PBBM: There is a famous definition by an old politician which says that Politics is addition and not subtraction. I say Politics is the Art of Balancing to benefit most if not all. This is what I tried to do during my dialogue with Pampanga LGUs and Leaders.
KA MON: You are right, Sir. But still you have an issue handing after solving the issue of the NLEX flooding by just increasing the height of the San Simon bridge. The more urgent issue here is how to replant the 2,000 hectares Candaba swamp rice area. One of the female leader even threatened to walk out-of the meeting if the plan to make a water impounding in the area will push through to which you deferred to approved. The issue was they will not allow the farmers to lost their livelihood in the area. But there is a far greater issue than this. And as you said "let's not play politics here, no one is favored.
PBBM: Yes. I did not yet approve the plan. But I said my piece that the water impounding of 200 hectares area on the upper Candaba like our technocrats say is just 10 percent of the total area. However, I said that if there is a decision, it will not be a political decision. It is nature that will decide for us and that we promised to give the displaced farmers another areas and for those below the water impounding to have enough water to even plant three times a year.
KA MON: It sounds like it is a plausible idea. But where can you relocate 200 or more families? That should have been their question to you.
And it would have been a "a hard nut to crack"
PBBM: Ka Mon, why are you saying that?
KA MON: Sir, I say that because you always seem to miss the point that you even threatened to resign as Secretary of Agriculture.
In the first place your meetings and your LGUs are always looking at fixing the infrastructure... instead of fixing the lives of the farmers that were adversely affected by typhoons in the area not only once but twice or many times over. It was not only the rice farmers that were affected but also the vegetable farmers hence the increase in price of vegetables.
PBBM: OK. What then is the solution?
KA MON: First I will identify for you the real and bigger problem.
PBBM: Wait! Why is it that you always seem to look at my problems differently? I am the President and I am fed all the information needed by my technocrats and intelligence wherever I go. What makes you so special anyway? Your are not God!
KA MON: Mr. PRESIDENT. Pls do not be peeved. And I am not God. I am just a farmer. And if you had farmer representative (real farmer, not just their leaders who has the tendency to grandstand in front of high officials like you) he would be telling you what I intend to tell you now?
PBBM: OK, Ka Mon, Bring it on!
KA MON: The real problem now is how to help the 6,000 farm families whose lives depended on the richness of the Candaba swamp. That is why they remain In the area despite yearly floods except the latest ones that totally destroyed their crops and only livelihood. You were talking of giving them new seeds to plant and even jokingly said that because you could no longer distinguish now whether the area is now under wet or dry season. One would not know whether to give them hybrid or certified seeds.
PBBM: Yes, and what about the some 200 hundred families that will be displace if we started water impounding?
KA MON: Let's solve their problem later. Let's first accept the fact that you must NOW do something about the 1,800 hectares that needs to be replanted and not wait for another season.
PBBM: OK. I will agree to that as the first problem? What now?
KA MON: First you must hire and mobilize one unemployed License Agriculturists for every 100 hectares. Using the BROADCAST SEEDING ON FLOODED FIELDS TECHNOLOGY (developed by my friend, Ka Sonny since 50 years ago and started it on Masantol, Pampanga for which reason you now see the Candaba rice fields to be direct seeded every year) the Agriculturist can easily plant his assigned area in just 10 days at 10 hectares planting every day. This is so that in 100 days, the first 10 hectares should be ready to harvest that should now be considered a 1,000 hectares module with its own dryer, silo and rice mill to contribute to our food security and so with the succeeding modules. This is called GET SMART FarmS as I have written earlier and featured in the YouTube for your viewing. This way in 180 days you would have planted the 1800 hectares. Now each module has a harvestable area of 30 hectares in a three day typhoon, double this area can be covered by crop insurance covering the cost of replanting and the incomes of the participating farmers under a "social engineering" (developed by the group) that will be introduced.
PBBM: OK I buy that! What about the FARMERS in the 200 hectares?
KA MON: Well Sir! We will convert them into a Work Brigade with regional wage to now contract the earth dams that will now be your water impounding with tractors that has attachments for earth moving that will now form a tractor pool to contract the plowing of adjoining fields in lower Candaba as common service facilities. Once the 200 hectares water impounding is stable they can now go back to their farms or organize a farmers corporation to do planting using FLOATING RICE TECHNOLOGY and continuously plant the water impounding area as a corporate farm getting a share of 30 percent on the production prorated that will now be their main source of income other than providing labor to their own corporate farm. This way they can get back to their livelihood with no family being displaced.
PBBM: OK. So where do I start with this ingenious plan?
KA MON: Sir, again, as I always said in my previous columns of providing solutions to your problems as Secretary of Agriculture, "read my lips".
The problem as always is you do not listen to us your small farmers or even invite us in your public consultations more so in your dialogues which they are willing to attend if invited and consulted upon.
(NOTE: This column is published in the OpinYon.net every week)
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