Ignorant and pompous

By: Reyshimar Arguelles

Modern democracy is a peculiar thing, a machine that guzzles nonsense nectar and spews out the most horrible scum you will ever see wearing suits and gowns. Because underneath the civility that our lawmakers show thrives a tyrannical disposition that is sure to doom us all. We can attribute this demise to a lack of a learning curve.

Elections are supposed to show us that we can do better than elect people who stand on flimsy platforms and do nothing but maintain the conditions of subservience in society. But we keep on making the same mistakes over and over again because we’re not taking these conditions seriously. We should’ve known better than to elect another Marcos to the Senate or allow a convicted lawmaker budots his way back into national politics.

What’s worse is that we let the most ignorant and pompous fraudsters to control our food supply and starve our farmers to death.

And amidst all this talk about farmers earning only scraps for their harvests, one senator was ignorant and pompous enough to pin the blame on farmers’ lack of education and the regulations that are supposed to protect them from the influx of imported rice.

Of course, we wouldn’t be in this mess in our food security if it weren’t for the unfavorable trade deals we have entered into with the World Trade Organization. For Senator Cynthia Villar, it’s these deals that formed the basis of the controversial Rice Tariffication Law requiring the country to open its doors to foreign rice. Agrarian reform and farmers’ advocates would later point out that this would lead to a reduction of the price of palay to P7 per kilo in provinces like Mindoro Occidental.

Villar refuses to acknowledge this and stands by the law which she authored. She points out that the country needs to comply with its WTO obligations. At the same time, she assures us that palay prices won’t go lower than seven measly pesos.

For someone who has a net worth of over P3.6 billion, farmers’ incomes are only figures on a PowerPoint presentation that does nothing to illustrate the plight of this struggling sector. According to the Phililppine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, farmers have lost P95 billion in income due to the law. But the best that Villar and other proponents of the law could do was throw P10 billion in the hope of increasing the competitiveness of local farmers.

There are other more viable means that this administration and its cohorts could have done more than their predecessors in protecting the nation’s vital sector. They could’ve taken the high road and insisted on scrapping these deals the way President Duterte lambasted the International Criminal Court for infringing on the country’s sovereignty. They could’ve flexed enough national muscle to protect local farmers from sinking under surplus rice that would spell doom for our hard-working farmers.

But it’s only clear that food security has never been a part of this administration’s agenda. It only aims to sustain its own legitimacy through band-aid solutions that never amount to a radical panacea that uplifts the lives of those who were pushed to the sides. And people wonder why farmers are being drawn into insurgent causes.

When you’re put into power through the democratic process, you’re expected to act in accordance with the interest of the public. Of course, this is your way of giving back to those who have placed you in your position. But it’s not the case when you pursue certain agendas that run counter to public expectations.

There’s no way we can rely on people who we all know are not sincere enough to pursue the common good. Instead, they work towards what is personally good to them.

In hindsight, we could’ve prevented this travesty from happening if the electoral process doesn’t mindlessly revolve around name-recall, PR, and all other BS that treat people as statistics.