Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Investigate the controversial NICA report of looming food shortage in the country

We will file a resolution calling for an investigation on the controversial report purportedly released by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) of a looming food shortage in the country.

Hindi biro ang usaping ito at lubhang napaka-sensitibo para gamitin ng ilang mapagpangahas na grupo o indibidwal para sa sariling interes. If it’s true that this issue is being manipulated to drive prices high, then it’s a matter that needs our serious attention.

We are working closely with the Department of Agriculture in monitoring the state of the nation’s food supply. Together with the COCAFM and the private sector, we created a task force whose mandate is to ensure food security. The task force, named Agriculture and Fisheries 2025 (AF2025), includes all the major players in the food supply chain in the country and aims to provide long-term, sustainable solutions to the various problems that continue to plague the agricultural sector.

Speculation is one of the problems we’ve identified and this needs to be addressed. In this particular case, if we find out that it is manufactured and that unscrupulous traders are behind this, then they should be punished.

Preparation can avert rice crisis

The country’s shrinking “rice supply” has become a matter of “national concern.”

We are not surprised with the results of the NICA report. The trend in higher food process did not begin February—not even this year. The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) started reporting about the trend in 2010 and so the increase is not going to be sudden.

This ongoing trend shows the need for the country to prepare in order to avert an impending rice crisis.

If we ignore the signs, a ‘crisis’ will creep up slowly, catching us unaware. On the other hand, we can use this time to prepare and ensure food security and stable prices. There will be no destabilization or crisis if we prepare now and focus on solutions.

That is why we have tried to work way ahead by convening AF 2025 as a means to focus on food security. AF 2025 is an agriculture summit that convened, in February this year, some of the key agriculture stakeholders from government, the farming sector, the private sector, and other related groups. Its objective was to draw up a road map that would address key agriculture issues.

Below are some solutions gleaned from the experiences I had on the field:

First: Aggressively promote the use of new rice varieties—including inbred and hybrid rice that are known to increase per-hectare yield. We learned through our field visits that the average yield per hectare is 3.8 metric tons. Inbred and hybrid varieties increase the yield per hectare to as much as 15 metric tons—three times more than the current yield.

In my recent trip to Barangay Tondod, San Jose, Nueva Ecija, an inventor named Alfonso Puyat developed a variety of inbred rice that is now tested by a rice farmer, Fernando Gabuya. The new variety was said that have yielded three times old rice variety used by Gabuya.

We’ve seen for ourselves how inventors and farmers are working together to develop innovations that increase productivity and the chances for profitability. Imagine if we were to test this out in other areas and eventually roll it out. The potentials for success are huge.

Second, Government needs to focus on increasing the hectarage of irrigated land. We now have 1.4 million hectares of irrigated land. The remaining 3.2 million hectares of Riceland remain raid-fed. The per-hectare yield can be doubled if irrigation will allow these lands two croppings instead of one.

Cooperatives and associations need to be organized in order to better maximize government assistance by way of ACEF grants and soft loans from GIFs (Government Financial Institutions). There's also a need to beef up the country’s investments in and capacity for research and development to come up with better solutions addressing food security.

Investments in R&D will have exponential benefits that could help many of our farmers from all over the country. These developments could not only boost the productivity and income of our agricultural sector. They could, in time, make us self-sufficient so that we won’t have to reply on imports any more.

The national government, together with the local governments, farmers’ groups, the academe, traders, millers, small and medium enterprises should come together at the grassroots level and help boost rice supply. Let’s mobilize people power to boost rice supply and ensure food sufficiency.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ombudsman Gonzales, parang si Khadaffy -- Kapit-tuko sa puwesto

Sa di pagkilala ni Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III sa ruling ng Malakanyang, para siyang si Moamar Khaddafy.: Pinapatalsik na ng pwersa ng pagbabago pero ayaw pa rin bumaba sa puwesto.

Tulad ni Khaddafy, history is not on his side ika nga, at his time is up. Napag-iwanan na si Gonzales ng kasaysayan. Mas mainam na tanggapin na lang niya ang desisyon at magbitiw na lang.

Ang administrasyong Aquino ay naninindigan laban sa katiwalian at bulok na pamamahala. Patapos na ang maliligayang araw ng mga tiwali at abusado sa gobyerno. Dapat tanggapin ni Gonzales ang katotohanan na ang mga katulad niya ay dapat nang mawala sa gobyerno. Ang nararapat gawin ng gobyerno ay tiyakin na bilang na ang oras ng panunungkulan ni Gonzales at iba pang tulad niya.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bitbitin na palabas si Gonzalez

The presumption of regularity must prevail on the issue of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III. In this instance, unless constrained by the courts, the decision must be respected and the dismissal enforced. Kung walang legal na balakid sa pagpapatupad ng utos ng presidente, dapat ay tanggalin na 'yan sa puwesto. Kung kailangan mang bitbitin 'yan palabas ay dapat aksyonan na kaagad ng kinauukulang ahensiya ng pulis.

Unless they have forgotten we are under a new administration now, it is time we put an end to the wanton disregard for the rule of law so characteristic of the Arroyo administration. We need to exorcise the nation from the ghosts of the past regime wherein the constitution and the rule of law were upheld only when it served the purpose of the incumbent.

Huwag na nating hintayin pang magkaroon ng isa pang Luneta. Tama na! Sundin niyo na ang batas!

Amendments to the impeachment rule is needed to expedite trial

We have filed Senate Resolution 441 which would allow “the Senators to immediately vote on whether or not the impeachment is sustained when the presentation of evidence and arguments by the parties on one article of impeachment is completed; and if the impeachment shall not be sustained by the votes of two-thirds of all the Members, the presentation of evidence for the next article of impeachment shall commence accordingly.”

The amendments proposed seek to make the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez more efficient in the usage of both time and resources of the Senate. Based on records of previous impeachment trial, it took the Senate nearly three months to cover two of four articles. With six articles, it is possible that the trial could drag on for a year, thereby affecting the entire legislative performance of the Senate.

According to the rules of impeachment, “In the event that the prosecutors from the House of Representatives prove the case against Ombudsman Gutierrez in only one of the six articles, she will be formally removed from public office,” therefore, the Senate need not vote on all six articles of impeachment. If the Ombudsman has been convicted of one of the articles, the Senate may decide that subsequent votes on the remaining articles are unnecessary.