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marcial tayag caniones
marcial tayag caniones Of Festivals

WHAT IF we declared Pampanga "Food Capital" of the Philippines? Or Angeles City the "Culinary Capital" and Nueva Ecija the "Spice Capital?" How about Pangasinan as the "Native Vegetable Basket" and Capas the "Smoked Fish Net" of the Philippines?

I missed the other provinces— declare them yourself however you want them declared. Then what? So what?

By declaring intents through resolutions or laws, we create a subtle message of political will. Political will is transformed into a festive cultural will. Both intents are turned into a stronger people's collective will. The process is a ripple effect of micro-economic development bursts that culminate into one major economic explosion.

Every province has something to brag about itself or its municipalities—be it relating to beautiful sceneries or exotic food, extraordinary religious events, unique craftsmanship—and presents this through festivities to promote tourism and expand markets.

I analyze this tendency using my development theory, "Economic Physics," which I formulated recasting the great Albert Einstein's original E=mc² equation. By applying relativity to the science of economy and people's lives, I came up with the relation between Emancipation Mutation of Communities on the 1st Degree (EMC1) and Entrepreneurial Movement of Communities on the 2nd degree (EMC2).

The first degree (EMC1) hits the consciousness, the will, the desire, and the passion to liberate oneself from the primitive and traditional economic practices of the old unevolving economic thought (that causes economic stagnancy).

While the second degree (EMC2) acts on the desires of the first degree and uses planning, financing, product development, marketing, and packaging— strategies that increase economic activity, create labor and regular employment, give birth to micro-industries, and boost the purchasing capacity of the local people.

The relation is as simple as it seems.

Of Cooperativism

There have been numerous attempts in the past to strengthen cooperatives. From what I have seen and experienced, however, cooperatives have not yet made a significant impact, especially on the local economy.

I am not against cooperative formations, but failures after failures led me to develop other theories. The principles behind cooperativism are okay, but the movement lacks the soul it needs for its salvation and redemption.

Cooperativism, for me, never really had an impact on our economy. Why? It is too formal, bureaucratic, and messy. Before it required 15 people to be registered; the new cooperative law, I think, requires more than 15 people to be recognized, plus loads of documents that need to be filed, and monthly organizational and financial reports to be submitted regularly to the Cooperative Development Authority.

I know many success stories of cooperatives that ventured into credit and financing, but not as much as of those that engaged in production.

From my experience as a cooperative organizer, I found that rural folks would shy away from tedious and long hours of meetings called to agree on and finalize decisions and policies where the majority of member's approval was required; oftentimes quorums were not even met, thus the delayed making of major decisions.

Other weaknesses I saw were that cooperatives depended too much on loans or grants from government and other foreign funding agencies, and that cooperatives focused more on structural development than on market development.

Take for example the reintroduction of organic fertilizers and pesticides by non-government organizations and agriculture-based government agencies. The aim was to recycle abundant farm excesses as raw materials needed for organic fertilizer production.

However, the undertaking's study, sales, and utilization aspects were not much advocated, especially for commercial farm use. With organic fertilizer production, we could have solved farmer's dependency on expensive imported chemical fertilizers, and we could have also met international and European standards that now required products to be organic and chemical-free.

Of A New Development Theory

Using cooperative principles and doing away with its bureaucratic restrictions, I came up with my EMC2 development theory.

In EMC1, a minimum of three and a maximum of seven people having the same business interest or existing business pool their minds, efforts and capital.

Then on to EMC2, founded on semi-urban entreprism (my coinage), evident hereabouts in retail market rows like, in Angeles City, the Crossing BBQ strip, the Ventura steak strip of Marisol, the Apu sale convergence, and the Barangay San Jose Manukan strip, and, in Dau, Mabalacat, the military supply stall chain.

In the production industry, we have Angeles City's and the City of San Fernando's growing meat processing ventures and their pastry and bakery enterprises that all started in the small family business mode.

Worth mentioning also are the Razon and Corazon snack chains that sell franchises to would-be entrepreneurs. Both chains are now in the big malls of Manila, such as SM and Robinsons. Owners of the popular Red Ribbon, I heard from friends, are from Pampanga.

In entreprism there is no competition; instead there is what I call "coordinated service cooperation." The businesses I have just mentioned, as I see them, do not compete for customers; rather they create a subtle semblance that they are one and the same establishment: "You can eat or buy here, but you can eat and buy there also."

It's a friendly neighborhood business atmosphere— "Mare, pakipalitan mu naman muna ng barya ang binayad nila;" "Pre, pahiram naman muna ng uling dyan, naubusan kami dito;" "Dun po sa kabila may pancit sila, kami barbecue lang, pwedi ko po kayong ibili doon;" "Dun po sa kabila meron pa po sila, naubusan po kami ng stock." Not surprisingly, I see no real competition in this, but coordinated service cooperation.

As for the already big food processing industries, what I often hear from their owners is that they take pride in all the products from their provinces. Though they do not reveal trade secrets, they share to would-be entrepreneurs their experiences and techniques on how to be successful.

This is how food and other related industries grew in the US, China, and other parts of the world. The development of their agriculture-based industries started from a simple cycle of production: from basic production or harvesting, to processing, packaging, marketing, product improvement, and market expansion.

How do you think the very popular Fruit Cocktail start out being distributed around the world? Del Monte Tomato Sauce? Hershey's Chocolate? Canned Whole Kernel Corn? McCormick Spices? Sara Lee Cakes? Kellogg's Rice Crispies? Lay's Potato Chips? These products and so many others now rule our kitchens and our palates.

This is how I see what should happen to the Central Luzon market: there should be production of organically grown produce, establishment of canning and packaging industries, improvement of products, and exportation of products.

With the millions of OFWs we have, marketing will not be that much of a problem. Canned balut anyone? Vacuum-packed tinapang bangus? Ready to heat sapin-sapin? Preserved or dried onions and garlic? Microwavable sisig? Canned duck meat? Mango halves (as in peach halves)? Canned green mango puree? Canned mango or guava nectar?

We can also introduce unique Pinoy recipes worldwide, like what Del Monte did with thousands of recipes using tomato sauce. Why not whip up a thousand and one recipes using taba ng talanka?

The next step is the advocacy of "economic patriotism" that will ensure local and foreign consumption of our products. We can spend 80 percent of our grocery expenses on local products. Our OFWs can be encouraged to collectively invest in foreign countries where they work and establish Filipino 24-hour grocery stores, say in the 7-11 mini mart mold. "Bayani" might even be an appropriate name for the Filipino mart, as in "Bayani 24/7."

Bayani 24/7s can sell the Pinoy's breakfast staple, hot pandesal, matched with favorite spread varieties such as corned beef pandesal, sarciadong itlog pandesal, sardines con pandesal, and many more. Nueva Ecija sells pasteurized carabao's milk in 1-liter and 250-ml plastic bottles; let's encourage selling the local milk in "tertra packs" for export to the Bayani 24/7 shelves.

I am sure the OWWA can help the OFW's in the initial funding for this. The underlying imperative is: either we export finished products or cheaply export these raw; either we stop exporting labor or we create local employment; or support workers abroad as they support local products and labor. The choice is ours; let us begin, and money will flow.

[About the author. Marcial Tayag Caniones, a Political Science graduate, is assistant manager at the Community Extension Services Office of Clark Development Corporation. He was born on the 10th of July, 42 years ago, became vegetarian 18 years ago, started serious reading 10 years ago, and began writing three years ago. He admits to being ugly but claims to ooze with sex appeal.]

-Posted: 1:08 AM 8/26/07 | More of this author on eK!