Editorial: Not only about poverty-A A +A
Saturday, September 7, 2013
IN THE ‘80s, farmers in some mountain barangays in Cebu City and neighboring Balamban town discovered the benefits of planting marijuana.
It wasn’t known who introduced the seeds to them but when the first plants were harvested, buyers and a network were already in place to jumpstart an illegal trade that still exists until now.
That was the time when the Transcentral Highway was still to be constructed and the idea of Balamban having a ship building facility wasn’t even talked about. Most of the farmers wallowed in poverty.
The practice of farmers in these areas was to plant corn for family consumption and to cultivate other agricultural products to be sold in the “tabo.” After harvest, the ears of corn were stored inside the house or in a separate hut, to be gradually consumed.
With the introduction of marijuana, the leaves were stored after harvest in place of the ears of corn. That was in the early days when law enforcers were not aggressive enough in going after marijuana planters.
You talk with a marijuana planter and they will tell you contrast. Before, they say, they bring our heavy agriculture produce to the “tabo” and return home bringing few consumer items. With marijuana, they bring few leaves to the “tabo” and go home with loads of consumer items.
The change in lifestyle was visible. Soon, houses with roofs of corrugated iron sheets replaced houses with roofs made of cogon.
We mention this because of the statement of Cordova town officials dismissing the idea that poverty motivated some residents there to set up cybersex dens and exposing their children to the “business.”
The reality is that the availability of livelihood opportunities like fishing and driving trisikads is no guarantee that people won’t engage in high-paying illicit activities. If the latter brings in oodles of money, then some people would consider taking the risk of arrest.
So curbing the proliferation of cybersex dens in Cordova is not only about providing families with livelihood opportunities. It’s also about helping them avail of these opportunities and nurture these. They need to be convinced of the viability of the undertaking.
And for those who persist in the illegal activity, aggressive law enforcement is the next best option.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 07, 2013.