Monday August 20, 2018

Sangil: ‘Don’t give them fish, teach them how to fish’

I HAVE several businessmen friends from both Wednesday Club and Monday Club. The two groups meet regularly as their days suggest. In Monday Club, members are numbering to more than fifty. In the Wednesday Club, these gentlemen will answer the roll call: Jess Nicdao, president of Pampanga Chamber of Commerce, Renato De La Cruz, a furniture exporter and infrastructure contractor, lawyer Ernie De Vota, a retired Bureau of Internal Revenue director and currently a member of the board of Clark Development Corporation, Ferdie Beltran, a contractor and owner of Kings Royale and several business concerns, Chief Superintendent Guillor Eleazar, the current head of the PNP National Capital Region, Jaypee Bautista, a businessman from Urdaneta, Pangasinan, Joseph Policarpio, executive of R.D. Policarpio construction firm and former Bacolor mayor and currently provincial Board Member Jun Canlas.

Making up the Wed group are Manny Alfonso owner of Ribeye Restaurant, Martin Vitug, Flying V service station owner and presently general manager of a water district, Nash Tuazon, a contractor for RP-US balikatan projects, Rico Guilas, former ranking official of the Department of Public Works and now proprietor of Betis Best, a meat processing company, Rey Manalili a BIR revenue district official, Pete Retirado, a retired PNP officer, Ric Limjoco a multi-concern businessman based in Clark Freeport, Romy Pecson, former Magalang mayor and proprietor of ROELS food manufacturing and TJ Rodriguez, a former mayor of Capas, Tarlac and owner of Matam-ih Restaurant inside Clark Freeport.

The above gentlemen, aside from swapping jokes, drinking their choice of drinks and savoring delightful cuisine, they once in a while are drawn to serious topics such as politics, economy, geographical issues, etc. One topic that generated much argument was the seeming lack of a rational program of the Duterte government on agriculture. One member was arguing that government should focus more on alleviation program for the poor via agriculture and not on dole outs. As it was reported several times on national newspapers, government allocated P26 billion for unconditional cash transfer for the poor, a dole out for around 10 million families.

Why the dole out? Government could have channeled that to productive use like constructing more farm to markets roads, not farm to pocket roads, one of us quipped. It drew some laughter.

“You know my friends, please notice when you are driving up north the farms on the left and right of SCTEX and NLEX, and there is not single farm machinery which government could have bought and distribute to farmers via cooperatives,” I shot back. It’s about time that tools for machine farming be made available because the farmers’ sons are now mostly enrolled in state colleges. They seem to dislike farming unlike their fathers in the early years, I added.

Well the bottom line you don’t give people fish but teach them how to fish’ Martin Vitug said. Correctly said. Hasn’t somebody said you give man a fish, he will eat that day but teach him how to fish, he will eat forever.