Agriculture continues to be BURIED by the Philippines’ enormous and rapidly-growing population

Social justice versus food security. This is what it boils down to now. In his PhilSTAR piece “Subsistence”, Alex Magno observes…

Our rice production is immune to all the subsidies and credit programs organized by government. It will continue to be inefficient unless we consolidate and industrialize our farmlands. This sector remains trapped in subsistence mode. We use basically the same technologies and social organizations from the time when our population was under 20 million.

Magno then issues an ominous prognosis…

With basically the same farm organization in place, all the subsidies will have limited impact. We can only produce so much rice that, as our population approaches 130 million, we will be importing more and more of our staple food.

How did it come to this? The answer is a cold war paradigm that evolved out of the rise of communism in between the world wars. The guerilla army which fought against the Japanese evolved into a communist rebellion because the opportunity was too good to waste given the network they established and the arms they accumulated. It also stemmed from the unfinished revolution of 1896. Since agriculture was the main economic driver, it was only logical that farmers wanted their own land.

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The agricultural model worked for a country of 30 million but not for a number that is fast approaching 130 million. It didn’t help also that we weren’t ready for independence. The same is true with the oligarchs need to rebuild their fortunes after the war which led them to intensify their focus on rent-seeking businesses. Because of the political structure, there was no long-term development plan. Further complicating the situation was the presence of the Americans who controlled the political and economic aspects of society.

This is why I’m in favor of charter change even if the proponents aren’t exactly what could be called patriots. The surveys don’t matter because think of the Malolos Congress. There was no survey then and yet, the Filipinos who composed that body adopted a parliamentary form of government as it was the norm at that time. It was the Americans who imposed their political structure on us which is why we’re in the mess that we are now. The agrarian reform program should have been finished in ten years. The pace at which agriculture is being modernized won’t be able to keep pace with our population growth.

I’m reminded of one of Lee Kuan Yew’s talks to Singaporeans where he raised the question of the accusation against him that he interfered in the private lives of Singaporeans, particularly with their reproductive rate. His answer was if he didn’t, the city state wouldn’t have been able to achieve the goals he had set and the vision for the quality of life they enjoy.

Our problem is our oligarchs only want to continue making money off a captive market. To hell with the quality of life. The fact is our main export is labor and that is what drives our economy. We might as well specialize in this by embarking on serious educational reforms and holding on to our niche as the top supplier of manpower to the world.

2 Replies to “Agriculture continues to be BURIED by the Philippines’ enormous and rapidly-growing population”

  1. @Ramon Ortoll: “We might as well specialize in this by embarking on serious educational reforms and holding on to our niche as the top supplier of manpower to the world.”

    “Filipino 15-year-olds are among the most stupid teeners on earth.”

    That’s according to Mr. Tony Lopez’s Philstar article, “Mass stupidity”.

    “These conclusions are validated once more by the 2022 results of tests conducted among 15-year-olds of 81 participating countries in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).”

    How should the Department of Education address this concern?

    Recall: VP Sara, during the budget hearing for Deped 2023, answers a query.

    Rep. France Castro:

    Madam Chair, So legislation ang sinasabi ng DepEd. So ano po yung gusto n’yong legislation para mapataas natin yung reading comprehension ng mga bata? At saka yung mathematics and science abilities. So kasi, itong ROTC talagang priority pa rin naman ito ng Marcos administration, so bakit ROTC? Bakit hindi yun para…to answer the problem nung learning crisis na binanggit natin?

    VP/ Education Sec. Sara Duterte:

    Yes, opo. Primarily, na-mention po natin doon sa ating presentation, if the Department of Education is given the budget that it is requesting we’ll be able to open more programs to address the learning problems of our students. So, initially po lumapit na kami sa Pangulo at sinabi namin… sinabihan ko po ang Pangulo na, If you give me 100 Billion, I will solve all the problems of basic education. And that is what I want to reiterate as well to Congress and the House of Representatives. If you give me, give us, the people here sitting infront of you, 100 Billion, we will be able to solve the problem in six years. Thank you.

    So, there you have it: 100 Billion budget for the Department of Education, according to VP/ Education Sec. Sara Duterte, is all it takes for her to solve the problem in six years.

    (FPRRD’s campaign promise then was to eliminate crime, drugs, and corruption in government in 3 to 6 months. He later admitted near the end of his term, he was wrong.)

    Is Mr. Ortoll honestly satisfied with the answer given by his Presidential bet of choice?!

  2. I am 100% convinced the only way The Philippines will ever “solve” the majority of their problems is if there is a way where all the people currently involved are forced out.

    Charter change will not change anything if the same political clans are still involved. The system doesn’t matter. If the majority of the people in the system are corrupt, those people will corrupt any system (as is the current case in Philippines politics).

    If one were to write a law which stated that no member of congress or the senate (or a city or provincial mayor) is allowed to be in any way related (no first cousins or second cousins either) to any other member the congress, senate, or a mayor for a period of 15 years…….

    You would have a massive transition. There would be no more political clans. It would end right away. There are 130 million people, there are plenty of people who can be in politics.
    It really can’t get any worse (except for war)

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