[This blog has a new domain: http://philippineaffairs.com/]
Call me paranoid. But I think the so-called rice crisis is artificially instigated by the government to cover up other bigger socio-political issues. This is the classic “wag the dog” scheme of diverting public attention from the more pressing issues, such as the issue of institutional and systematic corruption in government. How is it possible that an agricultural country, such as the Philippines, have a rice crisis? Blame it on the La Niña, El Niño or even on Madam Auring. But there is indeed something fishy about the present situation.
Initially, the president was denying that there is a rice crisis. How can you then explain the long queue of people competing to buy NFA rice? How can you explain the 35 pesos per kilo price? Some experts even predicted that it is possible that the price can rise as high as 60 pesos per kilo.
Real or imagined, the so-called rice crisis is taking its toll. Rice dealers are hoarding tons of rice. Authorities are regularly raiding warehouses that are stockpiling NFA rice. All the while, more and more Filipinos are getting hungry. Those who still have the money would sacrifice long hours of queuing under the intense heat of the summer sun just to purchase their 5-kilo daily limit of NFA rice.
The president is again doing her double talk. She is saying that there is no rice crisis but the actions of the government are telling us otherwise. Is it really too far-fetched that the government would instigate an artificial rice crisis? Well, the government has been doing it for many years. By importing rice and allowing billion-pesos worth of agricultural funds go into the pockets of greedy officials, such as Joc-joc Volante.
When I was a child, my grandmother, “Lola Vacion,” used to remind me that for every grain of rice that I wasted, I would be spending one day in purgatory. If she was right, what then would be the more fitting punishment for those who are wasting tons of rice at the expense of the hungry masses?