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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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The national issues

The purpose why there is such a thing as campaign period before the actual casting
of votes on Election Day is to allow the national issues, in the case of the senatorial race, to
surface and the candidates to propose how they will address them through legislation. Out
of their proposals the electorate decides who is best equipped to truly square off with the
surfaced issues.
Sadly, the quality of the current campaign is not living up to the expectation for
which this period was set by existing electoral laws. What the candidates are currently doing
at this time of the campaign is do their best to make a fool out of themselves by acting like
clowns instead of statesmen.
What really are the issues begging the candidates’ proposed solutions?
In the economic realm, the dire situation of the country’s agriculture sector needs
utmost attention. That sector is tasked at ensuring food security, a national security issue, if
I may say so, on the ground that no country including the Philippines, could afford to
compromise this basic need of its people. Unless we all become robots or cyborgs, food
security will always be on the top list of issues in any country.
In regard food security, the actual situation leaves so much to be desired. This is
what agriculture is for. In a number of columns in the past, we tried to lay down how this
problem could possibly be addressed. Unfortunately, all the senatorial candidates are
evading any serious discussion about this central issue, food.
The second role of agriculture is to be the source of the country’s raw materials as it
moves forward to that desired goal of becoming industrialized. Name me a nation that
became industrialized bypassing this role of agriculture. None. Why? Because agriculture is
the foundation of industrialization.
Have the senatorial candidates discussed this role of agriculture during their
campaign sorties? We mean by discuss is for them to show to the electorate the depth of
their understanding of this issue and the depth of their solution. Inexplicably, this is one
concern, industrialization, we want to achieve for our country but we never seriously discuss
about this.
We just content and then lull ourselves into believing we have already reached a
certain level of industrialization given our current indulgence in some manufacturing efforts.
In reality however what is happening in these existing manufacturing firms that serve as the
source of our exports is simply repackaging, assembling, among others, because we are not
churning out into finished goods any raw material coming from our own farms.
In a short span of time, Vietnam has already overtaken us in this regard. Truth is, in
the eyes of the international community, we look very pathetic. We can’t even source
internally our own rice requirements.
Have the candidates discussed how the illegal drug problem become worse after the
inception of the administration’s bloody war on drugs? Just think of this. When this war was

started, no less than President Duterte claimed there were about two million drug
dependents in the country.
Now, the president himself said the number of the country’s drug dependents is now
in the vicinity of eight million. So from almost two million it is now eight million. What does
this tell us? That the drug problem despite the estimated 25,000 deaths of suspected drug
users and pushers has not abated but even worsened.
What conclusion can we make out of this admission by the President himself? That
the bloody war on drugs is a failure as a solution to the problem. But why is this not being
discussed so that we can hear from the aspiring senators what will they do with this? The
lack of discussion about this issue in the current campaign is truly baffling.

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