Sunday, July 3, 2022
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For the first time in many years, sugarcane planters seem to have become activists, calling for, nay, demanding that government officials resign for neglecting the sugar industry.

The debate that the sugar industry is in peril had long ended.

And it is not even because of Marx who theorized that the relations among forces of production once it becomes too antagonistic, will lead to the destruction of an economic system.

Lack of modernization, low technological inputs, mill inefficiency that leads to low extraction rates, poor treatment of workers are among the many issues hurled by critics against the industry, specifically big planters who thought for the longest time that they are THE sugar industry.

Globalization, which could have been a boon for the industry (that ironically flourished on exports) was the last hammer strike on the nails in the coffin.

Sugar planters are now holding news conferences on an almost regular basis, bringing in tow agrarian reform beneficiaries, the “small planters” who seem to have become the new poster boys of the industry threatened by liberalization.

The planters read their statements before the local media as reporters take time to understand the intricacies, not of the complicated issue of globalization, but of crispy skin, deep fried meat and chewy sinews of pork trotters laid before them as golden-brown crispy pata.

Bewailing about economic problems on a table groaning with food and bottles of beer at noontime hints of a disconnect between the real message and the one the planters are trying to put across.

In propaganda, it is called a lack of consistency, in crisis public relations, it is called a lack of harmonization of messaging.

Perhaps the Todos Los Santos should give the planters, and all of us, time to reflect on what really troubles the industry.

Perhaps it might be the last time for us to do so because next year we might be lighting candles in its memory.

Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.


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