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Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's the People Again Who Should Make Sacrifices

The TV newscasts are filled with it. People lining in the streets, wet markets and other places to buy rice. Rice that are within their means. It all happened after the country's agriculture secretary announced that we better cut down on our rice consumption or we will end up with out rice! All hell broke loose as soon as after he said those words.

I thought at that time how stupid it was that instead of government doing something about the impending rice shortage, the secretary himself would ask the people to eat less rice. What's even weird is that he even asked food centers to offer half cup of rice instead of one cup per meal (we serve rice by cups). It's almost as if he's asking Filipinos to go on a force diet!!!

It was almost a joke until I saw the news stories and find my countrymen falling in line for hours on end just to get three kilos of rice a day at a price they could afford. Of course there were available rice but these were priced at no less than 30 pesos per kg. for the cheaper kind and 45 pesos for the more fancy kind such as Jasmine rice.

Why not buy the 30 pesos kind, you ask them? Well, minimum daily wage in the country is 300 pesos something or some 7 US dollars. That is, if the company one is in gives the minimum wage. But most companies in the country are small and medium enterprises so they end up exempted from paying the minimum wage.

With so many filipinos classified by the World Bank as earning less than a dollar a day, buying those readily available rice is out of the question. So they endure the heat (it's summer here) and the lack of a proper system of distribution by the food authority just to get rice that they could afford and don't go hungry for the day. So bad was the situation that at one time, those who were not able to get rice started weeping and begging like we were back in the dark ages!

Speaking of hunger, a few months ago there was report that some 70 percent of Filipinos go to sleep hungry because they don't have the means to buy food. And what did our president say about this? Well, she said that sometimes when she's too busy at work she forgets to eat too and stay hungry. I think that there's a vast difference between being hungry because you don't have money to buy food and forgetting to eat because you're busy making money.

Now here's even worse. A report came out saying that we do not have enough rice because there's so many of us! So we must all make sacrifices and stop making children who will compete for food in the future.

It's always the people who are the source of our woes!

Can't we stop and look if distribution of our resources as well as governance have in any way contributed to this problem and not just too many Filipinos?

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