White Revolution Philippines

Article excerpt

SOME people never retire. I am referring to former President Fidel V. Ramos and his sister, former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani. The former is one of the favorite "regulars" in global forums on issues of human survival - poverty, education, resource management, specifically water management, and other issues of the Kyoto protocol. Recently, he launched a book on poverty and terrorism, the two most critical issues of our times. He has been a keen observant and participant in the current political crisis, and although some of us may not totally agree with his prescriptions, nonetheless, he has earned our respect mainly because we believe his motives are pure.

The other Ramos is Letty, who I regard as perhaps one of the most suitable occupants of the top post in the United Nations. Her perspectives on many of the critical issues of the day - law of the sea, moral transformation, gender issues, culture, population, etc. have helped shape current policy in both the national and international arena while serving as a diplomat, educator and legislator.

Now, she has shifted her advocacy from the macro social and political policy arena to the implementation of an important national program - dairy development. This is an example of how a senator (she authored the bill on the Dairy Development Authority) had been able to follow up implementation of a bill through actual involvement in subsequent advocacy.

My husband, who for many years used to be a specialist at the Food Agriculture Organization, had always given dairy development a priority especially for the cooperatives sector and is pleased that the cooperatives in the country are finally giving this concern more attention. I do remember visiting several initiatives in the hill communities in Sri Lanka where some of the poor farmer groups are involved in dairy farming. Compared with South Asia, and other ASEAN countries, we still have a lot to do in this area.

As chair of the Dairy Development Foundation of the Philippines (DDFP), Letty presented her foundation's advocacy program and milestones attained in dairy development before allies and friends last Wednesday. The advocacy project aptly described as White Revolution: Philippines was borrowed from a similar advocacy project launched earlier in India by Dr. Vergjese Kurien who devised a system for collecting, processing and marketing milk. Our own White Revolution was launched by the DDFP together with the Philippine Carabao Center and the National Dairy Authority. …