“Tuyo” and rice

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Somebody said so many decades ago that as long as “tuyo” and rice are affordable to ordinary Filipinos there cannot be any successful revolution in this country. That is, as long as people can eat even just the most basic and cheapest food, whoever is in power will remain in power. As long as he has the political charisma, of course.

If the last election were anything to go by, voters today are not any wiser. In drinking sprees along sidewalks or in gossipy gatherings, the elders would passionately argue for BBM when he was still a candidate. Younger people when they try to make their point would be sarcastically told to shut up.  “Ubing ka pay. Saan mo pay ammo sasawem.” (You are still young and still don’t much about the world.)

Hopefully, they can still say that now with the runaway prices of everything. Certainly, they will have something to say in defense of their political idol. “Dagidiay gamin buyot na.” (It is the people around him who are at fault.) With that position, they hide their economic pain if only to save face.

It is the same thing when it comes to the galloping prices of rice which PBBM promised to bring down to P2000 per kilo. Now, the going rate is triple  that if not for the price cap he (PBBM) imposed.

Will the price cap hold? No. There is no way to get away from the effect of the law on supply and demand. It will just discourage rice production and traders from selling the commodity.

Realizing their folly, government people are now saying the price cap will only be for a month. And that there will be subsidy for traders who suffered losses.

They are banking on the expected arrival of the rice to be imported from Vietnam, if the first shipment will arrive by then. Chances are even if the delivery ship would reach our shores, the trickling down of the imported rice to consumers and retailers will take forever, courtesy of our penchant for red tape and debilitating bureaucracy.

In the meantime, the real causes of the high prices of rice which is our low rice production is not being given the attention it needs. For instance, why is there no cabinet secretary yet for the Department of Agriculture? Is the appointment of such being hindered by political considerations?  Yes, politics again. That is what is hindering our progress.

For God’s sake let us go by the merits. Only then can we face the problem squarely and be able to come up with meritorious solutions.

Otherwise, all we can think of would be band-aid solutions just to appease the hunger of the people who do not know any better.  And when their tummies are filled with the most basic and cheapest food, they will go back to their stupid and merry ways. Good governance and qualities of good political leaders are beyond their grasp. And this is being perpetuated by politicians because their political survival would be threatened.

Sometimes there is merit to what an exasperated voter said. “People should suffer even more for them to wake up from their slumber or stupidity.”**

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