Agriculture chief: Bongbong Marcos' decision to lead DA shows 'political will' | Inquirer News
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Agriculture chief: Bongbong Marcos’ decision to lead DA shows ‘political will’

/ 01:42 PM June 21, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision to lead the Department of Agriculture (DA) shows his “political will,” the agency’s outgoing chief William Dar said on Tuesday.

“We welcome the decision of President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to personally oversee and be at the helm of the Department of Agriculture. This is the brand of ‘political will’ that we have been advocating since we assumed office in August 2019,” Dar said during a press briefing in Quezon City.

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Dar also called Marcos Jr.’s take over of DA a “victory” in the agriculture sector.

“We see this pronouncement as a victory of the DA in rousing broad public support towards the sector’s rehabilitation and empowerment,” Dar said.

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“His resolve to take the reins is a strong indication of this. We are confident this will augur an unprecedented ‘whole-of-government’ movement for the urgent attainment of food sovereignty in this time of crisis,” he added.

READ: Bongbong Marcos to head agriculture department in concurrent post

Marcos Jr. himself announced the development on Monday, saying he decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture, “at least for now,” because “the problem is severe enough.”

He also 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.”

Meanwhile, farmer’s organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said that Marcos Jr. “should brace himself to be deluged with long-standing issues and problems concerning the agriculture sector.”

Among the challenges Marcos Jr. should face as DA chief are the price increase of fertilizer and farm inputs, the effects of the Rice Liberalization Law and the “unstoppable” smuggling and illegal importation of vegetables and agricultural products mostly from China, according to KMP.

“Among the tall order for Marcos Jr. as Agri chief is to address the skyrocketing prices of fertilizer that is hurting farmers,” said KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos in a statement, noting that the fertilizer prices have gone up by more than 300 percent since the pandemic — from P800 per 50-kg bag in 2020 to P3,000 per 50-kg bag in May this year.

Ramos also dared Marcos Jr. to “weed out the so-called untouchables among high-ranking officials involved in smuggling.”

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TAGS: Agriculture, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
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