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Youth group scores DepEd Food-For-School program as rice distribution tool

June 5, 2010

April 12, 2008

Youth group scores DepEd Food-For-School program as rice distribution tool
Band-aid solutions to rice crisis not enough

Youth group Anakbayan today said that band-aid solutions are not enough to control soaring prices amid the rice crisis.

Anakbayan national chairperson Eleanor de Guzman said that the Arroyo administration has only so far implemented reactive solutions that are not meant to effect long-term results but to conceal the crisis instead.

One of the government’s smokescreen solutions, de Guzman said, is the Department of Education’s Food-For-School program as a rice distribution scheme by June.

“If DepEd’s Lapus and the Arroyo administration thinks that this could be transformed into a tool for rice distribution amid the crisis, then their heads must be in the clouds. How can they imagine appeasing hungry students and their families with a school feeding program that depends entirely on the department’s meager budget to cater to soaring rice prices?” de Guzman said.

De Guzman also reacted to Lapus’ statement that the school-feeding program has so far not been affected by the ‘perceived rice crisis’. “How, when there are no classes? Binobola na naman tayo. Come June, will the budget allocation for the Food-For-School suffice? If the price of rice reaches a whopping P40 per kilo or more, what happens then?”

“As before, all of the government’s efforts are knee-jerk reactions and band-aid solutions that do not address endemic and policy-related problems. Panay palusot, panay pagbabango pero wala namang makabuluhang resolusyon (Mere excuses or acts to save face but no genuine valuable resolutions).”

“Proposed tariff cuts and increased importation of rice products, for instance, may offer short-term outcomes but these fail to address the economy’s import-dependence and the government’s implementation of cartel-favored deregulation policies as opposed to self-sufficiency and imperative price control,” de Guzman said.

Anakbayan said that it is currently embarking on a ‘Kalderong dapat may laman’ program nationwide, an educational caravan promoting awareness on the government’s liberalization, deregulation and privatization policies and lack of political will to mete out lasting solutions to the rice crisis.

“The present rice crisis is an emotional matter to each and every Filipino. Expect more actions and protests to snowball in the weeks to come,” said de Guzman. ###

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