• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

Come senators, congressmen/ Please heed the call/Don’t stand in the doorway/Don’t block up the hall/For he that gets hurt/Will be he who has stalled/There’s a battle outside/And it is ragin’/It’ll soon shake your windows/And rattle your walls/For the times they are a changin’.”

These are some lines from the song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” popularized by Bob Dylan, an American folk singer, who together with anti-war activists spearheaded a movement to stop USA’s imperialistic engagement in Vietnam in the 60’s.  Who would believe that after 70 years, the song would still be very relevant, this  time however, it is one to remind our legislators to take heed the call of the people  to rectify social wrongs through responsive legislations

Yes, there is a battle out there and it is ragin’. In the global context, the battle is against COVID-19 which is sort of a wake-up call for humanity to debunk so much materialism and consumerism that has sacrificed mother earth and the people to the altar of greed and profit. Based on an Oxfam Study, humanity has become so enamored in the profit motive that has captured the mindset of all governments, all universities, all institutions and all religious groups. We are now in the cataclysmic stage of our existence and have to pause for a while to reflect on these realities.

In the Philippine context, that battle is not only against the pandemic but more on a war against dehumanizing poverty that is perpetuated by the culture of corruption and greed that no less than our beloved President has condemned to the highest degree, reinforced by the apathetic attitude of the people who are rendered powerless all these years.

That battle is now raging in the countryside against the corn farmers who are now painfully experiencing so much hunger and poverty as the price of corn has gone down to all time low.  Imagine, how could it be that during harvest time of corn, there is now the massive entry of cheap corn substitutes that has put the price of corn to all time low of P9 per kilogram.  How can the Filipino corn farmers cope up with that when they are producing corn at the tune of P11 per kilogram.

No less than the National President of PhilMaize, Roger Navarro put such truism in clear categorical term, to qoute:

“Corn farming in the country is challenged in so many fronts, but the greatest among them is the un-calibrated, uncontrolled importation of feed wheat and other corn substitute like DDGS (Distiller Dried Grains), cassava chips and pellets. The problem aggravates when all imports will arrive into the country and coincides with our local corn harvest. We submit in resignation that corn substitute importation has been going on ever since we signed with WTO, while corn was left out, restricted to export even when we are in the spirit of free and fair trade. This importation caused displacement of millions of corn farmers nationwide, destructing their livelihood, induced scarcity instead of abundance and prosperity.  Transforming the lives of the farmers as commodities, denied and refused to share equitably with the bounty of their harvest in order for them to create a meaningful livelihoods and well-being.”

That “battle” went on before when our country opened up  to rice tarrification as cheap rice was imported to the detriment of millions of our rice farmers.  How can our rice farmers compete with the outpourings of massive rice importation sold at only P10 per kilogram when rice in the Philippines is produced at P13 per kilogram? The culprit is that our farming is tied-up to conventional agriculture, heavily dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides while other countries have shifted to organic farming or sustainable agriculture.

Through COOPERATIVISM, there is now the dawning of a new day as the people are now undergoing a process of what is called  “conscientization,”  an awakening process where the people  have finally realized that social change cannot be had out of the “kindness” of the powers-that-be but only through their collective power, meaningful participation and continuing vigilance.

If social change cannot be had through legislation, then let us be reminded of a social warning that says, “when a few oligarchs will have much too much and the many who are poor have much too little, then, we might face circumstances horrible even to contemplate.”

Yes, “it will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a-changin.”  Believe me, social change is now hovering over the land towards a socially-equitable and ecologically sustainable kind of development where money will be used not to make more money but to enhance the well being of the people.