With Bongbong Marcos as chief, senators expect deeper scrutiny, faster decision-making at DA | Inquirer News
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With Bongbong Marcos as chief, senators expect deeper scrutiny, faster decision-making at DA

/ 07:06 PM June 21, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Several incumbent and incoming senators have welcomed the decision of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to temporarily lead the Department of Agriculture (DA), saying this will prompt wider scrutiny in the agency and faster decision-making on critical issues.

“I am expecting the incoming president to scrutinize everything. He knows what’s going on. As a matter of fact—I’m not sure if I’m at liberty to say so—but I know for a fact that he already has a list of those involved in the smuggling,” outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III told reporters.

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READ: Bongbong Marcos ‘bothered, disgusted’ by corruption in DA, Customs — Sotto

This, as he described as an “excellent decision” the move of Marcos Jr. to take the helm of the DA for now.

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“Unfortunately, with due respect, the Department of Agriculture has been embroiled in so much corruption, especially in the issue of technical smuggling and what have you. Kaya napakaganda na desisyon na ang pangulo muna ang magiging Secretary of Agriculture,” he added.

Earlier, Marcos Jr. said he will serve as agriculture chief “at least for now” given the “severe” problems hounding the agriculture sector.

READ: Bongbong Marcos to head agriculture department in concurrent post

Senator-elect and outgoing Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero, for his part, believes Marcos Jr. “can cut a lot of red tape” as DA chief.

“By taking on this portfolio, PBBM can cut a lot of red tape and it automatically puts at the disposal of the Department and the agriculture sector all the resources of [the] government behind it,” Escudero said in a message to reporters.

Senator-elect Jinggoy Estrada likewise welcomed the decision of the President-elect. He said this “shows how decisive and very hands-on” Marcos Jr. is.

“It may not be the end-all and be-all solution to all the problems besetting the agricultural sector including the food crisis but for sure decision making will be really fast and solutions can be undertaken and implemented right away dahil ang Pangulo na mismo ang nagkukumpas (because the President is in charge),” Estrada said in a message.

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Meanwhile, Senators Sonny Angara and Nancy Binay and Senator-elect JV Ejercito said Marcos Jr.’s decision shows how the incoming administration views the country’s agricultural sector as its priority.

Binay said that while a whole-of-government approach is needed to resolve these problems, the incoming president serving as the DA secretary provides “extra powers” to efforts seeking to address issues in the sector, such as smuggling, among others.

“Dito natin nakikita yung gaano kahalaga sa [Marcos] administration ang sektor ng agrikultura kasi no less than the president would focus doon sa pangangailangan ng sektor ng agrikultura alam naman natin na sobrang laki ng problema natin,” she said in an interview with reporters.

“Hindi lang naman yung DA ang may problema e, kailangan ng convergence from all agencies, for example, yung usapin ng smuggling. Kung ikaw ang president madali mong sabihan ang BOC (Bureau of Customs) na bantayan nyo yan para to prevent ang pagpasok ng smuggled food items sa atin sa bansa natin. Kumbaga extra powers for me kung yung president ang uupong secretary,” she added.

Ejercito, meanwhile, the President-elect’s decision sends a “strong signal” to the agencies under the DA “that they should all get their acts together.”

je/abc

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TAGS: DA, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Nation, News, senators
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