President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has emphasized the need for better coordination mechanisms between the national and local governments to ensure stable food supply.

“We have to coordinate our efforts on food supply. We cannot just allow 'bahala na kayo (let them be)',” Marcos, as quoted by the Presidential News Desk (PND), said during his meeting with members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) on Thursday.

This, as he acknowledged the local government units' (LGUs) vital role in promoting food security.

Marcos said it is important to lay out plans for the provinces' cropping schedules, yield, soil problems, and use of fertilizers.

“This has to be part of a plan, and that is why, more than ever, the President needs the help of the governors. Dati, ang agriculture (Before, agriculture), for example, was really under the national government,” he said.

Marcos also met with the Department of Trade and Industry earlier this week to ensure that cheaper fertilizers would be made available for farmers.

In July, Marcos ordered agriculture officials to come up with a farm-to-market road (FMR) masterplan that will serve as the administration's guide in promoting food security and empowering rural communities.

Marcos said the masterplan should contain regional maps detailing the exact locations of the FMRs that will be built.

He added that the funding source, payment terms, and the time frame for project completion should be included in the FMR masterplan.

Digital cooperation

During the meeting with LPP, Marcos also expressed his intent for strengthened cooperation between the national government and LGUs in the field of digitalization.

Marcos issued the statement, as he noted that local governments are good when it comes to digital connectivity.

“Marami sa inyong medyo progressive, inunahan niyo na ang national government (Some of you are somehow progressive and faster in information dissemination than the national government). Now, we have to bring the system together. Kailangan ‘yung information na hawak ng isang probinsya, ng isang agency, accessible doon sa kabila (The information each province or agency has must be accessible to others) as long as they have authorization,” he said.

The national government and LGUs, Marcos said, must be "literally interconnected."

"So, that’s another area where we are hoping that we can strengthen the cooperation – the planning, the coordination between national government and local government,” the President said.

In his first State of the Nation Address delivered on July 25, Marcos unveiled his administration’s plan for digital transformation through the so-called "BroadBand ng Masa" project.

Marcos tasked the Department of Information and Communications Technology to ensure digital connectivity across the country, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. (PNA)