June 14, 2024

This near-sighted Ibaloy writer’s heart (and pride) sank a little lower upon reading an article published in the May 13, 2024 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled “PH still top rice importer.”
The article reads: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects the Philippines to keep its title as the world’s leading importer of rice, with shipments this year expected to increase to 4.1 million metric tons, 5.1 percent more than the 3.9 million brought in last year.”
I recall my late father, Atty. Gabriel Pawid Keith, former Benguet provincial administrator, telling me that just several decades ago, agriculture experts from neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand came to the country specifically at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna, to learn the latest on rice production and technology.
What a difference several decades make! Now, these same countries (Thailand and Vietnam), if I’m not mistaken, produce so much high-quality rice, are rice secured, and are among the world’s top rice exporters.
And pitiful Philippines? Well, as mentioned above, we are the leading importer of the food staple. It seems that through the years, instead of producing rice, we have been producing greedy political dynasties who continue to rule over our beautiful but pathetic Third World country.
Again, let me stress that despite my foreign-sounding name, I am a true-blue proud Pinoy and a full-blooded Ibaloy at that who only prays for the best for our beloved land and its long-suffering people (except those who belong to greedy political dynasties, of course).
I must admit though that in each succeeding year, it gets more difficult to keep the faith. Just saying. Love the Philippines!

City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has allayed fears that once modernized, the Summer Capital’s public market will be managed by a private group.
“There’s no truth na iyong market natin will be managed by a private group. The market will be managed and operated by the local government of Baguio. Klarong-klaro po iyan, walang mababago d’yan,” the mayor said.
He claimed persons spreading false information about the market modernization project are mostly individuals allegedly involved in illegal activities in the area that have been going on for decades like those who sub-lease their stall or stalls.
Magalong said the ongoing negotiations on the public market’s modernization is already around 90 percent complete.
“Hinihintay na lang natin ‘yung go signal from the PPP (Public-Private Parnership) Center. Halos compliant na lahat ‘yung mga dokumento. Hopefully by second or third quarter ay matapos na iyong negotiations so that we can already start,” Magalong said.
He added, “We are going to make sure that ‘pag naitayo iyong modernized market natin, it will be probably one of the best markets not only in the Philippines but also in Asia.”
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.