In my own definition of food security, the Philippines should become a net exporter of surplus rice.

In other words, our goal should not simply be rice sufficiency, but we must have more than enough, so much so that we could already afford to export what we could not consume locally.

That status is what is being enjoyed by rice exporting countries such as Thailand. If they can do it, why can’t we?

As it is now, we are measuring our food security in terms of the number of days that we have rice reserves in storage. That is a very sad reality, because we should really be measuring our rice reserves in terms of months, and not in terms of days.

You might say that that is easier said than done, but if other countries have done it, why can’t we?

The best way to start is to start counting the numbers. For example, if our goal is to have rice reserve for 12 months, how many hectares of irrigated farms do we need to maintain, based on how many harvests per year, for instance.

We should start counting our hectarage of arable lands, before we can even start counting our projected harvest volumes.

Assuming that there are not enough arable lands to use right now, then the government should study how some “developed” lands could be converted back into farmlands. Since this is also a matter of national security, we should act now.


I find it ironic that while the whole country is focused on the loss of some of our territory to Communist China, very few people seem to care about losing much of our beach front territory to soil erosion on one hand, and to rising sea levels on the other hand.

Yes, it is happening, and it is happening very fast, right under our noses. The good news is, there are dedicated scientists like Dr. Fernando Siringan and Dr. Jurgenne Honculada-Primavera who are keeping watch over this problem, and they have been warning everybody about how serious the problem is, and that we must do something about it.

But the bad news is, very few people seem to listen, even those people from the government agencies that are tasked to do it.

In theory, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is supposed to have jurisdiction over the terrestrial portion of the beach front, while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has jurisdiction over the marine portion.

Unfortunately, the lines between these two jurisdictions seem to be unclear, and that is why there appears to be a lot of finger-pointing between these two agencies.

Meanwhile, there are many local government units that are either unaware of their roles in preventing soil erosion or are simply turning their attention away from the violators, such as the illegal miners of black sand.

The two scientists recommend the planting of mangroves and other vegetation such as beach forests.Ike Señeres