Appendix 5.15: Confidential Memo for Ferdinand Marcos from Arturo Tanco on Rice Crisis, 16 July 1973

Kasarinlan Philippine Journal of Third World Studies

Abstract


In his 1968 state-of-the-nation address, Ferdinand Marcos claimed that the Philippines had achieved rice self-sufficiency. This claim would be reiterated in 1976, about three years after the Masagana 99 program was launched, e.g., via Marcos’s Letter of Instruction No. 405, s. 1976. In between happened one of the country’s worst rice crises, which, as the following document shows (corroborated by Smith 1989, 69–71), was due largely to numerous natural disasters. In the following, it is implied by Tanco that the president had not been completely honest to the public about the gravity of the rice shortage. Indeed, in a speech titled “The IRRI: A Force for Modernization,” delivered on 21 April 1972, Marcos claimed that “except for the last 2 years when our rice fields were decimated by typhoons and tungro, we have maintained a respectable level of rice production.”

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