A disempowered people-A A +A
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
ON the country?s resources, be natural or financial, three questions must now be asked: Who profits? Who decides? Who controls?
We can categorically answer that in the Philippines, it is never the people but only a few elite, the ruling class, the landlords, the TNCs, the cartels, the conglomerates, the monopolies and if I may add, the most recent – some legislators.
Poverty is rooted, not in the lack of resources but in the powerlessness of the people to have access and control over their resources which are fast slipping through their fingers. That?s what development experts say. That?s what the people perceive now in the light of the pork barrel scams.
Look at Mindanao, so rich yet so poor. While the island oozes with ecological resources, poverty is glaring in the life of the peasants who must till the land not their own. And if they do, they are victims to a mode of production and marketing system that they do not control. The farmers have been ?robbed? of farming, using seeds and technologies which are not within their control but by big agri-business corporations.
Feel the pains of our indigenous people. They have lived sustainably in the forest ecosystem for thousands of years but now the 17 million of dipterocarp forest are almost gone and so are their ?pharmacies,? their ?marketplace,? notwithstanding that the forests are our invisible water dams, soil protector, climate regulator, carbon sink and ?homes? to billions of flora and fauna many of which are found only in the Philippines.
Now, what we have are ecological disasters for massacring the trees and all life forms (the mega diversity) that once dwelt in the forest.
After losing the forest, there is now a tremendous pressure on land as these are now heavily ?commercialized? by newly entrants TNCs converting the land into massive plantations for bio-fuel, to the detriment of our ?lumads? who all these years are rendered powerless.
The Philippine environment is a sad tale of ecological tragedy characterized by massive conspiracy perpetuated by interest groups with their cabal of vested interest who profits, who decides and who controls the resources.
Study the sad plight of the member-consumers of so-called Electric Cooperatives which carry ?cooperative? as a nomenclature but have never adhered to the time-honored and universally accepted cooperative principles. It is about time to rectify a social flaw, to empower the nine million member-consumers whose consolidated capital contributions have reached a gargantuan amount of some one hundred billion pesos but these capital shares are still to be recognized as such after all these years.
How about our ordinary consumers? How powerless they are as they are consuming what they are not producing! Yes, our country has become a dumping ground of finished products and cheap source of raw materials. It is a pity that everything sold in this country, from needle to tractor, passes at least five marketing layers so that a P20-medicine bought in India is sold here at P120; a bag of ammonium sulfate bought in Ukraine at P200 is sold in Mindanao at P1,500.
How powerless our people have become, hardly benefitting from so called development, like sparrows picking on what have already passed the digestive system of ?sacred cows!?
Today, the people are serving notice to one and all that they have awakened. Enough is enough. They will not allow any more poverty to reign in this beautiful, resource-rich but poverty-stricken country. They will now give credence to the constitutional mandate that ?sovereignty resides in the people and all government authorities emanate from them.? Only then can they be unfettered from the vicious cycle of poverty and craft their own destiny.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 28, 2013.