Archive for the ‘History’ Category

In a golden era, people should be feasting on cakes and beef and not nutribuns and snail-meat. In the period of rice sufficiency, no one should be hungry with people being more at risk for diabetes rather than malnourishment.  But do you know that then-President Ferdinand E. Marcos introduced programs befitting a Third World Country during the times when the Philippines is considered to be at its “golden period” and economic peak?


Nutribun distribution program during the Marcos era. (Picture credit: Proud Bisaya page)

In May 1973, Marcos introduced the Masagana ’99 which goal is to produce 99 sacks of rice per hectare. The program was, in part, instrumental to the increase in yield especially with the introduction of the “miracle rice” developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) which rose from zero in 1965-66 to 81% in 1981-82 with average productivity increasing to 2.3 tons per hectare in non-irrigated farms and 2.8 tons per hectare on irrigated farms at the end of 1983.[1] This enabled the country to attain rice sufficiency and eventually export a small amount.[2] It should be stressed, however, that IRRI is not Masagana ’99, and the research institute is not an agency of the Philippine Government.


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In 1992, James Carville used the economy to catapult Bill Clinton in what is supposedly an uphill presidential battle against George Bush. The slogan “It’s the economy, stupid!” not only broke Bush’s approval rating but also sharply turned American opinion that from the 90% approval rating in 1991, the then US President was hammered with a disapproval rating of 64%. Intentionally, supporters of House Bill (HB) No. 4820 are also riding on the economy as a slogan to further push for the creation of a new province called Nueva Camarines out of Camarines Sur. But is the proposal to partition Camarines Sur really an issue based on “the economy, stupid!”?

One of the tarpaulins scattered in the different towns of CamSur

House Bill (HB) No. 4820 authored primarily by Partido Cong. Arnulfo Fuentebella seeks to create “a new province from the present Province of Camarines Sur to be known as the Province of Nueva Camarines consisting of the City of Iriga and the municipalities of Baao, Balatan, Bato, Buhi, Bula, Caramoan, Garchitorena, Goa, Lagonoy, Nabua, Presentacion, Sagñay, San Jose, Siruma, Tigaon and Tinambac.”

As of this writing, the bill is at the Senate Committee on Local Government headed by Senator Bongbong Marcos after passing the Lower House at a vote of 229 to 1 with Rinconada Congressman Salvio Fortuno as the lone dissenter.

Bukag, Buwag and the Article’s Latag

The proposal to partition Camarines Sur is already bearing fruit. Even before any plebiscite is held, HB No. 4820 is already dividing not only the politicians in the province but also families especially those living in the Partido and Rinconada areas. It really stirred (bukag) the people that the debate which should focus on the merits of the partition has shifted to “the political versus the economic” debate and digressed further to ad hominem.


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Aksyon agad!

Sometime ago, I conducted an orientation of enumerators for a survey. Right after the orientation, some of the participants were so eager to have an action so they asked permission to start the fieldwork. The rest, especially those who have experiences in conducting surveys, laughed at the eager ones and said, “Na-internalize niyo ba ang orientation? Baka pagdating sa actual work matameme kayo?”

Of course, there were friendly exchanges until one quipped, “Tama na ang satsat. Aksyon agad!” I agreed and for a demonstration, asked the less experienced yet aggressive ones to do the interviews. After a round or two we had an assessment and they said, “Mahirap pala. Pilosopo pa ang na-interview ko”.

Conducting a survey is dealing with people. Hence, first, it means strategizing: How should you approach the respondents? Second, it is marketing: Why would your chosen respondent answer you if they see no gains in return? Third, it is building relationships: Why would the respondents trust you for the information that they will share? Many would think that the information-generation and analysis are the more important ones but for me, these only come later.

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