NEXT DA CHIEF. President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. announces he will be the temporary Agriculture chief in a briefing on Monday (June 20, 2022). The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, expressed confidence in the incoming leadership of Marcos. (Photo Courtesy: Bongbong Marcos Media Group)

MANILA – The Agriculture department expressed Tuesday its confidence in the whole-of-government approach under the incoming leadership of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Marcos' decision to temporarily lead the Department of Agriculture (DA) implies his prioritization of food security in the country, amid the looming global food crisis.

“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 said.

Dar noted this has been the "political will" they are advocating in the DA, especially since challenges from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic remain.

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

On Monday, Dar noted that the next agriculture secretary must not only be "strong and diligent" but also decisive to push reforms and put a premium on economies of scale or the increasing of production outputs with the cost of production reduced.

Jayson Cainglet, executive director of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), meanwhile, welcomed Marcos as the incoming DA Chief.

In his interview in the Tutok Tulfo program, Cainglet said this would streamline procedures to benefit local farmers.

"Tinulak talaga ng industriya na hawakan muna ni president-elect Marcos 'yung portfolio sa DA, para mas mabilis na aksyon, kasi po kung iba pang secretary magtatalo pa sa gabinete, bago pa makarating sa presidente, mas maganda po ang panukala namin na siya na mismo ang humawak pansamantala para maibalik natin 'yung sigla ng lokal na agrikultura," he said.

(The industry pushed for the leadership of President-elect Marcos over DA portfolio for speedier actions, because if we will have another secretary, there will still be debates, before it reaches the president's office, our advocacy of him leading the department is better to revitalize the local industry of agriculture.)

However, he expressed doubt about the feasibility of Marcos' desire to provide the public at this time with a PHP20/per kilo of rice in the market due to high oil price and cost of production inputs.

Moreover, Cainglet stressed the urgency to increase local production instead of resorting to importation. (PNA)