Letters to the Editor

Supply manipulation

The Philippine Star

Our supply problem on basic commodities is largely manipulated. Demand has been heightened, no doubt, by 1.5- to 2-percent annual population increase which impinge on supply, but our agricultural farms used to produce enough rice, pork and sugar without importation. And yet in off-seasons, supply always falls short and causes spiralling inflation. Most of the work of the DTI personnel have been incessant price-watching over these basic commodities.

Ridiculous to think why the seasonality of production has not been addressed all these years. Or, why a country with agricultural land aplenty can’t produce enough supply of basic food items for its people.

A few things might shed light: 1) Lack of planting, harvest, milling and transport facilities have been a subject of perennial debates in Congress, yet nothing significant seems to come out of all the noise. I remember Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the committee on agriculture, fuming in frustration at a hearing that budgets for rice post-harvest facilities, designed to be within reach of small farmers, were diverted to other purposes.

2) Meat (pork) production, which is germane to our agricultural farms, always falls short of supply in the “-ber” months, suspiciously toward the busy Christmas season. Why isn’t the shortage problem ever addressed with matching supply planning ahead of time?

Supply is clearly being manipulated by middlemen, capitalizing on the bureaucratic weakness and the lack of government resolve, so that artificial shortage takes place and, conveniently, importation becomes urgent that special laws are fast-tracked to lower tariffs. How many pockets get lined in the process?

Authorities are just wasting time enforcing price control measures because the root cause, corruption, is systemic and entrenched and will never go away until the government resolves to cut it out and produce enough of our basic needs, no matter how long it takes.

With President Marcos zeroing in on agriculture, we might finally see the end of this vicious cycle of bare-faced manipulation of food supply.  – Marvel K. TAN, CPA, [email protected]


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