‘I’m here to help’—Francis Pangilinan
MANILA, Philippines—A day after being named the Presidential Assistant for Food Security, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said that he would not take over the position of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, rather help the official in dealing with a range of farming issues.
“I think the Secretary is still the primary point-person,” Pangilinan said Tuesday at a media briefing in Malacañang. “I am here to support, to give additional help for the problems of the Department and the sector.”
With just a couple of years remaining in the term of President Benigno Aquino III, Pangilinan said that there would be no revamp in the four agencies that he would oversee. There are the National Food Authority, National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.
Pangilinan added that in the remaining two years, he will work with Alcala to address the issues in “vast” agriculture sector.
He added that a revamp in the four agencies under him would be nearly impossible and all he could do is bring in some people and work with the bureaucracy.
“I am here to learn to work with the bureaucracy, and inspire them to go to the direction to achieve our goals,” the former chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture said.
Pangilinan, however, would use the remaining two years in the Aquino presidency to “clean up” the mess that has plagued Alcala and the Agriculture Department for the past four years.
He pointed out that one of the first things he would do is to provide opportunities to farming and fishing folk, adding that the two groups are the “poorest of the poor.”
“They are the poorest of the poor in the country, the ones who rely on the agriculture for their livelihood,” said Pangilinan, who took a one year hiatus from the government to work on his farm.
“If the government wants to focus on inclusive growth, they should focus on the problems of the farmers and the fishermen.”
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