Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Filipino Food and Fuel Freedom Initiative



Who can help but not pity this nation, its people and its future? So rich that hordes of foreign invaders have laid claim to its lands and shores for the past hundred years, yet so poor that its people have been “shanghaied” by the millions to work across the globe as modern indentured servants, with its government held hostage by debts and threats of economic destruction by the same foreign powers that hold the key to its oil, food and financial survival.

The greatest pity, above all, is that all these could have easily been thwarted, restoring the riches of this land to the nation in an instant if we only had a leadership able to say no to the mendicancy and timidity.

All through our written history, there has not been a time since the Madjapahit and Sri Vishayan periods that the people of these islands have become this pitiful and totally helpless against the corrosive vicissitudes of hostile external forces and events forced upon it.

Maybe our being at the center of the crisis has accentuated the self-pity; and it may have been as bad as or worse than the Second World War. Yet some old folks argue that life was better back then as the next town or barrio was never too far away, and food was never this expensive.

Today, the Philippines is totally helpless in the face of the manipulated global energy price crisis even as it sits on 10 gigawatts of geothermal and similar mini or large scale hydro-electric potential. What tragedy indeed!

We ask: Why not harness this 10-gigawatt-potential in light of our actual consumption of electricity totaling 12 gigawatts? Why aren’t our country’s so-called leaders tapping it, when this would free us from foreign energy dependence? Why not have this as our top priority and forget about other forms of energy that would still make us dependent on foreign suppliers, like nuclear energy generation which I totally support but only as a last resort given our geothermal and hydroelectric potential which this treasonous Angelo Reyes keeps harping on?

It’s worth noting that geothermal energy also bears the solution to the transport fuel problem. Iceland, for instance, uses glacial fjord hydro-electric power to catalyze water into hydrogen in huge conversion plants. The Philippines, in like manner, should use its geothermal electricity for transition into a hydrogen economy.

The other good news is that this is not the only promising “free” energy for us, as ocean wave power is of even much larger potential, seeing that our 7,100 islands are each a potential power plant. Imagine, thousands of power plants all over the country just waiting to be commissioned!

Biofuels are also an alternative, but not the ones derived from food such as corn. Uncontrollable algae and hyacinths hold tremendous promise in a tropical setting like ours.

Despite these, pseudo-environmentalists still champion solar and wind power that are exponentially more expensive than geothermal or hydro. Truly, there is no shortage of stupidity among their ranks!

Meanwhile, another important point underscored by our other major crisis today in our staple rice, is that this should not be a problem at all since our lands are still able to grow more food. In fact, the IRRI, a most credible authority on this matter, has said the Philippines can achieve self-sufficiency on the basis of five action-plans: 1) expansion of irrigation, 2) high-yield hybrid varieties, 3) credit support (which the private banking system here has always avoided), 4) technical advise for farmers, 5) and construction of storage facilities to address the country’s 5-percent-plus yield losses through spoilage.

In all, solving the energy crisis also helps solve the food crisis, as fossil fuels and valuable dollars are preserved for fertilizers and other inputs necessary for agricultural production.

Between pity and hope, I am more optimistic given the potential of this land, its seas and its people, even as this country drifts down the abyss of poverty and decay.

As we have defined the latent potential of this nation and consider the importance of external conditions, if we, as a nation, are rotten inside, all our aspirations will be stillborn.

We, the people, are what’s inside this nation’s shell waiting to be born. While external conditions are very harsh for our survival, it is up to us to fight the virus that is rotting away at our will and determination to be what we are. Let this knowledge of our great potential be the breakthrough that will make us redouble our efforts towards progress.

Mere effort, though, is not enough for we need to re-invent our methods.

For the past eight years, I have fought to educate the people on our nation’s historical truths, elucidate on its errors and achievements and expose historical myths.

Two great lies of the past decades have been those of Marcos and Erap being bad for our country. The latter has been effectively junked by events of the past eight years, a lie or an error that even the civil society, the conniving politicians and the Catholic hierarchy have admitted to (though the mea culpa has its ulterior motive, i.e. to prevent the popular overturning of the oligarchy’s exploitative plutocracy), while the former, in spite of being harder to erase, makes the case that Marcos’ programs on rice and energy self-sufficiency would have saved us from our troubles today.

In the same vein, we have joined popular actions like Edsa III and protests like those of the Magdalo’s in 2003, Gen. Danilo Lim’s in 2006 and the one in Manila Peninsula.

Now, we have to shift gears and coalesce with forces that have awakened to the truth that we must seize the day for a unified nationalist leadership, dedicated to a program of achieving energy and food independence from which all corollary freedoms emanate. Hence, we must start with the battle cry: “Food and Fuel Freedom for Filipinos Today!”

(Tune in to: Talk News TV on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 3, this Tuesday, July 8, at 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with guest, Trillanes representative, lawyer Rey Robles; Kape’t Kamulatan, Kabansa on 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; and Sulo ng Pilipino every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the same station. Also, check out: http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)