FOOD SECURITY. Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles answers queries during the Palace press briefing on Monday (Sept. 12, 2022). She said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and members of his Cabinet discussed efforts being done to achieve sustainability and food security in the country. (Photo courtesy of OPS)

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and members of his Cabinet discussed on Monday efforts being done to achieve sustainability and food security in the country, Malacañang announced Monday.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Transport (DOTR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) presented reports that identified factors hindering the country’s food security during the 7th Cabinet meeting convened by Marcos at Malacañan Palace in Manila.

“Nagkaroon tayo ng (We had a) Cabinet meeting today and we discussed primarily food security. We are identifying the factors that hinder our food security and several agencies were there to report),” she said in a Palace press briefing.

She said the government is aiming to achieve food security “in general”, but with a focus on the supply of rice, pork, fish and vegetables.

Topics identified for possible policy review and legislation were the barriers to efficient transportation, red tape, permit system, and the crossing of boundaries between local government units.

“We’re also looking at a review of policy and possible legislation to balance importation with local production and to address the issues of over and under production,” she said.

“There are quite many overlaps so all departments will be working together on the policy review, assessment review, and proposals,” she added.

Cruz-Angeles said she would make further announcements once details are completed but noted that recognizing the problem is the first step of addressing it.

“These are what we are going to set either if it’s for priority legislation and if we’re going to look at policies that do not require legislation we’re going to that immediately. The various agencies just need to work out the standards between themselves,” she said.

Meanwhile, she assured the public that the DA has never been remiss in providing information about the country’s agriculture industry.

In his first month as President and agriculture secretary, Marcos gave a marching order to boost the production of rice, corn, vegetables, pork and poultry.

He also called for the review of the rice tariffication law and how it affected local farmers.

Marcos said one of the "main drivers" that would push growth and employment in the country would be the agriculture sector.

The Marcos administration's proposed 2023 national expenditure plan is seeking to improve the performance of the agriculture sector with a proposed budget of PHP184.1 billion for the DA, its attached corporations, and the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Earlier, Marcos said the Philippines may tap Indonesia as among its non-traditional sources of fertilizer supply following his three-day state visit to the country from Sept. 4 to 6.

He said Indonesia has also agreed to help improve the Philippines' fisheries sector and export coal to the country. (PNA)