Piñol joins ranks of gov’t contractual workers
DAVAO CITY—Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Wednesday said that he had joined the ranks of government contractual workers after the Commission on Appointments (CA) deferred his confirmation.
“I will not question the decision to defer, neither would I identify the CA member who moved for the deferment of my confirmation,” Piñol said.
It was actually the committee on agriculture, which deferred action on Piñol’s confirmation on the motion of Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, who said she wanted Piñol to expound more on the policies concerning the lifting of the qualitative restrictions on rice in June next year.
Sato said she also wanted Piñol to explain the transfer of four agencies from the Office of the President to the Department of Agriculture.
The CA will deliberate on his appointment after the Christmas break.
Piñol said regardless of the decision of the CA, he would not budge in his position on the quantitative restrictions on rice imports.
“Let me clarify that I have not changed my position on the issue of the lifting of the quantitative restriction (QR) on imported rice and emphasize that I, as the representative of the Filipino rice farmers in government, hold the position that the QR should be extended for another two years,” he said.
Piñol said changing his position would be a disservice to the country’s agriculture sector because the extension of the QR was a result of a nationwide consultation with farmers.
“I also emphasized that even with the end of the QR in July 2017, cheaper imported rice may not be allowed entry into the country until the country’s Tariff Code has been amended, which will require congressional action,” he said.
Piñol said the flooding of imported rice in the local market “will work against the interest of the Filipino rice farmers.” —KARLOS MANLUPIG
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