Senate to Tiu Laurel: Fix DA’s ‘Dept of Importation’ issue

Senate to Tiu Laurel: Fix DA’s ‘Dept of Importation’ issue

/ 02:18 PM November 03, 2023

Senate to Tiu Laurel: Fix DA's 'Dept of Importation' issue

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (left) and newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. (right) share a chat after a press conference held at Malacañang grounds in Manila on Friday, November 3, 2023. (Photo from Leagogo)

MANILA, Philippines — Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.’s appointment as the country’s agriculture secretary was warmly welcomed by senators on Friday.

Most of them expressed hope he will be given time to prove himself deserving of the post.


In separate statements, seven senators said they were delighted by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision to appoint a full-time Department of Agriculture (DA) chief.


Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said he is glad Marcos himself personally headed DA for a certain period.

But, at the same time, he stressed it is also right that DA will now “be helmed by a new Secretary who can be devoted to the agriculture sector, and not have to juggle it with other national concerns.”

“And now that the baton has been passed on to Secretary [Tiu] Laurel, I wish him well in all his endeavors,” said Zubiri.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, on the other hand, specifically noted it was “a good decision” to finally appoint an agriculture secretary.

READ: The wait-and-see period for Bongbong Marcos’ ‘P20 rice’ promise

He said, “increasing the country’s food production should be a top priority.”

“Now, if the question is if Mr. Tiu Laurel is a good choice for DA Secretary, let us give him time to prove himself,” Pimentel urged the public.


“Given Mr. Laurel’s success as a businessman in the fishing sector, then, that may be evidence of his knowledge of some agricultur[al] issues,” he surmised.

“However, I want to remind the new DA Secretary of the constitutional requirement for divestment from business interests of cabinet members,” Pimentel advised Tiu Laurel.

“That would be a great sacrifice for him and I wish him all the best,” the lawmaker said.

Similar to what Pimentel pointed out, Senator Francis Tolentino said Tiu Laurel should be given a “chance to work,” regardless of his background in the fisheries industry.

“The agricultural industry is more than just fisheries, and its underlying issues are firmly-rooted,” said Tolentino.

The lawmaker believes, “Only the passage of time will reveal whether the President’s decision to appoint him was a wise one.”

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero commended Marcos for finally choosing a full-time DA secretary.

Escudero personally knows Tiu Laurel and the lawmaker describes the appointee as one who has “extensive knowledge” in fishing and agriculture.

“I know him to be a sincere, no-nonsense, honest and hardworking patriot. I congratulate Secretary Tiu Laurel on his appointment, wish him well and look forward to working with him,” he said.

Senator Bong Revilla, on the other hand, said Tiu Laurel is the “right man for the job.”

“There is no doubt on his competence and capability in steering the department towards the revitalization of agriculture and attaining food security in the country,” he remarked.

“The President will be able to channel his attention to other equally important matters of the country while leaving the department in very capable hands,” he added.

For Senator Grace Poe, Tiu Laurel must have the following traits to be able to fulfill the “gargantuan tasks” as the new DA chief: Focus, fortitude to get things done, and a genuine feeling for the sector.

“As the first order of the day, we hope the new DA chief would take to heart the President’s warning in his State of the Nation Address against smugglers, hoarders and price fixers,” said Poe.

She likewise observed there is a need for long-lasting programs to increase the agricultural production in the Philippines.

“Our hardworking farmers and fishers, who bring food on the table, must not go hungry and must not remain poor,” emphasized Poe.

Meanwhile, Senator JV Ejercito said Tiu Laurel might be the person who can solve the troubles hounding DA, which he jokingly called ‘Department of Importation.’

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“I am wishing newly appointed Secretary [Tiu] Laurel all the best to be able to fix a very complicated problem that is the DA,” said Ejercito.

TAGS: appointment, Bongbong Marcos

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