Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
Today, June 5, marks World Environment Day. This year, the United Nations (UN) is promoting the concept of “Seven Billion Dreams, One Plant, Consume with Care” which focuses on green production and consumption. In Thailand, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has continuously campaigned for environmental protection and has organized several activities as follows.
The first project is called “Green Card”. With this card, users can collect points and exchange them for gifts. Points can be collected through purchases of environmentally friendly products. It is hoped to encourage green consumption and reduce waste and carbon dioxide which is the main cause of global warming. It helps youths and adults change their consumption behavior as well as helps producers step towards being greener.
The second project aims to reduce the use of plastic, a material that takes longer to decompose. Malls, grocery stores, and other retailers have been asked to refrain from giving out plastic bags on the 15th of every month. I would like to see everyone use cloth bags as I believe all families have them. It has now become a social trend to replace plastic bags with cloth bags. There is no point of having them if you do not use them. The most important thing is that you should use cloth bags in the right way. We need to be able to differentiate what we are purchasing. We must find a replacement for plastic bags. There must be some understanding on how not to use plastic bags between sellers and buyers. There is an idea to use biodegradable plastic, but I am not sure if it will be too pricy. I will leave this matter to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. You can also use cloth bags or woven baskets. Plastic stays for as long as a hundred years before it goes away. We do not want to burn plastic waste and risk producing more carbon dioxide.
The last project is hoped to instill environmental awareness among youths. Activities include the “Don’t Litter” campaign, school discipline, waste management, and waste reduction contests. I want all these activities to continue and become a social norm, not just something that comes and goes. We keep complaining about the rising temperatures, the off-season rains, flooding, and clogged drains. All of these are caused by our actions to the environment. There are more than 7 billion people in this world. If everyone in the world uses plastics every day, the world will be at high risk and we will face severe climate change. Please help our country protect it. Food and drink containers that are made of plastic should be replaced by greener materials. Please help them find a way out. Buyers and sellers need to cooperate.
Next is about waste sorting or waste separation. Today, we have a lot of waste accumulated day after day. The process must start with waste sorting. Our communities must be able to separate waste and turn it into power. Please stop quarrelling over this issue. If we do not have a waste treatment plant, how are we going to get rid of all the garbage that is produced every day? As this issue remains, there will be more problems in the future, such as health problems, contamination, and other negative effects. Please understand this fact.
The existence of waste-to-power plants is crucial for the country. We need to fix the problem at the upstream level which refers to household waste. The waste will be transferred to a treatment plant and turned into energy. Today, a lot of waste is stacked at landfills. Unfortunately, Thailand does not have an integrated waste management system. What we can do now is make the best use of the waste we produce. This is where the waste-to-power plant comes into play. The plant can also help us use less gas and oil. The problem will be addressed at upstream, midstream, and downstream levels. The midstream level involves education. There should be cooperation and understanding towards effective waste management. There must also be cooperation at the downstream level where everyone supports the government in its effort to build waste treatment plant. I would like those opposing the plant construction to visit Ayutthaya and observe the plant’s operation.
The plant is well supported by the locals. The area remains clean and healthy and will be turned into a public park filled with trees in the near future while the waste is treated in the plant. Please make some personal sacrifices and put this idea into realization. Local people will be taken care off. This is one of the government’s policies. We do not just issue orders without acknowledging the well-being of the people. At the same time, people need to think of the benefit to our country and how waste should be treated?
The government has made waste management a national agenda and assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to draw up a roadmap for solid and hazardous waste management in order to mobilize efforts from all sectors. I told the Ministry of Interior to be the head of this operation, given that the ministry works closely with the people. It will be joint cooperation between ministries, with the Interior Ministry overseeing the issue. We are now reviewing related laws and regulations. We cannot apply too many laws in order to prevent confusion. I have decided to appoint the Interior Ministry head of this operation. The Environment Ministry will be responsible for policy and planning.
1) A 3-year strategic plan (2015-2017) will be formulated in an attempt to reduce or even stop the use of polystyrene foam. Thailand will look at alternatives such as turning agricultural waste – bagasse, cassava, palm, hyacinth, and chaff – into non-toxic or organic products. Water hyacinths are floating in every canal and waterway. It will be ideal if we could make use of them. In order to lower prices of organic products, I would like related agencies to look into cost reduction. Prices of organic products should be lower than those of non-organic ones. We need to think of the people, especially buyers and sellers.
Next is about the establishment of waste disposal centers and solid waste power plants that turns waste into energy. We will put forth a bill that regulates the management of discarded electronic products, appliances and other products. Producers will be required to take care of waste they produce and encouraged to initiate products that are friendly to the environment through the reduction of hazardous substances during the production process. The products must be designed in a way that they can easily be recycled or reused. Large enterprises should have their own waste management system. They should invest in this segment as well. They can buy discarded solar panels, electronic equipment, appliances, and mobile phones. Because these items do not decompose, we should recycle them like any other countries. The current government has already issued an order to make this transition happen.
June 5th is not only the World Environment Day; it also marks National Anti-Human Trafficking Day in Thailand. This day aims to raise awareness among government agencies, the private sector, and the public as well as to encourage them to be a part of the anti-human trafficking effort. As a transit country, Thailand needs to eradicate all possibilities and channels of human trafficking.
However, the problem must also be addressed at the upstream level which is the country of origin, while cooperation must be sought at the downstream which is a third country. Today, we have seen much progress. At least, we have a short-term plan to tackle human trafficking at the moment. As for a long-term plan, we must prevent the problem at the upstream level by disallowing illegal migration. Everyone should place importance on this issue. All lives are worthy regardless of nationality, race or religion. They have the same rights and should be treated equally.
The government attaches great significance to human trafficking as it has made the issue a national agenda. This morning, I chaired the opening ceremony of the “Anti-Human Trafficking Day” activity held at Government House. During the event, I stressed that the government always takes it seriously when it comes to law enforcement. Security measures have been tightened. Offenders will be prosecuted. Victims will be rehabilitated. And subsequent problems will be addressed.
Human trafficking has a widespread effect in our society and the world. It is a problem that needs great collaboration from all sectors, be they Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Labor Ministry, Interior Ministry, Royal Thai Police, the private sector, independent organizations, foundations, and the general public.
The government wants to make everyone understand the severity of this problem and how it is affecting our society. Some of you may think that it does not concern you, which is not true. Social inequality exists when human trafficking takes place, and will be followed by different types of crimes. We must separate human trafficking from illegal immigration entry which takes place on a daily basis. Illegal migrants come here to look for jobs. But some are illegally brought in by human trafficking ring. Panhandling can also be treated as a human trafficking offence if done as a group. Women and children can fall victim to human trafficking when forced into doing things against their will. If there is a middleman, it is a human trafficking offense. Without a middleman, it would be treated as illegal migration. Both types of problems exist in Thai society.
Migrant workers have already registered with the Thai government. We shall look into whether these migrants came through the right and legal process. Registration helps migrants secure their status without having to worry if they will be left stranded. Before you actually come here, please make sure the recruitment agency can be trusted. You should always ask for a license or related documents.
The Thai people are very generous. We always feel the need to provide for the poor, the underprivileged, and the disabled. It is a common practice in Thailand. With that being said, I would like everyone to help our society by being the eyes and ears for the authorities and report any suspicious activities to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
The ministry has recently initiated the “Thailand AGAINST human trafficking” campaign. It tells us how human trafficking rings are tricking people into joining them. Victims are told that they would be offered high wages. This is what they use to lure the victims. The same goes to other illegal migrants such as Rohingyas who were told that they would find a job that offers high wages in the third country. Believing that, they risk their lives travelling to another country. Some of them died on the boat. This conduct is wrong. If they came by themselves without any agency bringing them in, it would be a different case. Please use your highest discretion when it comes to such sensitive issues and help prevent all human trafficking activities. We need to keep all the vulnerable people out of this circle of human trafficking. When in this circle, female victims are normally harassed and forced, while some can be kidnaped for ransom. This problem has been lingering in Thailand for a long time. We will turn the realization of this crisis into an opportunity to do get it right. There will be no more harassment and assaults.
The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security will produce a short film to raise awareness and educate everyone on the issue of human trafficking. You will be informed of various consequences that will follow. Panhandlers have been moved to Thanyaburi where they are being trained under the “Thanyaburi Model”. We have to take care of this group as well. Perpetrators will face both disciplinary action and criminal charges. If we do not have this problem removed now, there will be more in the future. The upcoming short film will tell us about human trafficking operations and how victims are treated. It will help us understand the problem and be aware of such crime. Do not join human trafficking operations and help our country fend off this threat. Factors contributing to human trafficking are poverty and social disparities. They would not be scammed if they were not poor. The government will therefore build security and ensure sufficient income for the people.
The project also opens doors for donors who would like to make contributions to foundations working to help human trafficking victims. Donations can be made until September 5th, 2015. Postcards and T-shirts with barcodes will be sold and given away. People who would like to make donations can go to counter service and show the barcode on the T-shirt or the card. You can also directly wire your money to a Krungthai bank account under the name “Ruam Jai Thai Fight Human Trafficking by Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. Account number is 021-0-17650-4. Your contribution may be tax deductible. Please keep your receipt or payslip. The Revenue Department is considering whether the contributions to help victims of human trafficking will be tax deductible. The department will inform you when there is an update. I believe that all the donors will be rewarded for their merit in the end. The deeds that we have done will finally pay off. There is no doubt that people donating to these victims will be rewarded with good merits. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the authorities and related agencies as well as counter services for joining such a great project.
As for the economic situation, Thailand has seen a recovery in the tourism sector. According to a report, Thailand saw a 30 percent increase in the number of tourists in the month of May. Please do not trust faulty information that suggests otherwise. It is not true that there have been fewer tourists in Thailand. We collected these numbers from airports and other reliable sources. The number recorded from hotel occupancy, restaurants and other services rose by 30%. This is a good indicator showing that foreigners have higher confidence in Thailand now -in their safety when they come here due to a peaceful environment while we are in transition towards reforms and a complete democracy. Their confidence in us is growing, even though there are still some groups of people attempting to defame our nation.
The government is still worried about the well-being of farmers and the low income group which includes traders, food vendors, and motorcycle taxis. In the current circumstance, the government is doing its best to help you. Please understand that the government cannot let any illegal activity such as street vending continue. Laws have to be respected. The state can find you another location or help you get into another profession if possible. We will also look into possibilities of turning your businesses into SMEs. Please adopt HM the King’s principle of Sufficiency Economy, which can be beneficial in all aspects. We must know how to apply the principle in the right way, creating our own immunity against possible threats or destabilizing forces. This will help us think clearly. We need to acquire knowledge and uphold code of ethics. Do what you are ready to do. Take a step back if you are not well-prepared. Spend your money wisely and sufficiently. Children should have empathy for their parents. Sometimes, parents cannot afford everything you wish for. The most important thing is that it is a changing world where technology plays a huge role, which is a contradiction to what goes on in Thailand. We still have a high number of low-income people who seem to lack the affordability for these technologies, and yet they still pay for these technologies with their credit cards. This is why Thai people have debts. All companies should know better and stop thinking how to maximize profits without considering the negative social impact of people’s debts. You cannot issue too many credit cards to one person without understanding the person’s capability to pay off the debts. This is when NLPs transpire. How is the government supposed to find a solution to this problem when profits are made by private companies and commercial banks while people are in debt? The government is asking for cooperation in return. Please help our people save money. Do not encourage them to spend more than what they actually have. There are two sides to having a credit card and insurance. Credit cards and insurance make your business grow, more dividend to stockholders, and more bonuses. On the other hand, people who spend will suffer with more debts hanging on their heads. Some people even commit suicide because they cannot pay back what they owe. As you see, everything is interconnected. Everyone only looks to maximize their own benefit while the government holds all the burdens. We need to learn to help and support each other. The government will never be reassured as long as the economy is still unstable. I have been worried since the first day I took office. Low-income people have been suffering for a long time, even long before I became prime minister.
Another issue is land allocation. We will find locations where the poor can generate income. We will make sure everyone has a land of their own to make a living. You need to make plans for your children. Think into the future and picture what you want your children to achieve. Everything must be prepared as the formation of AEC approaches at the end of this year. From next year onwards, there will be more jobs, more exchanges, and more opportunities for everyone. We cannot allow farmers to demand more land when resources are limited. Children of farmers must look for alternatives to support their parents while parents should adopt modern technology to enhance their farming. This is the idea we are trying to implement. The process must start with agricultural zoning where crop farming is supported by the sufficiency of resources such as water and soil. We can build more reservoirs, but it would be meaningless if there is no rain. Many reservoirs have been built, but it is predicted that there will be less water this year. I told everyone to help build dams and reservoirs only to find myself being attacked by the media. My intention was to have people have the ability to rely on themselves before seeking help, as well as supporting the government’s plan to initiate bigger projects. Please heed the state’s advice on zoning and land adjustment.
Agricultural zoning does not only involve the idea of where to grow rice, but the idea as to which rice should be grown in which location. Where should quality rice be planted? Where should organic rice be grown? Which location is suitable for the reproduction of rice? The system will be integrated if these questions can be answered. In terms of production, it must be done in a wholistic approach. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Interior have been assigned to come up with this approach, starting with the upstream level which focuses on cost reduction, clustering, land segmentation, procurement of farming equipment, seedlings, and homemade organic fertilizers. It will surely be cheaper than what you have to buy from the store.
I ask that chemical fertilizers be used less. Chemical fertilizers may be needed in some areas, but in the future, they must be less important. The midstream is when added-value is created. We are used to selling rice in sacks as we have been doing so our whole lives. We need to adopt new approaches to create added-value to our crops. A sack of rice can be turned into organic food, bread, cosmetics products, and some other great ideas that have been proposed to me. However, we still need to control demand and supply, which is the most important thing. Demand from domestic and international markets will determine the amount that should be produced. In terms of production, we should also look at the location and production costs. We can never control the retail price due to more competition, especially when the AEC is formed. There will be more contracts and agreements after ASEAN, which gives us no control over the price.
Farmers will not be able to pull through if we demand high prices when the cost of production remains high. Everybody needs to lend their cooperation toward reducing the cost of production, starting with seeds, machinery and equipment, fertilizers, as well as non-polluting and safe pesticides. Diversification of markets for the products is also needed.
Land lease is a topic of major concern. I have a significant amount of information at present. To do away with exploitation, the laws on land lease and paddy lease are being looked at. An acceptable balance has to be created between the lessor and the lessee. Proper, traceable contracts must be made. Referrals will be made to these contracts when assistance measures are provided in the future. If the contracts remain unchecked, everything will stay the same and all the figures and estimates will be inaccurate. Everything needs to start with the display of honesty amongst each other. It is also necessary to understand the government’s direction and the current state of the nation – everybody must help out. Who will help us if Thais do not help themselves?
Another project receiving the support of the government is the project to increase the capacity of funds for villages and urban communities. The project is being implemented in order to create opportunities and happiness for those in villages and urban communities across the country. The objective is to bring about empowerment, not procurement of items that do not bring about benefits – we should aim for permanency. Some areas have been doing well. Money was given to some 3,000 sub-districts. Collective decision-making has allowed redundancy to be reduced. Continuity has been realized through projects such as cassava drying fields and improvement to small mills. Farmers and the public need to become knowledgeable about such undertakings that lend to continuity.
With the contribution and cooperation of everybody, not much money is needed. This is according to our policy.
Secondly, we must augment all aspects of the agricultural sector. This can be achieved in the form of cooperatives. Cooperatives should also build themselves up as social businesses. To provide more channels for farmers, products purchased by coops might be resold within the circles of SMEs, special economic zones or border trade. This contrasts to having middlemen purchase the produce to sell abroad. Part of the production may have to be for domestic use. For domestic consumption, I believe it would suffice to utilize the social business model of cooperatives. These social businesses might share similarities with the Doi Tung project by HRH the Princess Mother or the Royal projects by His Majesty the King. Currently, people who work under these projects have achieved sufficiency and are happy, as they have adequate income. I have visited many such locales, and the people there would tell me how life has improved and how they no longer had to face difficulties alone – empowerment came with assimilation into a group.
Through such groupings, the state is able to arrange tangible support instead of sporadic payouts to individuals scattered about. How long can such payouts be maintained? Where would the money come from if prices fall again in the future? An inability to pay would afflict the well-being of farmers and everybody else. This big picture has to be understood. Do not only lookout for yourself or your own business. You must foster continuity, in order for the country to become strong. The capabilities of the country have to be improved, as I believe the country is not currently strong enough to face the many dimensions of future changes and threats. I would like to offer this precaution now.
As for the funds, there are 17,146 urban community funds. This accounts for 21.63% of village funds nationwide. The funds have an important role in improving the quality of life of residents within villages and communities. The funds provide working capital for locals, and are managed by locals. They provide communities with capital to create employment and boost income. The funds must not be used for something short-lived – there is little money to go around. Make sure things are clearly organized and avoid lavishing money. The funds can also be turned into a savings center for people to draw on when they reach old age or when they fall ill. Money-related matters for social security are still being dealt with. The funds are also needed for arranging welfare for members of a community, for maintaining hygiene, for securing a village’s water reserves, etc.
Money has to be resupplied to the funds. This cycle has to be maintained year after year. Coverage will be limited and more time will be used up if everything is left to the state. There are currently almost 3 million members of village funds and urban community funds in the northern region. There is at least 41.5692 billion baht of circulation, and no less than 5.63858 billion baht of savings. No less than 1.39881 billion baht of contribution has been made to the funds, and at least 323.75 million baht of interest has been yielded for the purpose of arranging welfare. The state is checking the progress in other regions in order to take each region’s progress to the same level as in the northern region.
I would like Thailand to have the activities I mentioned shortly before – activities that I call social businesses. These already exist in many countries. Nobel-winning Professor Muhammad Yunus explained that businesses which generate appropriate profits while making investments for society can contribute towards the betterment of society and quality of life. An example would be the project to develop Doi Tung, brought about through the royal initiative of HRH the Princess Mother. Similarly, His Majesty’s Royal projects allow people to become self-sufficient. His Majesty also deemed that relying on state budget alone would not be fair for Thais who did not live in areas designated as farm zones or hilltop communities. The state needs to take care of everybody, not only just farmers or mountain dwellers. His Majesty contributed to empowerment as His personal funds were bestowed to allow the projects to start. Today, the projects have vastly developed into businesses, the profits from which are used to empower the community and improve quality of life. Such projects generate knowledge and experience for locals, and also promote sharing. The projects also encourage locals to actively and continually take part in development of their own locales.
I would like to lend strong support to these businesses for society. It can begin with existing community groups or cooperatives. These already exist in many locales. Agricultural cooperatives are especially abundant, and thus I would like to start with them. How do we elevate them to the agricultural produce business? It should provide a channel that would allow people in the country to produce, sell and consume the products. Large companies or multinationals would make up the remaining part. The two should not interfere too much with one another. The large players might employ contract farming.
However, I would like them to make some purchase from these social businesses that sprung from cooperatives or communities. This week, I asked 7-Eleven if they would be able to allow farmers to sell products in front or inside their stores. The company has taken the request for consideration. Such activity should not affect 7-Eleven’s products or those of large companies. These will be community products that will be sold by locals, perhaps in front of the stores. We should give the people this kind of opportunity, so long as the activity does not afflict others, conflict with the law or obstruct traffic. There are ways to make it work. The law is also being used to bring these opportunities to realization. The law is not being solely used to prevent illicit activities. There is also a need to make sure that concrete results take shape.
For the matter of laying the foundations for the Thai economy, we are currently setting up special economic zones, in the form of clusters. The outer perimeter would consist of markets – this might be border markets. This is not where production takes place. The special economic zones are located deeper into Thai territory, further from the border. The clusters will encompass roughly 13 business types. Per the appropriateness for a given area, there may be just 5-6 types for a special economic zone. Proposals for new business types may be submitted to evaluation committees.
Special economic zones may contain industrial estates as well. Two parties are being allowed to carry out activities within special economic zone – industrial estates and private businesses. The resulting manufacturing center would match local demand and the country’s present demand. Technology, labor and labor skill development will be required. There are other locales which possess potential, but these may have to wait until the special economic zones are realized. The special economic zones would facilitate labour as well. Instead of having to come great distances into Thailand, workers will have less problems working at these zones which are located close to the border.
We are setting up 6 zones this year, and another 5-6 next. Then we will look at other areas with potential, which must be in close proximity to neighboring countries. More of such zones can be established, so people can be employed in their own locales and so that the problem of labor shortage can be addressed at the same time. Then, linkage will be created with cooperatives and the social businesses mentioned earlier. Please do not start opposing this undertaking just yet.
Some people do not want anything to happen, but they still want money and income. They want electricity and water, but do not want construction to take place. I am afraid that if we do not build waste treatment plants and other power plants aside from the gas- or oil-types then the electricity fee will rise in the future. We cannot be certain about how the prices of gas and oil will fluctuate. It will be very difficult later on if we do not have measures to mitigate this risk. I am giving an early warning on this. It is not a threat. I am considering the gains of the nation, and of the entire populace. Please try to undertsand.
5 provinces are included within phase 2 of special economic zones creation – Nong Khai, Narathiwat, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phanom and Kanchanaburi. These provinces are in close proximity to the border, and already possess appropriate linkages. Details will be continually presented. Much progress has already been made at present, and much interest has been expressed.
In order to empower communities, it is necessary to bring about ‘stability, prosperity and sustainability’. There are 3 target levels. The first is the very rich, individuals capable of running transnational businesses. The second consists of middle-income individuals such as civil servants and salary men. The segment that requires special care is the low-income segment, which amounts to as much as 50-60% of the population. Many occupations fall into this category. Some persons earn daily wages, some do shift work and some earn monthly wages. It is difficult to live on 9,000-12,000 baht when one has to care for spouse and children. The person has to make do with the sufficiency model. Keeping a household account should help low-income earners keep track of whether their spending was reasonable and optimal.
I want the gap between the rich and the poor to become smaller. This can be achieved through cooperation between the state and the public. Farmers have to help out too, and think of others as well. Thailand is a plentiful country bestowed with several advantages. Presently, we are working to empower ASEAN, and are also empowering Thailand in the process. We are dependent on ASEAN. The global economy is currently in a slow-down period. Many large economies are afflicted with problems. The expected improvement has not been as good as earlier thought. Our own economy is going through its ups and downs. It will continue to do so until we achieve empowerment. We can achieve a level of control over prices if demand and supply do not become overly unbalanced. If the product cannot be sold abroad then it can be consumed within the country – this beats selling abroad for very low price.
Trade and commerce in the country is currently dominated by companies. What if social businesses and cooperatives start contributing to trade? They have to grow in a way that avoids collapse. Many communities and cooperatives are already strong. For example, Thung Kula Rong Hai is Thailand’s best site for rice cultivation. Perhaps this area should be entirely devoted to the best strain of Hom Mali rice we have. Lesser areas might grow other kinds of quality rice, as appropriately suited to the respective area. The products would be different, then. The price drops when everybody rushes to grow the same kind of crop and compete among themselves. This is why I keep saying that farmers need to be knowledgeable about marketing and commerce.
Presently, the groups that are troubled are those who that have experienced loss of income. The first group consists of persons who were at a loss when the government enforced the law to re-organize certain aspects of society and reduce disparities. Simply speaking, this is loss of income from gray businesses. Many people didn’t even realize the illegitimacy of these operations, as they simply followed others into doing what made money. The footpaths and streets are littered with these operations. When arrests are made or vendors are told to move out, they view it as state oppression. Other countries uphold this order too. We are trying to find alternative locations for the vendors, but they are refusing to go. Gray businesses – lotteries, gambling dens, brothels and sale of illegal products – provide many low-income earners with money.
When the spaces for gray businesses recede, these people are troubled because they are not engaged in any other occupation. This is time for self-adjustment. It is a time for transition towards orderliness. Correspondingly the state has to also provide ways to mitigate effects. I do apologize for instances where the implementers cause trouble – sometimes their actions may be too harsh. These policies are the resolutions of the Cabinet. The creation of understanding with affected parties rests with the implementers. I ask this of civil servants at every ministry as well as relevant agencies, provincial governors and Bangkok City Hall. Explanations have to be given so people understand what effects will be had, and so they understand what this law was written for, and which parties stand to benefit. It is not a law written to oppress people. It was written to create synchronization and order. The law exists to facilitate social re-organization for the purpose of allowing people to co-exist without maltreating one another. People will not be troubled by this law so long as they conduct activities correctly. Everybody is troubled now because they have always been conducting their activities the wrong way. This is an example of discord between the state, officials and members of the public. The state needs to correct and improve itself, and so do the people.
Therefore, we have to urgently care for farmers, fishermen, labourers and the underprivileged and provide them with opportunities. Strength and resilience must be fostered at the individual and the community levels. I believe there was a lack of opportunities previously. The majority of the populace did not have adequate access to resources. The state needs to address this at the central, regional and local levels. The most important component is local administrative organizations. Personal gains and favors must be avoided. All members of the public must be cared for equally. Otherwise, you will demand greater power decentralization even though you cannot handle the tasks that come with. Start with distribution of tasks first. Take over the tasks that you can handle well. Additional budgets may be allocated for this purpose. Tasks that you cannot handle should be assigned to other agencies. You have to admit there are few local administrative organizations that are currently ready. This matter can be further debated through the reform process.
I would like everybody to be happy through the use of the sufficiency philosophy, and through application of His Majesty’s guidelines. An example is a small group of farmers in Phrom Phiram District of Phitsanulok. Mr. Thawat Ranthuam had been growing rice for more than 30 years, and has been continually experiencing losses. He was not making enough to sustain the livelihoods of his family members. He switched to jasmine cultivation and also tried his hands at other crops, and discovered that he was able to make more income than doing paddy farming. His jasmine flowers sold for no less than 100 baht a kilogram. With daily sales of between 8 and 10 kilograms, he was able to earn an additional income of at least 800 baht per day. The price rises to 200 baht during certain periods, allowing him to earn 1,600 baht per day or more.
About five households in the sub-district came together for the endeavor, setting a good example for farmers. But please do not all follow suit rush to cultivate jasmine and trigger a price crash. Look into vegetables, grass, lime and what not. There have been criticisms about how I am solving problems by having people dig their own wells and plant their own trees, as though I am throwing the responsibility to the public. You have to help yourself in certain aspects where the state cannot do it for you. We are a democratic country that employs free trade, and we cannot force people in matters of trade and the market. Thus, you must achieve self-reliance. Excesses can be shared, traded and then managed by setting up companies or partnerships. There is a certain order to the progress, using His Majesty the King’s guidelines.
I would like to commend many more groups, cooperatives and farmers who I did not mention. I saw them on TV – on Channel 11, Channel 5, Thai PBS. Take care to watch other things aside from soaps, so you can learn from their examples. Local administrative organizations must carry out self-improvement. Arrange for locals to have first-hand experience on the pressing issues. Broaden your horizons, instead of brooding over how to keep things the way they are. The cost of living is increasing and the world is changing, driven by technology. You cannot subsist solely on agriculture. Both aspects have to be tackled. Produce can only be sold a few times a year at low prices – you need to have alternative jobs and income for your family. Each family has to make its own preparations. The government can facilitate your convenience, but total reliance on the state is not possible as revenue is low and taxes are not being raised.
An ornamental plants and fish festival is now being held at Phadung Canal Market. Flowers, decorative plants and ornamental fish are being featured, as well as vase and flower arrangement. Numerous varieties of flower strains and even plant pots are available at low prices. Nature lovers, hobbyist gardeners and fish keepers can visit the fair from 10 am until 7 pm each day until June 28. There are many beautiful Thai fish. Siamese fighting fish and bettas have become export items. We are very good at breeding them. Exchanges of knowledge in keeping fish and plants can be made. I would like the market to also facilitate knowledge exchange in addition to commerce.
I would like the BMA to accelerate the pace in bringing in boats for sightseeing along the canal. The water level is low because the canals have been drained but the boats will still float. Don’t wait for the water level to rise, and the same goes for other matters. Assignments will not be met if waiting is all that happens. Each assigned task had been pondered over, and a task is considered a policy and an order. See to its realization, in spite of hindrances. If there is little water then find shallow-draft boats. I am not asking you to use boats with large draft. Just fix the spots that present the difficulties. If necessary, then passengers can board another boat along the way. Please finish this within the month. As for the ‘culture road’ festival in May, the event proved highly successful with net turnover of about 25 million baht.
The 28th Southeast Asian Games will officially commence tonight in Singapore, and will be ongoing until June 16. The opening ceremony will be broadcast on Channel 3 after this program. I have moved the program to an earlier time so we can watch the games and cheer on our athletes during 6.30 pm and 10 pm. I have met them in person – they are highly spirited – and told them to aim for the top position. Obviously, they have my support no matter how the results come out. They will fight in a competition of sports. Here in the country we are fighting a battle with poverty and with the economy. Everybody is now caught in the midst of a struggle. I therefore would like everybody to use the guidelines bestowed to Thai people by His Majesty the King that will benefit us all. Even other nations have used this, and have consequently benefitted.
Thank you and goodbye