Pass on the chicken, please

    Chicken for P150 a kilo? A year ago I was ready to classify chicken as poor man’s meat (poor man’s protein being tilapia) when a kilo of it, if I remember right, was something like P70. This morning, an otherwise fine day in June 2009, a radio reporter found dear fresh chicken, my favorite since my first bout with high blood pressure, costing P150 per. “As costly as pork,” the reporter said as I lay in bed, still a bit dizzy from some ounces of “chicharon may balat” I bought from a mall and promptly consumed while driving.

    A year before the elections, that news is not good for Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap whom I later caught on TV downstairs. Yap was, expectedly, yapping on rise in cost of feeds and increased demand for poultry as triggered by swine flu scare as blameworthy.

    Doesn’t this flash Health Sec.Duque in your mind? He centralized in himself all information on A/H1N1 so media whirled around him for weeks, until he had to let go after congressmen started hitting him about his silence on the first fatality that happened to be a staff employee of the Lower House. That is bad, one year before the elections, so he let loose his claws on media and declared that the ailment, afterall, had turned out to be as mild as ordinary flu.

    I don’t know how media could have left Yap unperturbed after he brayed with his reasons for chicken price soar. If I had been there interviewing him, I would have, sans the piercing eyes, asked him why his big, big department never saw it coming. The price of chicken had been soaring over the past many months and always, he had something to the blame on, usually the increase in the price of imported feeds. He and his experts never saw that coming? If they did, were they that helpless?

    Helplessness, of course, belongs to consumers plagued with price increases from all fronts. I mean ordinary consumers, not politicians and big-time criminals. Protest rallies no longer dent on consciences of those in government who can’t do their jobs well to protect public interest, yet hold on like barnacles to their offices.

    It helps, however, that ours is a predominantly Catholic country with penchant for melodrama. Heroes and heroines in Filipino movies and telenovelas are underdogs who, in the end, land centerstage for one reason or another. And yes, Catholics adhere, rightly, to the dogma of the Last Four Things: death,judgement, heaven, hell. To them, poor consumers including, belong Heaven. As to hell….

    Pass on the chicken, please. Well roasted.


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