Soon after my post on September 3, 2019 titled “Nueva Ecija Can Learn From Thai Palay Buying Scheme,” an American development economist sent me a comment I really didn’t expect. The fellow is Curtis Metzgar who has made the Philippines his adopted home.
“Your blog concerning subsidies and how they can be mismanaged was welcomed by me since I studied development economics at the University of California. Now, the Philippines is my adopted home and I want to see it develop sensibly to benefit Filipinos.
“Subsidies are necessary despite what ‘laissez faire’ market economists would say. These economists would cite the failures of subsidization without citing its successes. Thailand learned from its mistake and, fortunately, found a solution which works!”
Curtis continues: “Since moving here, one aspect of the Philippines that I’ve grown very concerned with is the consumption of junk food. The consumption of junk food has tremendous cost to the healthcare system and the solid waste management system among others just as smoking does. The Philippine government has taken very positive action with smoking and, in my opinion, they need to take an equally harsh stance on the topic of junk food. But how to do it is the million dollar question.
“Taking the position that most of every peso spent in the Philippines stays in the Philippines, heavy taxation of junk food is a start since many junk foods are produced out of the country. Since high quality vegetables are out of the budget range for many Filipinos, subsidizing organic farmers heavily would be the next subsidy I would initiate if I were in charge of the situation. I specify “organic farmers” because farmers that aren’t organic farmers are generally larger, more capital intensive farmers, who use pesticides, most of which originate out of the country and mechanical capital (tractors, harvesters, etc.) which also originates out of the country. Organic farming is more labor intensive and utilizes local labor.”