Monday, May 5, 2008

Rice and Shifting Rage

The Philippines failed to buy 675,000 metric tons of rice - News

In panic for the loss of rice in local stalls and, consequently perhaps, her hold on the country, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the President of a rice producing country, is virtually forcing other countries to sell her rice by offering outrageous prices. Now, she placed the Philippines on the map not only as the biggest importer of rice but also as the country that raised the price of rice worldwide. Anyway, it’s not her money.

She, a PhD in economics is simply beyond comprehension. Stalls sell rice at P40/kilo or less. NFA begs to pay more than P50/kilo for imported rice. This is the equivalent of P25/kilo of palay. It is willing to buy locally palay at only P17/kilo. Rice traders pay much more. She threatens to sue rice hoarders, but didn’t file charges against bodegas where sacks of NFA rice were found illegally stored.

In her campaigns she promised more food on our tables. Now she is desperately trying to put some rice back on our tables by importing the staple commodity, instead of helping local farmers produce enough of it.

Senate Inquiry failed to connect PGMA to the CTE-NBN anomaly – Bunye.

He may be right. It may not be necessary though.

The President’s men already implicated her by sending Jun Lozada abroad to avoid a Senate inquiry, by kidnapping him allegedly for his safety, and by carrying out an intensive but bungled cover-up operations that included a gift of P50,000 from a jobless man; Executive Undersecretary Manny Gaite, by gifting a nonentity a hefty sum of P500 thousand just to lessen his discomfort in a land where most of us can visit only in our dreams; Chairman Ben Abalos, by being omnipresent in CTE affairs even at the height of the 2007 elections; and Neri, by running to the Supreme Court instead of answering simple questions.

Even PGMA incriminated herself by firing Jun Lozada for being too talkative and not pliant enough and by giving him something to chew about at CHED, presumably, so he can’t talk; by not canceling the contract immediately; and by admitting that she knew that the contract was flawed even before she signed it. This list should include the nine associate justices of the Supreme Court by… well, just by being lucky. Jun Lozada is not in the list. His feather differs.

Now that the truth is out, the question that confronts us all, the Senate and the CDCP in particular, is what now? Ok, so the CTE-NBN anomaly is just the tip of the iceberg because of the Jocjoc Bolante Fertilizer scam, the P5 billion swine scam, the NFA imported rice found in bodegas of rice traders, the South Railway project, etc. The question is still, so what? What can we do about it? What are we doing about it? Incessant bootless Gloria bashing and investigations may only shift the rage.