Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Life As We (Don't) Know It

From the Reporter's Notebook:

Stolen Childhood: Tales and travails of the babymakers
  1. 14-15 year-old girls "hired" as babymakers mostly by foreigners
  2. Going rate: Php10,000 allowance per month if she gets pregnant, the "baby's father" will shoulder the cost delivery, a one time payment of Php40,000-60,000 (Note: The middleman gets Php4,000 from the Php10,000 allowance, which basically leaves almost nothing at all to the pregnant child.)

The Poorest of the Poor Can Sometimes Be Those Who Farm for a Living: On the Rice Shortage

  1. 400 out of 1,000 farmers in the Philippines earn Php14,000 only per year, a figure much lower than the poverty threshold.
  2. The current rice shortage just mirrors the true state of a neglected sector in our society...the agriculture sector.
  3. 40 years with no investments made on irrigation, no sound seed program, no water, no roads
  4. Another culprit in this state of affairs is the rampant land conversion. In 2007 alone, more than 1,000 hectares of farmlands and large portions of irrigated lands have been converted to factory areas, golf courses, subdivisions, etc.
  5. The Philippines is the biggest importer of rice in Asia, and the third biggest importer of rice in the world.
  6. An estimated 2.1 million tons of rice is expected to be imported this year. This will cost the government approximately 40 billion pesos because of the buy high sell low policy.
  7. The question: Why focus on importing rice instead of seeking genuine reforms that could ultimately lessen the financial impact on the government?

All these are bits and pieces of a bigger picture that we seldom really see. But once we see them, the images they depict in our minds are pictures we cannot truly escape.

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