles on the road. Public utility vehicles will have to rationalize their operations, plying their routes only when assured of full capacity (no more empty buses careening on EDSA during off-rush hours). Households and business will also be forced to cut costs as a matter of survival.

The Palace should not promise the people pie in the sky in the form of biofuels, solar and wind powered generating plants which will take years to put in place and at a probably higher cost than hydrocarbon-based energy sources.

Food production, on the other hand, is indeed quickly responsive to expansion of areas under irrigation, introduction of high-yielding seeds and liberal use of fertilizers and insecticides. Rice has a cycle of three months from planting to harvest. So bigger investment in farms now will yield dividends in a relatively short time.

Is the government putting extra-ordinary efforts to boost food output? The way we are hearing it from Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, rice production is no longer a problem.

But government has to be shown to be making an effort, when it comes to energy, and that includes kicking off the process of identifying, and harnessing, alternative sources of energy, precisely because it takes years to achieve: meanwhile, officialdom ought to consider that even as the streets have emptied, I don’t think anyone can say there’s been a corresponding reduction in official convoys. In fact, they may not have increased in number but have become more conspicuous, precisely because there’s less of a justification for the convoys to be barging past the citizenry. This is a minor thing, perhaps, but it sometimes spells the difference for citizens being appeal to, to cooperate in a national effort. Seeing an official SUV accompanied by a motorcycle escort does not put you in the proper framework to be receptive to an appeal for belt-tightening.

It was highly symbolic, though perhaps disruptive of efficient governance, for presidents to throw open the Palace gates so as to welcome the citizenry: Magsaysay and Macapagal were particularly remembered for this, with affection. When Marcos, on the other hand, turned the environs of the Palace into a sealed-off area, the public took it as a manifestation of how the presidency was being divorced from the people it was supposed to serve. If every crisis presents an opportunity, then it is up to every leader to seize or waste that opportunity. What consigned Estrada to the dustbin of history was less the sight of the middle and upper classes at the Edsa Shrine, but rather, the contrasting sight -or more accurately, widespread accounts of the sighting- of Estrada holed up in the Palace, armed primarily with a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label, uncertain of what to do, as his allies squabbled among themselves and then deserted him. What has kept Arroyo at center stage was her refusing the relinquish the Palace at all costs, which inspired admiration even among her enemies.

But there is a fine line between true grit and the perception that succesfully holding on to power has hardened your heart to the plight of your countrymen. Never mind those long ago convinced that this is actually the case; it’s your supporters now becoming convinced of the same thing that is a problem.

For this reason, the opposition, if it had any imagination, could embark on Victory Gardens of its own… But I doubt any such thing will come to pass. Let’s hope gated communities consider plowing up their parks to make way for vegetable gardens, as a form of community outreach for their neighbors -or collaborating with urban poor communities. It bothers me that there are those seemingly pining for a “Perfect Storm,” which is like wishing your enemy will be scooped up by a tornado. It ignores the reality that tornadoes do not distinguish between humans classifying each other as friends and enemies.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

92 thoughts on “Victory gardens and that “Perfect Storm”

  1. “Any candidate who runs on an anti-GMA platform is insulting the intelligence of the people. The people will vote for a presidential candidate because of what he or she intends to do if victorious, not because he or she is against GMA,” Chiz stressed.

    And this type of reasoning will make running under the Lakas-Kampi banner acceptable. Accountability will have to wait.

  2. If the NPC team of Legarda-Escudero, or vice versa, is indeed endorsed by the administration, a Gordian Knot (big, big puzzle)is what really are the pair’s true primary colors?

    Their loyalty is to themselves? Winning is everything.

  3. Could it be possible that the last card of GMA is to let the perfect storm (anarchy caused by hunger) happen for her to declare martial law and perpetuate herself as president for life just like marcos.

    She can let that situation happen by not doing anything now.

  4. Admittedly, Devilsadvc8’s Bastille scenario (which he explained in his previous comments) seem to be on track but as long as any social unrest isn’t too sudden or widespread, i think a Chiz Escudero – Loren Legarda tandem (or vice versa) backed by Danding Cojuangco is a formidable one as it’s something both the Oligarchs and the masa can rally towards. The current occupants of Malacanang will try to make a deal but at some point, if any unrest threatens to get out of hand, the Arroyos will be thrown under the bus in order to signal a clean break and a new beginning.

  5. Nice Tandem: Legarda-Escudero

    First we have someone who takes pills for NON-therapeutic reasons and pretended all is well in the marital front for so long only to keep up appearances. Clearly we cannot trust the judgement of such a person who takes unnecessary risks just to whiten her skin.

    Second we have someone who proposed, during his Mediocre but very loud stint in congress, to cut down on BASIC science and math subjects in the curriculum.


  6. Maybe this lack of engagement among Pinoys is because we are not really an IDEAS kinda people. So if there is no episodal or narrative element to an issue (such as the Jun Lozada and Edsa revolution circuses), the Pinoy mind is out of its element and therefore has not much to express.

  7. Benigs,

    Yes there are IDEAS. What do you think of Bill Esposo’s ‘loose ball situation’, Casiple’s conspiracy theories, Tony Abaya’s high-stakes takes, lunch time coups, etc.

    The cabals in coffee houses in Makati and Manila never run out of things to intrigue about. These Ludlum fans (some part-time journalists and part-time agent provocateurs) have thought of all kinds of scenarios. Need you doubt?

  8. Heaven forbid an opportunist like Escudero take over the country. Son of the Marcos aggie minister who was among the last of the loyalists cheering FM in his 1986 inauguration… what have the Escuderos wrought? Classic examples of Trapo politicians who hang around forever and are major contributors to the country’s destruction.

  9. Victoria Garden and Green infrastructure are excellent ideas. It does not require lots of money from an individual or from the government side. Implementation can be done thru our educational system getting parents and students get involve and be aware. It should start from the elementary. I remember planting vegetables and trees around our school. The trees are mature now and some were destroyed by typhoon. It needs replacement. I took the same idea to our house. That was a long time ago. late’s 70 and early 80’s.. until now we have fresh vegetables and fruits from our small yard. That little idea became a habit.

  10. Is “… limited in ambition” a problem to those in the Senate or in Congress?

    And the opportunity has been made more enticing by a simple fact — the Constitution and that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can not run for re-election. A minor risk for the presidential wannabe’s in her administration is not to appear TRAYDOR. This is a minor risk, though. Filipino voters in the past have not really punished the TRAYDOR’s.

  11. to cvj: I just noticed where you said …i think a Chiz Escudero – Loren Legarda tandem (or vice versa) backed by Danding Cojuangco is a formidable one as it’s something both the Oligarchs and the masa can rally towards..

    Let us say a person is put into Malacanang by both Oligarchs and the masa. Now you know that odds are very high this Malacanang resident becomes “traditional” — e.g. land reform too slow, as usual, balance-the-budget gets priority, NCR-region gets priority over Bicol. Do you expect that you will blame the masa for having been fooled by the oligarchs as usual?

  12. UPn, if it comes to that, as long as the elections are honest, i will respect the masa’s decision even if may not agree with their choice. (My beef with the current admin has always been its legitimacy so an honest election would be an improvement.) I won’t let the Oligarchs off the hook though.

  13. I believe that the next generation should take over the national leadership. Out with the old and in with the new. If Escudero is the first potential president of that generation then so be it.

  14. Leytenian,

    Victoria Garden sounds like a place, not in Leye, but in Pasig or Pasay, with white sheets instead of green grass. Its Victory…LOL

    Anyway, you are on the mark. I think if we continued the philosophy and practical approaches of the Marcos-era Green Revolution movement, who knows the Philippines might be self-sufficient in rice. Of course, we would have to control the runaway population growth.

  15. to PSI: (just a minor comment….) a Canadian farmer (in a news article) complained about 3rd-world farmers who use their land and farming skills to grow flowers to sell overseas ….. while their government buys grain from Canadian- and Australian-farmers.

  16. @ UPn

    Well, I guess over the years, profit margins in growing these ornamental flowers were much better than cultivating rice. Because individual farms were not mandated to grow food crops, they shifted to these plants.

    The mindset: let us have our profits and et the government take care of food security. That’s why, there should have been a philosophy of food security even way back then. Of course, somebody will raise howl about collective farming, etc.

    I’m not sure. Better ask Vic from Canada.

  17. “Out with the old and in with the new. If Escudero is the first potential president of that generation then so be it.”

    How is Escudero new? He is a dynastic politician.

    Of course, that alone is no reason to shun him, sadly his substandard performance shows he is just another trapo, a trapo who does not understand the value of math and science to a developing nation.

  18. upn, treachery is punished by voters. but it’s on a case-by-case basis, meaning the treachery is contextual.

  19. PSI,

    actually, your pasig river clean up and green infrastructure idea is excellent. Planting trees on its sides about 20 meters wide is an automatic clean up. there’s a tree called juvelina that mature in 3 years. if anyone been to bohol ? route from blood compact to chocolate hills is very pretty and lushy. juvelina trees are along the sides. same thing with their green river.
    this pasig river idea is actually a risk management for flood issue

  20. cvj,

    Hindsight is almost 20/20. But the way I understand it from your previous posts, you didn’t also vote for FPJ in 2004 though were you aware of his food security program, am I right?

    You see those were happier days. Inflation was low, Wall Street has recovered, credit was cheap, etc. Nobody foresaw these high food, high fuel costs environment.

  21. PSI, that goes to show that FPJ was right, and i was wrong. I don’t think it can be said that ‘nobody foresaw these…’ since there were advocacy groups (often dismissed as ‘leftists’) who did.

  22. nash,

    ‘he is just another trapo’

    If every politician is a trapo then better a young trapo than an old trapo. Filipinos do not really have a choice unless mlq3 runs for office. Only actors can beat politicians in a fair election.

  23. cvj,

    That is precisely what I’m saying. Many people thought wrongly that FPJ’s food security program was baloney because times were good. And you are right. Even if some advocacy groups were making noise about it, the upper classes will dismiss such simply because of the source.

    Be that as it may, I guess it was too late also for FPJ at that time. The Philippines were already bound to its WTO commitments.

  24. PSI, i think it was lack of empathy on the part of the Upper Classes. Even though ‘times were good’ back then, hunger was already a reality for millions of Filipinos. That also serves as a lesson not to dismiss the leftists off hand because much of their advocacies are actually far sighted and good for Society.

    I don’t think the WTO would have necessarily been a show stopper as long as the government had committment to a food security program. For one thing, it would still be able to allocate funds to make sure that our irrigation system does not deteriorate as much as the present Admin has allowed (as per Liam Tinio’s comment)

    …the cause of the deterioration of our irrigation facilities for rice is not neglect, but a positive effort in the side of the government, particularly Alex Magno of DBP in discarding, or at least toning down, irrigation for purposes of rice cultivation as it is in their (Magno, etal) opinion that “putting precious water resources” for use in water-intensive low-yielding crops like rice would very much endanger the laws of efficiency. – Liam Tinio, April 4th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

  25. To Alex Magno, social costs were of secondary concern compared to getting the price right

    …If we allow the price of rice to go up, that will have some social costs to be sure. But that will also encourage more people to go back to farming, earning better incomes and soaking up the pool of poverty.

    In a word, we have supply problems largely because we have insisted on getting the price wrong.

    If we get the price right, the supply problem should quickly work itself out. People, with little coaxing, will be a bit more prudent in consuming this commodity that uses up so much of our scarce fresh water supplies.

    If the price is right, I might, as my ancestors have before me, actually go forth to till the fields. – Alex Magno

    Disgusting, right?

  26. “(Magno, etal) opinion that “putting precious water resources” for use in water-intensive low-yielding crops like rice would very much endanger the laws of efficiency.” – Liam Tinio as quoted by cvj

    Hvrds was just saying in the previous thread that this guy Mr. Alex Magno is a pure, unabashed market forces guy, if it serves his agenda.

  27. the filipinos are a forgiving lot. except for the pretentious “blue-blood” spanish mestizos (whether wallowing in wealth or down on the dumps) who cannot forget personal insultus and “disrespect”, many pinoys are quick to forgive and forget. cases in point: the marcoses, the estradas, the escuderos, the macedas, tatad, enrile, danding cojuancos, among others, who still ply the corridors of power. even in the movie world, the likes of gabby concepcion could make a “comeback” after unceremoniously and shamelessly abandoning his family and fans under scandalous circumstances. generally, in the u.s., or even u.k. or japan, those kinds of people would be politically (or even commercially) dead and forgotten without hope of resurrection.

    is that a vice or a defect of national proportions?

  28. on magno article…
    solutions of urban sprawl is high rise or reclamation. manila is doing that and cebu. hongkong is a good example. what’s lacking is preservation of our natural resources , forestry and maintaining green infrastructure.
    magno did not really point out solution except subsidies. That’s not enough.

    planning and pushing by our currrent admin… here’s YAP ( i wonder how he can implement: in what way .. subsidizing and blah blahing are not enough. Hands on Training or Video is cheaper.

    I hope they will push more on green infrastructure too and Victoria garden awareness in partneship with department of education.

    Our policy must look into programs that do not require much capital and government employee. Let’s save the money from Debts and allow our people to get involve. It’s better and fun that way.

  29. Feeding the Future. the Shangri-La Hotel chain and the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) who agreed to embark on a joint effort to develop one million hectares of land for food production under a program called “Feeding the Future.”

  30. leytenian, the SMC-Kuok program does not add up. The news reports say that SMC and Kuok will spend 1,000 US dollars per hectare (on 1 million hectares making a total of 1 billion dollars in investment) to develop farmland. That 1000 dollars is barely the cost of growing rice in one hectare for one season so i don’t know how far that investment will go. It seems more like a scheme by SMC-Kuok to get to use government land for free and guarantee the availability of agricultural inputs for its Companies while getting brownie points from the public.

  31. “disgusting, right”?

    not on your life, cvj. i agree with magno. as we were discussing on rom’s blog (“turning the tide”), if the cost of commodities, including food and oil, in the market would become unreachable for the masses and the middle class, then a return to basics would be the only option for them to stay alive. continuing to copy the lifestyle of the wealthy and the upper middle class, including driving their own vehicle, shopping at the malls and supermarts, living in the city or suburbia, would be the wrong way to go.

    let the poor and middle class produce their own food and, if there’s excess, to market them among themselves. until dependence on oil is eliminated, let them use modes of transportation that worked in the past without the need for fossil-fueled energy such as bicycles, rickshaws, horse-drawn buggies or calesas; develop an energy-efficient national railway system providing cheap, fast and safe transportation for cargo and passengers; increase the development of hydroelectric, geothermal, wind power as sources of energy.

    call it regression but who said we have to always advance to survive?

  32. cvj, re concepcion, how can i help it? abs-cbn is crowing about it all over the place as if “the prodigal son” himself showed up to reclaim his fortune and “fame”. that’s what is “disgusting, isn’t it?”

  33. i understand cvj . I need some kind of balance. Our government site may not answer all my questions but i am actually impressed . Kouk can produce on its own. If their effort is to just get government land then let it be. Anybody who can produce for their own employees is not bad. Businesses uses donation for tax incentives. Let them explore. Both SMC and Shangrila are one of the biggest , successful businesses in our country. Shangrila will actually open another one in Fort. Boracay is almost done. This hotel will attract the other Asian tourists . I am thinking of employment here and team building.

  34. PSI

    here is how hvrds really feels about Magno….

    Now on Alex Magno being a maggot. We are after all part of the natural world. Maggots serve a useful purpose in the physical world.

    However Magno is something else. He pretends he knows what he talks about. He gets paid for it by the present couple in the Palace as he ratifies their position. Sort of the blind leading the blind.

    He pretends at times to be a libertarian, a believer in the dogmatic theological primacy of the free markets. Absolute faith he says in the theology of the free markets. Yet he receives his stipend from a development bank of the country.
    The anti-thesis of his pronounced faith. He is on the public dime. He is a director of DBP.

  35. SMC kuok: one million hectares?

    why, what happened to the two million real estate deal with china?

  36. the idea is Giving $ 1000 each farmer to do their thing tapos bibilhin ang produce nila..

    let us hope that it won’t be like masagana 99,masagana lang sa una pag dating sa bandang huli nalubog sa utang ang mga farmers.

    the lubog sa utang theme song ni leytenian may have some sense in it,afterall

    bahaal na sila kung ano gagawin nila sa $1000 ; it was estimated to last for a decade,pero sabi nga ni cvj isang taon lang yan.kahit na ano wag lang lumubog sa utang mag farmer.

    ang masama nito kung gamitin ang 1000 dollars sa pagbayad sa mga usureros at five six, e di wala rin.

  37. No one bit one my question, on the previous thread:

    should we allow a one time big time increase(hike) for transportation and fuel
    dahil wala na yatang ending to.

    kung paambon ambon,sa hinaba haba ng prusisyon sa simbahan din ang tuloy.

  38. Bencard, you wrote: “let them use modes of transportation that worked in the past without the need for fossil-fueled energy such as bicycles, rickshaws, horse-drawn buggies or calesas; develop an energy-efficient national railway system providing cheap, fast and safe transportation for cargo and passengers; increase the development of hydroelectric, geothermal, wind power as sources of energy”

    Amen. I think it is first time ever, but I actually couldn’t agree more with you. Now let’s hope the powers that be see the light too and perhaps even set an example by using a bicycle here and there, although it would be quite a sight, I have to admit.

  39. Bencard’s suggestion is better than my suggestion of building more covered walkways and just put some more security guards

    mabalik tayo sa tanung if a one time big time increase let say fifteen to twenty pesos for fuel and ten to fifteen for jeep/bus fares.

    parang scenario na pinoint ni hvrds:
    apples and oranges may differ but they are both fruit.

    Dometic political pressures then could be brought to bear when the realities of a hard crash happen.

    Nothing educates as much as letting people experience market failures.
    Posted by: R Hiro Vaswani — 24 March 2008 1:32 pm

  40. “It ignores the reality that tornadoes do not distinguish between humans classifying each other as friends and enemies.”

    That is the scary part. An economic crises at $250 per barrel is unrealistic to many Filipinos. My cousin a military colonel who is in town for US training enjoyed free government gas and have no worry between today and next year or year after – by the time he will be general. There is no concept on how the spiralling oil cost will change the prices of goods and services that will drastically change any gains felt today into an unmanageable situation and drive those marginally disenfranchised into extreme measures, example increase in crimes. At least my cousin, thinks he has gas, bodyguards, weapons and other freebies that he can use in any situation. For ordinary Filipinos, what do you have?

    Each to his own. In extreme scenario, only the strong will survive. But if the government had been subsidizing its chosen friends and allies, am sure there is little left for the masses.

  41. “the lubog sa utang theme song ni leytenian may have some sense in it,afterall”

    hahaha. thanks. you made my day. but let me have it as my theme song please. lol

  42. PSI, what the articles referring to are not just farmers’ initiatives, but governments’ to grow “ornamental crops” for export to earn foreign currency to service their foreign debts. And that is true to most underdeveloped Countries so they can continue availing more loans, a vicious cycle.

    Farmers produce in western Canada are marketed by the Wheat Board, a co-operative of some sort that takes care of the produce as soon as they are off the field and advance payments to the Farmers. You may call it a cartel but that takes the worry off the farmers and concentrate on tending their farms.

  43. leytenian (at 4:09pm), i would have been impressed if the numbers added up. it doesn’t, the investment per hectare is too small. Besides,there are better uses for the ‘idle’ government land. imagine how many ‘victory gardens’ a million hectares can provide?

    They need to make the details of the MOU between SMC and the government public.

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