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El Nino can be beaten.

The MB editorial last Thursday refers to our country as "the biggest importer of rice in the world, one record we are not proud of." The editorial quotes the statistics of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that our government imported 1.7 metric tons of rice in 2014 and 937,000 metric tons in 2015. Before the year ends, 250,000 more tons of rice will be delivered to us to fill any shortage caused by the long drought.


Our top officials in charge of agriculture and irrigation are scared stiff by El NiAaAaAeA~o, two words which our ASEAN neighbors don't give damn about. Don't we have rivers and waterfalls in the big islands? We have not heard comments about El NiAaAaAeA~o from Thailand, Vietnam, Myanma Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia.


If El NiAaAaAeA~o means long dry season, there's only one way to fight i Let's build more dams and store rain to feed irrigation canals. Let our irrigation engineers make plans to store water from rivers and all forms of waterways in lieu of letting precious water go to waste or flow to the sea.


Let the irrigation agency do the thinking of how to desilt irrigation canals and make them efficient. Narrow and shallow canals tend to overflow and bypass farmlands for rice and other crops. Maintenance of our irrigation systems is a full-time job that badly needs full attention of young engineers, who don't visit cockpits and beer houses at their pleasure. The old irrigation administrators who cannot face El NiAaAaAeA~o with determinati should be asked to retire.


We have state colleges teaching agriculture all over the country. In UP Los BaAaAaAeA~os, only students from Thailand years ago applied what th learned here by creating extra-sweet lanzones, tamarind, and durian. Lanzones from Thailand can be bought at the malls for P550 to P650 per kg. Our baskets of lanzones from Mindanao are displayed on sidewalks with price tags of P90 to P130 per kg. The Thai students in Los BaAaAaAeA~o according to their professors, spoke pidgin English, but they were interested and punctual in their studies.


Our rain forests that can protect the soil and conserve water are logged illegally and thoroughly but high officials in the provinces and towns keep telling us that only a few illegal loggers can be found today in the deep forest.


The easiest violators to catch/arrest are the illegal tree cutters. They use noisy tools people can hear some five to seven km away on a peaceful night. And the first to hear big chainsaws are the barangay officials living near the forest.

Sound is measured in decibels and chainsaw creates a sound equivalent to 100 decibels which can be heard at night by the mayor, chief of police, and the boys in beerhouses.


Anything that can make irrigation canals flow fast to reach the ricefields is known to our agriculture and irrigation officials. And why are they scared of El NiAaAaAeA~o? They have all the technology and tools to fig the long drought.

Moving them to do it NOW is our big problem. (Comments are welcome at


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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Oct 16, 2015
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