Are we innately corrupt?
SOME BUYERS WALKED OFF
WITHOUT PAYING FARMERS
By Manny Piñol
The joy I felt seeing Metro Manila consumers swarm over low priced vegetables and fruits during today’s TienDA in Manila was marred by reports from farmers that some buyers walked off with vegetables and fruits in plastic bags without paying for the items.
I felt so sad and so disappointed that farmers who labored so hard and took pains to offer their produce at very low prices were shortchanged by some heartless people.
The farmers, many of them first timers in Metro Manila, were obviously overwhelmed by the waves of people who swarmed on their booths.
Since it was their first experience to sell their produce directly, they were not able to cope with the weighing and the payments.
Admittedly, we in the Department of Agriculture share the blame for the chaos.
We were not able to prepare for the huge number people who came.
In fairness, there were buyers who really appreciated the DA’s efforts and thanked the farmers for their sacrifices.
There was even a woman who unabashedly cried as she witnessed how the buyers were so excited to get a chance to buy vegetables at very low prices.
A child even approached me to say thank you for bringing vegetables and fruits to Metro Manila.
When the TienDA resumes tomorrow with another 20 tons of fruits and vegetables, officials of the Agribusiness Office of the DA will assist farmers in selling their produce in an orderly manner.
As for the farmers who lost their produce to the “veggie-lifters,” they will most likely just shrug it off and say “Charge to experience.”
They have been exploited and shotchanged many times in the past.
I am saddened, however, that this time I failed to protect them.
What makes me sadder is the thought that what happened today could be symptomatic of the erosion of Filipino values.