RICE and other food products have become less and less affordable to a great part of the nation’s population, sparking a crisis that gives rise to charges of political stonewalling and corruption as well as poor policy planning, especially for agriculture. For some time now, the Philippines has been treading the industrial road to progress: granting more elbow room for businesses and conducting technological upgrades across the archipelago. But in the process, it seems to be ignoring the plain fact that for an agricultural country, industrialization will always be founded on agriculture. Yet alas, Philippine industrialization has been achieved at the cost of agriculture, which continues to be penalized by crippling policies. Amid the food crisis, the shabby treatment of Filipino farmers and Philippine agriculture has been exposed. Hopefully, the Philippines will finally learn its lesson. Neglect agriculture and you will neglect--and impoverish -- your security and future. Text by ROMAN CARLO R. LOVERIA, Photos by L.A.C. BUENAVENTURA and MATTHEW NIEL J. HEBRONA

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