ROUGH CUTS| One funny, even ironic, news

WE are starting to doubt the capability of the Netherlands-based leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to keep a handle on their ground forces who are doing the fighting here in the country.

Was it not that in the most recent round of peace negotiation the government peace panel and that of the rebels were supposed to have agreed in principle the crafting of the mechanics for the declaration of a bilateral ceasefire? And as such both the government and rebel forces are advised to avoid unnecessary armed clashes?

So, how come the rebels are still conducting raids on some military installations, the latest of which was the one they did on the patrol base of the 67th Infantry Battalion at the vicinity of Aliwagwag falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental?

We do not think the Communist top guys like Jose Ma. Sison, former priest Luis Jalandoni, and Fidel Agcaoili are not sporting cellular or even satellite phones that they can use in communicating with their various field commanders on the agreements initially entered into by them with their government counterparts.

From where we are perched we view these attacks as manifestation of either insincerity on the part of the rebels, or the inability of the Communist rebellion leaders to communicate with their forces on the ground and put handles in their field commanders.

We are still hoping though that something can be done about this seeming lack of respect of the ground forces to the outcome of the preliminary talks. Letting things like raiding a patrol base just pass off as “isolated cases” could derail whatever gains acquired in the resumed peace talks.


And here is this quite funny news that we heard over the broadcast media and read in local newspapers: Davao City’s rice supply will be augmented with about a hundred thousand bags coming from Region VII. The news item quoted Davao’s National Food Authority (NFA) provincial manager as the source of the information.

Before hand, it is noteworthy to know that Region VII is Central Visayas, and this covers the Provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental, and of course the cities, both chartered and component, within them.

Of the four provinces, we know that only Bohol has a substantial area being farmed and planted to rice. Negros Oriental has a little, Cebu hardly an area devoted to rice, and Siquijor, perhaps not a single hectare.

What about Davao City? Yes, the land area planted to rice which was substantial in the late 60s and early 70s are now being devoured by residential subdivisions and commercial infrastructures. Its neighboring provinces too, have given up their once lush rice lands to sprawling export banana plantations. In other words, it could not be denied that rice harvest these days in the Davao Region is much lesser than what it used to be in the 60s and 70s.

But compared with the rice output of Central Visayas provinces, the harvest in this Southern Mindanao Region could still be much bigger than that of Region VII.

So, how come that the NFA provincial official is now talking of augmenting Davao City’s rice supply with grains coming from Central Visayas? Is it not ironic that a city, once a part of the rice granary of Mindanao, finds itself sourcing additional supply of the cereal from a non-producing region?

Or, is the NFA in Davao out to patronize what could possibly be part of the regularly smuggled rice from countries like Vietnam and Thailand or Burma usually landed in some Cebu ports?

Whatever it is, perhaps it is about time that the Department of Agriculture, or the government in general for that matter, should start reviewing its policy on land use conversion. It must also look into the reason why rice farmer-landowners are abandoning their rice farming activities and instead lease their former rice lands to banana growers or sell them to real property developers.

We suspect that it is in this aspect that government intervention is most needed if only to minimize the reduction in the sizes of rice lands in the country.

Posted in Opinion