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Oil, Food and Weapons

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The continuing protests in the Middle East are causing instability in the price of oil. It has tremendous impact on the economies of many states and the daily lives of many individuals. The Philippines is deeply affected by the continuous rise of oil prices. There have been three increases in the last thirty days. As oil price increases, the necessary corollary is the increase in prices of other products and the fare of public utility vehicles considering the rise in the cost of transport and logistics.

We must tremble if the protests spread to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A largely Shiite group has started it in the eastern province of the kingdom. If the protests spread and turn violent, then the country and the world will have a perfect nightmare. Imagine a scenario of evacuating 1.8 million overseas Filipino workers (source: Department of Labor and Employment) and a massive escalation in the price of oil prices.

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The rise in oil prices will impact on the price of food products. Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, chairman of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, said the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries (COCAFM), is raising awareness on the matter. Last March 7 2011, he convened his committee to look at the food security of the country. He raised the possibility of stockpiling rice in the event of the eruption of a global crisis. There has to be more conversations on the matter among the high officials of government.

When Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala assumed office in July, he committed to make the Philippines self-reliant on its rice supply and not continue on importing from other states within three years. It will be interesting to find out what actions has been taken by the DA in delivering on such a spectacular commitment.

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The February 28, 2011 issue of Fortune Magazine reveals in its cover story that the hottest export of the United States of America is weapons. Most of these weapons are sold to countries in the Middle East. Surprisingly, it is American President Barack Obama that is the leading advocate of these deals.

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Congratulations to Sulu Governor Sakur Tan and DA Secretary Alcala for the successful groundbreaking of the Thirty Million pesos fish-port facility in Maimbung, Sulu that will be funded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The project will spur the livelihood opportunities of the many residents of Jolo Island.

For questions and comments, please email writer at ebaddiri@gmail.com




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