Random Thoughts

NFA IS LOWEST BIDDER — It’s sad to note that the prices of commercial rice in the markets in western Pangasinan kept on increasing during the last few days to the chagrin of the poor who have difficulty making both ends meet.

This was because the National Food Authority (NFA) in the western part of the province has already stopped distributing its rice to its various outlets in the area since March 19.  There simply was no more rice left in its bodegas.

The NFA branch reportedly received 100,000 bags of rice last year but the stock did not last long because the daily consumption of the people in the area is an average of 13,100 bags per day.

Ramon Cuaresma, manager of the NFA western Pangasinan branch, said they were helpless because private traders offered higher price per kilo to the farmers.

Of course, it is understandable that farmers would sell their product to the highest bidder and sadly it could never be NFA. This was the same reason why NFA failed to procure enough rice from farmers last month at the end of the harvest season for second crop rice.

Imagine, NFA was buying at only P18 per kilo compared to the P23 to P24 per kilo offered by private traders. Farmers would be crazy if they sell their palay to the NFA. Farmers need more money as well to buy new clothes and shoes for their children graduating from grade school and moving up to another step in the educational ladder.

I remember my kumpadre Abe Belen, a former journalist, who turned full-time farmer in San Quintin, who shared with me a written petition from his group asking Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, also my good friend, seeking an increase in the floor price of palay during a forum conducted by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) at CSI Stadia last year.

Abe told me that he would rather go back to the provincial capitol to serve again as a consultant where he could earn more per month, rather than be a full-time farmer in his wife’s two-hectare land if the NFA buying price stays at P18 per kilo.

This price, he said, will not allow a farmer to even recover his huge investment per hectare, most of which anyway is spent on labor, others on seeds, fertilizers, and on pesticide.

It’s good, he said, that President Duterte has exempted farmers from paying irrigation fees to the NIA, otherwise, the fee would be equivalent to several bags of palay. That helped the farmers.

Meanwhie, what’s this we heard from Engr. Rosendo So, chairman of Samahan ng Industriya at Agrikultura, that there should be no price increase for commercial rice because the traders bought their palay from farmers at  P23 to P24 per kilo and not higher.

The government must look into this because it appears that private traders and retailers are already manipulating prices in the absence of NFA rice in the market for bigger profits at the expense of the poor people.

This is truly disgusting.– Leonardo Micua


ARREST THE PASAWAY SMOKERS — When President Rodrigo Duterte signed on May 16 last year Executive Order 26 which bars smoking in public spaces nationwide, I heaved a great sigh of relief.

I was so thankful and happy. Sa wakas makakahinga na ako nang maayos. Yun ang akala ko.

EO 26 was Duterte’s fulfillment of his campaign promise to replicate what he did as mayor of Davao for 20 years. (Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan started the implementation of smoking ban long before Duterte signed EO 26.)

I was told those who wish to smoke had to go to nearby towns to do their thing.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading reports in police press releases lately that other towns have been arresting violators of EO 26, to name a few, Mangaldan, Pozorrubio, San Manuel, Urdaneta City, Dagupan City, Malasiqui.

To my disappointment, Balungao is not one of them.

I felt disgusted when my family went to Balungao to enjoy its hot and cold springs in the four swimming pools managed by the local government. (For budget family outing, Balungao hot and cold swimming pools are okay, with P50 entrance fee only per person. The picnic shed costs each P200 rental and that was still okay with us).

What got our goat was the presence of cigarette-puffing men around the resort, standing or sitting in picnic sheds close to ours. These smokers didn’t care if people around them were affected who began coughing or sneezing due to allergy from cigarette smoke.

Wala silang pakialam makapag yosi lang. Mapapamura ka talaga sa inis. But these smokers are so insensitive.

I was tempted to send a text message to Mayor Philipp Peralta to call his attention and possibly do something about the smokers.  It could have been easy for him to send a police detail to secure the place and time arrest the violators of smoking ban.

But I hesitated because I might spoil the mayor’s vacation. Now, I regret that decision. Dapat ginawa ko na.

In areas where strict compliance is observed, violators are either fined or asked to render community service. Pwedeng gawin din yan sa Balungao Hilltop Adventures para may taga linis sa paligid dun.

Local officials should consider designating smoking areas for addicts para naman hindi maging kawawa ang ibang tao.

Kaysa manghuli lang ng mandurukot, mas karapat dapat arestuhin din itong mga pasaway na smokers dahil ninanakaw nila ang ilang oras sa buhay ng mga nakaka singhot ng kanilang usok.

The smoking ban in Davao under Mayor Digong worked because the city government strictly enforced it and created a task force of enforcers specifically to implement the ban.

Why can’t other LGUs emulate this?— Eva Visperas

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