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Bongbong Marcos to head agriculture department in concurrent post

/ 05:14 PM June 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will head the Department of Agriculture (DA) in a concurrent capacity in the first part of his administration.

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Marcos himself announced this on Monday ahead of his oath as president on June 30.

“As for agriculture, I think that the problem is severe enough that I have decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture, at least for now,” Marcos said in a press briefing in Mandaluyong City.

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“At least until we can re-organize the Department of Agriculture in the way that will make it ready for the next years to come,” he further said.

Marcos said that the move to head the agriculture department will “make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agriculture sector.”

“We’re going back to basics and trying and we will rebuild the value chain of agriculture. And that is why I thought it is important that the president take that portfolio so that not only to make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agriculture sector,” Marcos said.

“[It is also] a practical matter so that things move quickly because the events of the global economy are moving very quickly. We have to be able to be agile, we have to be able to respond properly in a measured way as soon as there is a situation that needs to be addressed,” he added.

According to Marcos, there are two areas that he thought should be his priorities as he takes on the role of agriculture chief: increase rice production, and re-organize the agriculture department.

Marcos pointed out that the export pact between Thailand and Vietnam, two of the largest sources of imported rice in the Philippines, to form a rice export cartel calls for the increase in rice production here.

“There are many priorities that we have to attend to simultaneously. First of all will be to try and increase production as we come into the harvest period during, before, and after the rainy season,” he said. “Hopefully, we can counteract some of the increases in prices.”

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Marcos also stressed the need to re-organize the DA — particularly its attached agencies, the National Food Authority, the Food Terminal Incorporated, and the Kadiwa program.

“The other priority which is equally important, although it is a long-term process, is the restructuring of the DA. As I have mentioned many times before, many of the agencies have changed their function over the years and maybe it’s time to return them,” Marcos said.

“We have to restructure the actual department so as to be more responsive to the global situation now when it comes to food supply,” he added.

Russia-Ukraine war and impact to PH

Marcos further said that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has also affected the Philippine agricultural sector, particularly in terms of food supply and prices.

The incoming president said he has asked various agencies such as the Department of Finance, the Department of Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Department of Trade and Industry to have economic forecasts on what the country may face for the rest of the year, and they have collectively pointed to rising food prices in the coming months.

“We have been able in the Philippines, in the last few weeks, to adjust to the new situation in terms of the imports from Ukraine and from Russia,” Marcos said.

“But these emergency measures that we have taken will not be sufficient for the long run and that’s why we have to plan in a more thorough fashion than just responding,” he added.

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TAGS: Department of Agriculture, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
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