EDITORIAL

Pangasinan is facing a crisis

NOBODY seems to be aware that Pangasinan is facing a crisis, man-made calamity!

As one of the country’s top rice-producing province, one does not have to make a physical count to determine how many rice farmers are affected by the unprecedented drop in the farmgate price of palay.

The ongoing hopelessness and desperation being felt by our rice farmers and their families are palpable. The unfolding situation for them, if not corrected, will inevitably make their children decide not to become farmers to look after their farmlands. If this happens, Pangasinan will soon be worrying lack of rice for our households and can only rely on imported rice to feed our families. A policy dependent on rice importation is precarious because of sensitivity of global trade to politics. If ASEAN countries decide to adopt limited rice export policy, we’re sunk.

The provincial government must show compassion. It should declare a state of calamity for the thousands of farmers unduly affected by the drop in farmgate price so funds can be released to help our farmers cover their losses and loans while providing them with the means to feed their families.

Our farmers are always the first to suffer from natural calamities, and again from this man-made calamity brought about by a national policy that led to market manipulations by unscrupulous rice traders.

It’s time to think out of the box to come to the aid of our helpless farmers and their families. They need help today, not next month. 

GCTA for sale

THE “GCTA For Sale” trade inside the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) has been there for the longest time.  It has now stabbed the national consciousness.  Thanks  to Antonio Sanchez, the convicted rapist-murderer in 1995, whose bid to avail of the “GCTA For Sale” business was recently aborted out of media vigilance, public outcry and, yes, President Duterte’s timely intervention.  The GCTA (Good Conduct and Time Allowance) allows prisoners early release than their actual sentences due to commendable behavior while in prison.  But Bucor being perceived as corruption-ridden, some, if not many, inmates gain liberty for a fee given to the “GCTA For Sale” syndicate.  Mr. Duterte has ordered the re-arrest of some 1,900 prisoners released anomalously while likewise relieving Nicanor Faeldon as Bucor chief.  Another giant leap for the President’s unrelenting drive against corruption in government.  Applause.  

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