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'La lang

UMANGAT na ang presyo ng asukal, mananatili marahil sa ganitong antas sa 2-3 taon pa… at magugunita ang pagsisid nito noong mga taon ng 1980 hanggang 1990 sanhi ng surplus production saanmang lupalop sa mundo… salagmak ang kabuhayan sa pulo ng Negros, lalo na sa mga bayan nito na pumapangos ng tubo, gutom ang mga sakada’t kontratado… sinimulan noon ni Boss Danding Cojuangco na ilaan ang kalapit na pulong Guimaras sa mangga at ilang-ilang upang masagip ang lokal na ekonomiya. Pero sakmal ng gutom ang mga musmos ng Escalante’t kanugnog na bayan.

Sa Haiti at Panama sa paninibasib ng Depression Era bago sumiklab ang World War II, umagas ang ulat hinggil sa mga ti-dan… zombies… working gangs of the undead who toil in the sugar cane fields 24/7 without pay, just scraps and slop for food… dirt-cheap, tractable labor that won’t whimper or complain at such extremes of exploitation…

Malapit na kaanak ng talahib ang tubo—pansinin na magkatulad ang kanilang biyas, pati na ang bungkos ng ulap na bulaklak, at makakapiga rin ng matamis na katas sa talahib, maisasalang sa kawa upang humango ng asukal.

Tulad ng palay, mais, kawayan, at niyog, ang tubo ay damo… damo lang. At inaakala natin na hindi iindahin ng damo ang kawalan ng patubig at walang humpay na hagupit ng tag-init… tulad ng ti-dan.

Namamayagpag na ang artificial sweeteners, sugar plum fairies, sugar mommies and sugar daddies ngayon—sapat na ang ngiti ng kabiyak sa umaga upang maging matamis ang hihiguping kape, salabat o tsa pero mas matamis higupin ang kambal na labi ng panutsa sa kabiyak—pero iba talaga ang tamis ng minsang tinawag na “pagkain ng mga hari.”

Totoo na ang pandaigdigang pihit ng panahon, hindi na nagbabanta ang mahabang tag-init o mga biglaang bugso’t salakay-lupit ng mga bagyo. Bahagya nang mapapansin sa nagkukulang nang produksiyon ng asukal mula sugar cane or sugar beets…

Kapag kinakapos na ang matamis na “pagkain ng mga hari,” marami marahil mapipilitan sa pagkain ng mga ari…

Mathariel, Ridya, Matriel-- dinggin ang hinaing ng lupaing tigang, huwag namang ikait ang biyayang tamis sa bugso ng ulan!

Mathariel, Ridya, Matriel—tikatik o lirit man ang ibuhos, gulanit nang lupa’y maghihilom, mapupuspos…

Mathariel, Ridya, Matriel—ihatid sa bitak na labi ng lupa, ulang papawi sa uhaw ng palaka…

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