Surigao del Sur farmers are earning money through a ‘rat blanketing scheme’

Ricefield rat, from the image bank of the International Rice Research Institute
Ricefield rat, from the image bank of the International Rice Research Institute
The deep recession brought about by the pandemic has meant that everyone has had to be a little creative in finding ways to earn extra cash. For rice farmers in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, a little money-making scheme that is doubly beneficial to the entire town.
Dubbed Oplan Rat Blanketing, the program awards farmers a bounty of Php7.50 for every severed rat tail they bring to the local government unit. The rat tails are taken as proof that a rat has been killed, in the hope that the incentive would help quell the rat infestation that has apparently plagued the area.
This grisly scheme isn’t new—rats-for-money schemes have been popular throughout history. However, it hasn’t always led to the intended results: In Hanoi, Vietnam in 1902, the French colonial government also offered money for every rat tail produced. Known as the Hanoi Rat Massacre, the scheme was initially successful. However, people began to notice large numbers of tailless rats in Hanoi. Turns out that the enterprising rat catchers would trap the rats, cut off their tails, and then release the vermin back into the sewers in the hope that they would make more rats (and more money for the rat catchers).
Obviously, this is something nobody wants to happen especially since we’re still in the middle of another plague.
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