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Opinion

Priority: agriculture

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

President-elect Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, a.k.a. Bongbong, is taking over the post of agriculture secretary in a concurrent capacity, pending the appointment of a capable individual for the position.

There are two possible reasons behind Bongbong appointing himself to the agriculture portfolio: 1) He wants to bring down the price of rice to P20 per kilo and 2) fulfill his campaign promise to make food security his top priority.

Bongbong’s father, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, gave top priority to food production so much so that the country had such an abundant rice harvest that the excess supply was exported. This was in the late 1970s, during the tenure of Arturo Tanco Jr. in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The elder Marcos’ brilliant “Masagana 99” project, which gave low-interest, no-collateral loans to rice farmers, achieved his martial law government’s target of having a yield of 99 cavans of rice per hectare even on non-irrigated ricelands. For a while.

The project was successful until farmers reneged on their loan obligation.

The loan was for each farmer to buy agricultural equipment such as a hand-held tractor and agricultural inputs like fertilizer and seeds.

Alas, most farmers, not used to having so much money in their hands, spent the loan on sabong (cockfights) and other forms of gambling, home appliances like refrigerators and tricycles; not for what the loan was intended for!

For Bongbong Marcos to make good on his promise of bringing down the price of rice to P20 per kilo, I suggest he appoints as his undersecretary Henry Lim Bon Liong, a billionaire businessman-farmer.

Lim Bon Liong may help Bongbong fulfill his promise of P20 per kilo of rice and achieve food security for the country.

Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., has achieved a yield of 300 cavans – repeat, 300 cavans! – of rice per hectare in his farmland in Nueva Ecija.

Because he is into food security, Henry knows the mechanics of bringing down the prices of vegetables and meat products.

President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte offered Lim Bon Liong the agricultural portfolio, but he turned it down, saying there were more qualified individuals for the post.

If Henry still rejects the offer of a position in the Department of Agriculture, Bongbong should call on his sense of patriotism.

The country needs a person of Lim Bon Liong’s caliber at the agriculture department in these critical times.

*      *      *

Army Capt. Martin Anosa Jr. shot dead his superior officer, Maj. Garry Masedman, and then committed suicide inside a military camp in Pili, Camarines Sur.

Both were assigned with the Army’s 5th Finance Service Field Office (FSFO).

Sgt. Manuelo Colico, also of the FSFO, was shot and wounded but was reported in stable condition.

Initial reports said Anosa and his unnamed girlfriend quarreled before the shooting incident.

During the heated argument the woman ran to Masedman to seek help.

Running behind the woman, Anosa shot Masedman and Colico.

I can venture a guess at the reason for the quarrel between Anosa and his girlfriend, and why Masedman was shot dead by his lower-ranking officer: jealousy.

There’s a jocular injunction in the military that was probably violated by the victim: Never monkey around with another monkey’s monkey, especially if the other monkey is your superior or subordinate.

Reports of subordinate officers shooting their superiors and vice versa, or foot soldiers shooting their officers over a woman have become common.

Having an affair with a fellow soldier’s wife or girlfriend is considered the height of disrespect in this country where machismo is valued more than anything else.

The dictionary defines machismo as a strong sense of masculine pride. This overriding sense of male pride is common among Latin countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Spain handed down machismo in countries it once colonized, like the Philippines and Mexico, among others.

Machismo is so strong in this country that if a husband caught his wife having sex with another man, he could kill both of them; under the law, the husband would just get off with a light penalty.

Years ago, an Army captain trailed his wife, who was working in a casino, to a motel in Pasig. He pumped several bullets into his wife and her lover, a fellow casino worker. The captain was not convicted.

*      *      *

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has appointed a new general manager, retired police general Anselmo Pinili, according to the PCSO.

The PCSO said Pinili replaced Royina Garma, a retired police colonel, who “resigned.”

But inside sources told this columnist Garma did not resign but was fired.

Garma, who was once assigned in Davao City, and then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte were close. Very close.

Garma’s appointment to a very lucrative PCSO post raised eyebrows among those in the know.

Anyway, firing Garma came too late as there will be another set of PCSO officials in the incoming administration which takes over on June 30.

*      *      *

Security guard Christian Floralde has forgiven Jose Antonio Sanvicente, the driver of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) that bumped and ran over him, and then abandoned him lying on the pavement on June 5 at the premises of a mall in Mandaluyong.

However, Floralde said he would still pursue the criminal cases of frustrated murder and abandonment of one’s own victim.

Forgive Sanvicente but still pursue the criminal charges against him?

Sinong niloloko mo (Who are you trying to fool), Floralde?

*      *      *

Joke! Joke! Joke!

Wife: Look at that drunk guy.

Husband: Who is he?

Wife: 10 years back he proposed to me, and I rejected him.

Husband: Oh, my God! He’s still celebrating.

AGRICULTURE

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