Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror March 28, 2007 edition, p. A6

Dear Queenie,

I’m pleased to report that I’ve been at peace with my conscience ever since you said poor spending habits are the cause of hunger.

You see I’ve always felt guilty about ignoring famished street urchins pestering me to buy sampaguitas to decorate the Jesus statuette on my dashboard. Now I can tell them the money I save from not buying their decorative sampaguitas goes to feeding my children.

Thanks for pointing out that hunger is a lifestyle choice.

And thanks also for reminding me of the wonderful put-down of victim-hood your trade secretary, Peter Favila, made a year ago this week.

Your response to hunger, although delivered a week early, is an excellent companion to his immortal words:

“We have plenty of jobs available in the country today, but the problem is, some Filipinos are just pihikan or choosy. Some Filipinos aspire to be the vice president immediately upon hiring or they want to be able to pick the time and place of work. Those who can’t get what they want choose to just wait till their ideal job falls on their lap.”

Your secretary’s words must have inspired street urchins not to wait for the “ideal job to fall on their lap” for they ignored the political noise and took advantage of the strong peso, the stable political situation, and the investor-friendly climate to go into the sampaguita business.

Their profits will be reinvested in the stock market and soon, as a pundit said, they will be trading in their paper boats for yachts.

You can tell the whole world, “We have no child labor. We are a nation of child entrepreneurs.” And you can add that investor confidence, as shown by the great number of street urchin entrepreneurs, disproves the perception that your regime is the most corrupt in Asia.

Going back to the hunger issue…

Recently, a newspaper reported, “Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said 1.1 million college graduates are without jobs while there are 650,000 vacancies for highly skilled workers.”

You followed up Jesli’s statement with: “Mag-technical muna shila bago shila tumuloy sha college. Kashi ang laki-laki ng shweldo ng weldersh and butchersh kaysha sha shweldo ng clerk.”

The demand for butchers, instead of the uselessness of college degrees, is what you and your apologists should have focused on.

You could have thrown butchers at the opposition and ended all their talk about hunger because the demand for butchers clearly debunks their claim that there are more hungry people now than ever before.

Unfortunately, your lap dummy chose to comment on our lifestyle and impose his puritanical values which are clearly anti-growth and, therefore, pro-hunger.

He said, “You can cut down on cigarettes and drinks. Instead of three bottles, one or two will suffice. You can have substantial savings if you cut down on unnecessary expenditures including text messaging.”

Your puritan talking-doll does not appreciate what my economist friend, Filomeno Sta. Ana III, calls “the multiplier effect of vice.”

Alcohol consumption does away with short-term hunger—alcohol goes with pulutan—and the food industry will benefit from an increased demand for tokwa’t baboy, sisig, and chicharon bituka.  Furthermore, alcohol and greasy foods induce a craving for cigarettes.

I’m sure you can figure out for yourself what that means in terms of business, unemployment, taxes, the budget deficit, the strength of the peso, the price of power and transportation, and the OFW epidemic.

As to your talking doll’s admonition on text messages, well…more text messages mean a bigger telecommunications market. That’s a magnet for foreign investors.  What does he have against foreign investments? Is he a communist?

Anyway, the crumbs from your economic reforms are falling from your table straight to the mouths of the hungry masses so there’s no excuse for hunger.

So the next time I’m accosted by another urchin entrepreneur begging me to buy her sampaguita leis because she’s hungry, I will simply tell her, “Change your lifestyle and you won’t go hungry.”

Hugs and kisses,

P.S. I just saw one of your secretaries on TV and he’s blaming a series of typhoons for the hunger problem. I guess his point is that hunger is “weather-weather lang.”  Hmmm…