Thursday, March 23, 2017


In the early 1980s under the Masagana 99 and Green Revolution programs of the Philippine government, farmers and fishermen were given support from seeds to post-harvest facilities in the countryside that was felt even in the post-conflicted territories in Mindanao.

We were among the recuperating masses and neither part of the Marcos cronies nor Aquino loyalists.

Putting things in their contexts, after the disastrous wars in the 1970s during the Martial Law---that claimed more than 120, 000 lives---that ended in the ceasefire following the signing of the Tripoli Libya Agreement in 1976, we were apolitical to the best of our abilities. 

The diverse communities in Mindanao-focused on livelihood and shared the agricultural prosperity in the periphery. The barter system economy was popular, later on, badly politicized and destroyed by the greedy oligarchs in Southern Philippines and beyond.

The once upon a time called the Pearl of the Orient” was renown for agriculture not only because of the institutions like UP-Los Banos and the International Rice Research Institute, (IRRI) but because of the huge agriculture-based human capital that gained the respect of the world.

For lack of technical know-how in modern farming and understanding of the farming environment and systems, most of these farmers incurred losses at the outset---notwithstanding govt support. In less than 2 years, the massive exportation of agriculture and aquaculture followed that helped sustained our economy notwithstanding the globally politicized political economy. 

With my father as a rice farmer and fishpond enthusiast-turned agripreneur, I have rich actual experiences on these ups and downs being the eldest in the family of seven siblings. On top of being the eldest grandson of the marriage alliance of the two big clans in Western Mindanao (old Region IX) and Central Mindanao (old Region XII).

Due to policy discontinuity? 

On fishpond and aquaculture, some Japanese & Taiwanese experts partnered with the locals. It was indeed a success. We were among those farming families with success stories to tell up until the EDSA revolution---when everything Marcos in terms of policies and programs and in most part in names either direct or by inducement---were discontinued. 

The rice farmers suffered and the fishpond (modern at that time blended with environmental-friendly indigenous knowledge) died in its natural death. 

We used to shield our fishponds with bakawan or bakhaw tress plus the tallest grass (bamboos) for farming materials and biodiversity---resilient plants that could withstand environmental challenges, and the rest is history. 


The agriculture & environment systems approaches were abandoned due to the post-EDSA policy of subdividing Ministry of Agriculture into several departments and bureaus that led to the choking of the fishes with water lilies in the Manila-centric so-called experts perceived counter-productive ponds & farms in Mindanao---later on convenient for land titling by the new-born oligarchs of Mindanao courtesy of the ignorance of the natives of the Torrens Titling System that was in full scale. 

Philippine exports of cultured prawns and high-value fishes to Japan, Taiwan markets to the rest of the world, gone---choking fishes with water lilies and hybrid kangkongs named Imelda---in the mostly land grabbed lands perfect for inclusive and; sustainable agricultural environment. 

At hindsight, it must be in the family FAMILY NAMES Marcos vs. Aquino---that Filipino farmers & Fishermen suffered in the post-EDSA Philippines.

In foresight, it is about time that my unpopular experience as a son of an ordinary Muslim farmer who survived the trails of Mindanao---and with descendants who chose education as against the barrels of the gun, notwithstanding adversities.

 With the fervent hope that our challenges and prospects in life be part of the narratives of the Philippine in the quest for lasting peace and inclusive development.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On President Duterte's Handling of the Philippine-China Relations

Considering Philippine national interests, putting down the Rodrigo Roa Duterte leadership stance and some Filipino scholars on the Philippine-China relations---to the point of questioning their intellectual capability, being backward and a loser mindset---is uncalled for.

I personally do not believe that the mindset of a president who for the first time in history optimized a high octane power politics in the post-EDSA Philippines is at all backward and a loser---but a big WINNER in the realm of geopolitics.

Precisely, a mindset of a winner that did not solely optimize military arsenals to WIN!

Following the line of contention of a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy---as he claimed further to have passed his military history with flying colors--- who had been mentioning four countries that he considered having WINNER mindsets, here are some historical and socio-economic foundations of their WINNING as juxtaposed to the Philippine context prior to the presidency of Mayor Digong Duterte.

Singapore was not recognized by the world because of their military prowess. In reading, also consider the "context specificity "that I had been telling my some Filipino citizens all along. For instance, Israel became military known because their economic activities that led to their controlling of the economies of the US and Europe, hence their military sophistication.

The US became what she is today militarily because of their post-war dominance in the arms race following the payment of the reparation for damages and their economic exploitation of the Philippines---their first and only colony in Asia.

China was already the "celestial empire" even two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ---may peace be upon him. She became complacent and known as the sleeping giant during the cold-war and now is awake following the economic paradigm shift by revising her constitution in 1981 that resulted in her rise economically and now politically.

In reading, it must be with comprehension ---tempered with context specificity. For instance, on Nick Joaquin's Filipino mindset of smallness---that was in the context of consciousness which was developed considering the 333 years of Spanish colonization, 50 years of American colonialism plus 70-year of neocolonialism, and 3 years of Japanese conquest is not applicable to the wide-read Filipino scholars like Dr. Clarita R. Carlos.

Hence, the introduction of the subjects in history and social sciences in all curricular offerings as a constitutional mandate to all academic institutions including the PMA to precisely liberate the Filipino people from the iota of ignorance towards inclusive development---that the government of the past failed to understand and connect.

The post-colonialist, postmodernist, and at the same time pragmatist President Rody Duterte---whose understanding of historiography, political science, and law is respectable as manifested by his act implementing to the spirit of the independence in Philippine foreign policy in accordance with Art 2, section 7 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

As a lifetime learner and passionate educator of history and civilization, politics and culture, socio-economic development, and geopolitics by choice and profession; I have the firm belief that the Philippines leadership will opt for MUTUALITY AND SHARED PROSPERITY through COLLECTIVE SECURITY.

The ASEAN framework is working and China will continously participate actively in the process, as it was in the past for peaceful co-existence. President Duterte's handling of the Philippine-China Relations in my modest analysis is rational---and in accordance with the Philippine national interests.