Random Thoughts

A bad idea

By Leonardo Micua

THE call of Agriculture Secretary William Dar for provincial governments to take an active part in the procurement of palay directly from farmers gravely affected by the low farmgate price of their product, is not a well vetted proposition. 

We are not a pessimist but local governments going to business is certainly not the solution, especially because it is not their cup of tea. If they accept the suggestion of the good secretary, they will surely lose heavily in the buy and sell of palay since they are not primed to do such function, but rather to render public service to their constituents. 

For one, the provincial governments don’t have the qualified personnel nor the needed wherewithal, i.e., warehouses and cargo trucks, etc. to perform their new added mandate.

Another important thing to consider is whether provincial governments have funds to buy the farmers’ produce. If they don’t, they will need to apply for loans from Land Bank, assuming they will be authorized by respective Sanggunian. But by the time they get it, the rice harvest season would already be over.

I also don’t think they have the legal basis to engage in the business of buying palay. Will the Commission on Audit allow it? I don’t think so.  And it’s very unlikely that provincial governors will borrow millions from banks for that purpose alone.

Dar’s proposition is a typical “shot from the hip solution” and a knee-jerk reaction to the problem.  A better solution is to put more money in the hands of the NFA so that it can buy more palay from farmers at a more respectable level of P17, while the provincial governments provides the needed technical assistance. 

NFA has the right people to undertake palay buying operations and the warehouses where the palay can be properly stored, provincial governments don’t have both. If, as Mr. Dar argued, NFA has only P7 billion to buy only 450,000 metric tons of palay, then he should argue his case before Congress and ask for a supplemental budget. 

He’s wishing for the moon, if he thinks the provincial governments will buy his suggestion.

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The grapevine is abuzz with rumors that one of the main reasons why Dagupan fell from itsNo. 21 ranking in 2018 to No. 45 in this year’s Batang Pinoy national championship, it’s because only non-sports officials accompanied the city’s delegation to Palawan.

I was informed that those who accompanied the Dagupan team were Executive Assistant Beep-Beep Tan and former Councilor Alfie Fernandez (who I presume is now a consultant in the office of Mayor Brian Lim), who reportedly subbed for his son Carlo Alipio Fernandez, the new sports commissioner and vice chairman of the Dagupan City Sports and Development Council, who was not available at that time.

Many are asking whether a father can sub for his son and whether a mere consultant can legally represent the city in that meet.   

Team Pangasinan was luckier. They were accompanied to Puerto Princesa by Modesto Operaña, executive director of the Pangasinan Sports Development and Management Council and his able assistant, Marlon Domalanta.

By the way, Team Pangasinan finished sixth in the overall standing, a bit lower than its fifth-place ranking last year owing to the cancellation of one event–the road race in cycling, a race of which its cyclists were the heavy favorites to win. 

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At the hearing of the proposed ordinance of Councilors Lino Fernandez and Joey Tamayo seeking to authorize the accreditation of two or more Dagupan bangus dealers, a woman bangus retailer from Barangay Pantal, Ana Ferrer, stood up and affirmed that while she is selling Dagupan bangus, the vendor next to her would be as selling Bulacan bangus, validating information about the entry of alien bangus daily entering the Dagupan City in bulk.

Fishpond operators and bangus growers led by former Pantal Barangay Captain Liling Yasar deplored the uncontrolled delivery of the Bulacan bangus to the city, which Yasar said, is pulling down the price of the Dagupan bangus. 

She warned that in 10 years, if the flood of alien bangus in the city will not be stopped, there will be no more Dagupan bangus to be sold as growers will already stop producing the commodity.

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