Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hey, CNN! There Are No Food Riots in the Philippines (Not Yet Anyway)

After erroneously reporting for several weeks that there have been food riots in the Philippines as a result of the global spike in food prices, one would've thought that a giant media outfit like CNN would've gotten the word and corrected itself. But just now, there it was again, (following coverage of President Bush talking about the economy in St. Louis, Missouri) that there have been food riots "in recent weeks in Haiti, Jelalabad and the Philippines."

One wonders if we should believe anything at all CNN reports if they can't get such an easily verifiable and falsifiable thing right. No wonder Al-Jazeera is getting so big around here (with the help of ABSCBN.) Sheesh! Ah, but just wait, if we ever do have food riots because of the Arroyo administration's hyperbolicizing of the situation, and the willing sensationalism over it of newspapers like the Philippine Daily Innuendo, they still may not get it right.

Please pass until CNN gets the message: there are no food riots in the Philippines (not yet anyway.)


cathy said...

BBC carried the article of one professor who also mentioned that there are food riots in the Philippines. I e-mailed bbc as well as the author of the aricle. I did not get any response.

DJB Rizalist said...

Thanks Cathy!

Teresita said...

Here Stateside there's a backlash against corn-based ethanol, which I suppose is a kind of food riot.

DJB Rizalist said...

yeah I've done a number of posts on biofuels the last few weeks. the massive switch to corn-based ethanol, in the US has affected not only the price of corn, but wheat (bread) and soybeans (animal feed) worldwide. I guess it will also affect prices in the US. it's a choice, feed the cars or feed the people!

mesiamd said...

I do feel bad about CNN's exaggerations on the food shortage in the Philippines. But each time I see the patient long lines for a few pounds of rice each day and happy smiling faces with heavily armed military men on guard under the searing sun, I wonder if mayhem and civil strife can be expressed in that way.

I often read of our peculiar way of facing discontent. I remember even our fight for freedom in EDSA-I was dubbed as a "street carnival" by some reporters, but others called it a revolution.

blackshama said...

CNN may end up like FOX News. This kind of reporting is so irresponsible.

But given the circumstances we have now, a Pinoy food riot is not unthinkable.

Her Majesty the Queen Gloriana is fully aware of this and has taken the unpalatable steps of subsidies and now she will take on the Lopez oligopoly.

A worrying scenario

In times of great crisis, Pinoys tend to bring their religious icons (we have seen it in WII and in EDSA 1 and 2) to the lines.

What if the rice runs out and these people with their icons become unruly? Will State Security impose order on what on the surface looks religious?

The same was seen at the start of the Russian Revolution.

Nick said...

Damn CNN, and I don't think it's just CNN... I'm in Michigan at the moment, and about two weeks ago, it was out in the news that the rice shortage was really bad, as if we were all dying of starvation.. But hey, about a third of the population is in poverty, so maybe they have it 1/3 right..

I just wish some good news would pop out of The Philippines once in a while.. I'm kinda tired of explaining to colleagues that The Philippines offers more than Hackers, Typhoons, Balut, and Riots..

Teresita said...

Nick: I just wish some good news would pop out of The Philippines once in a while.. I'm kinda tired of explaining to colleagues that The Philippines offers more than Hackers, Typhoons, Balut, and Riots..

Sure, there's also guys who nail themselves to crosses on Good Friday, deadly Wowowee stampedes, diesel fumes, and a tradition of clueless action movie stars and lightweight boxers running for President. But on the plus side, there is no poverty when it comes to family relationships, delicious panshit, and if you are inclined toward a taste in hot babes the whole Nation is like a giant candy store.

J said...

No less that Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Two Tapes Bunye wrote The Japan Times to correct their recent editorial:

Press secretary and presidential spokesperson

The April 29 editorial “Hunger in a world of plenty” states that there have been food riots in the Philippines as a result of the rising price of rice. I am writing to inform you that this is factually incorrect because, while the rising price of rice and other commodities remains a challenge for many of our people, there fortunately have not been any of the riots or disturbances that have taken place in some other countries. As such, we would like to correct this point.

President Gloria Arroyo and her administration have been working diligently to address challenges arising from the slowdown in the global economy combined with the spike in high oil and food prices. These global forces are causing real difficulties for the poor in the Philippines, but the government is doing everything in its power to ensure that our food supply remains stable and our economy resilient.

Our focus has been on ensuring adequate supplies of rice and other foodstuffs through both domestic production and importation, supporting distribution to all parts of our country through a range of mechanisms including active cooperation with churches, mosques and schools, and enforcing regulations regarding the sale and distribution of rice and cracking down on corruption that can impact the supply, distribution and price of rice. Through the efforts of both the public and nongovernmental sectors of our society, we are meeting this challenge.

I wonder if people thee would believe Bunye considering his not-so-good reputation.


Because of the ongoing craze (i call it craze because people have become crazy about this bio-fuel farming) for planting colza as we call it here for bio fuelling purposes, there are speculations that farmland for food production purposes will rise significantly, akin to the urban real estate boom in the late 90s. It's now happening in the UK and in France.

Until 2 years ago in northwestern France, farmland or agricultural land (regulated as absolutely, strictly no building zone territory) cost something like 1 to 2 thousand Euros a hectare (and nobody was buying), market prices are now reaching 5 to 6 thousand a hectare. Also, the practice now is many old farmers who are set to retire are bidding out their farmland in anticipation of higher financial yield than if they did it on straight selling basis! All in less than 24 months.

Same phenomenon in the UK; farmland prices in Oxforshire are hitting the roof. All of a sudden, farming has become a glamorous thing to do not for producing food but for producing bio-fuel.

Crazy, crazy world!

Anonymous said...

I just got back from the Philippines and I was on about half of the major Islands...there was nothing like that going on. Scare mongers are trying panic people into taking running on the banks and causing more banks to collapse so they can buy them up for pennies on the dollar, just like in the 1930's.

The news reports what they want you to think, not reality.