• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

IF your vote is for a wrong leader whose vision of the future is only up to the next election, then you are voting to put society in disarray.

But voting is not just done during elections or in choosing who should lead us; in fact, you cast your vote every time you buy as you choose from different economic alternatives, i.e., local versus foreign, sustainable versus unsustainable, organic versus inorganic, the essentials versus junks.

Buying between local or foreign products, the latter has been winning in all fronts as Filipino consumers are overwhelmingly choosing foreign products. Truth is, when you buy products from other countries, you are supporting the labor force and the economies of those countries where the products are coming from. That is the reason why our country has been consigned as dumping ground of finished products and as cheap source of the raw materials following an extractive economy. That is why there are 3,000 Filipino workers jumping in droves every month (like jumping from a “sinking ship”), leaving their love ones behind just to find jobs in other countries.

Yes, we are consuming what we are not producing. That speaks well of a captive mind, an offshoot of the bombardment of advertisements by global corporations. We have good nutritious dairy products from our dairy cooperatives, for example, yet many are still opting to buy milk from China even tainted with melamine

Do you know that our country has been importing some 250 million bulbs yearly from China made partly of plastics and mercury which have to be replaced twice a year when in fact we are manufacturing here in the Philippines bulbs which are climate change sensitive, ecologically-friendly without any plastic or mercury and do not heat up and with a life-span of more than five years? And these bulbs called RYTELIGHT are even cheaper in price and if used, your electric bill will be lowered by 60%? Most importantly, no mercury.  Beware of mercury. The presence of one teaspoonful of mercury in a bay will make the fish not eatable as it can cause cancer.

Let us be mindful of the fact that a country that is consuming what it is not producing will always be penalized by slow growth.

Buying between organic and inorganic, the latter wins hands down. Consumers do not know that these inorganic products come from the massive practice of Conventional Agriculture which tied up to the heavy usage of chemicals. This Dominant agriculture paradigm has robbed farming communities of farming that is controlled by global corporations. That is the reason why everyone profits from farming like fertilizer dealers, HYVs agri-corporations, compradors, usurers but not those who are doing the back-breaking job of farming – the poor farmers.

Buying organic means that we don’t have to import massively chemicals that have already done so much harm to the integrity of the eco-systems and deaths due to cancer. Buying organic means lowering production cost by way of our farmers trusting in the innate processes of nature and saving beneficial insects which are now nowhere to be found. It also means saving our water-tables from being polluted through the massive use of toxic non-biodegradable chemicals.

Buying between the essentials or the non-essentials or junks, again the latter is now the order of the day. Consumers cannot escape from the massive ads of corporations which are giving high adherence to the neo-liberal capitalist system. Buy this, buy that to be happy. Creating so much want based on the money- must-grow principle; perpetuating a rotten economic system that use money to make more money but not to enhance the well-being of the people.

Yes, unbridled materialism and consumerism has characterized society’s way of life, even sacrificing Mother Earth that as if nature is inexhaustible.

Let us remember what Mahatma Gandhi had said several decades ago, “reduce your want and provide for your own needs,” and that “if mankind has to be saved from doom, development must be harmony with nature and not at its own expense.”

This time let us vote well: Buy Local, Buy what are essentials! And in doing so, you support the Filipino labor force, the Philippine economy and the livelihood of the poor. Let us debunk the dominant development paradigm that is now collapsing.

But as its last hurrah, like a giant-off-balance, it has to run so as not to fall. In doing so, that “giant” steps on communities and the eco-systems, leaving destructions on its path that impoverish the people and making ecological disasters the new normal.

Right voting and right life can only be pursued with a right development paradigm called cooperativism whose DNA is members-owned, value-based and sustainable. Let us harness the collective power of the people against poverty, social injustice, climate change and against corona virus pandemic!