MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday said he would give up his concurrent position as the head of the Department of Agriculture (DA) only after completely addressing the pressing issues hounding the agriculture sector.
In a media interview during the turnover of RMB (renminbi)100 million (PHP782.68 million) worth of urea fertilizers donated by China in Valenzuela City, Marcos said the recent issues, including the rising prices of agricultural commodities and fertilizers, have left him with no choice but to maintain his DA portfolio.
“During the beginning of this year, naging crisis lahat ng food supply, ng food prices, lahat ng fertilizer prices. (there was a crisis on good supply, food prices and fertilizers),” Marcos said, when quizzed as to when he would name the new Agriculture secretary.
“We were just trying to put up emergency measures para naman mabigyan natin ng kaunting tulong at suporta ang ating mga magsasaka (so we could provide assistance and support to our farmers). Ngayon (Now), more or less the prices of agriculture commodities are beginning to stabilize,” he added.
Marcos bared that his Cabinet does not want him to vacate the DA post for now, amid his relentless efforts to make “some very important structural changes” in the department.
Staying as agriculture chief, Marcos said he would continue to make structural changes aimed at increasing food production, ensuring food sufficiency, and averting possible food crises.
“Ang aking hangarin para sa DA ay ‘pag iniwanan ko ang (My dream for DA is when I leave) DA, by that time, we will have systems in place so that we can guarantee the food supply of the Philippines, number one, we can guarantee that the prices are affordable, and number three that our farmers make a good living,” he said.
“So, hangga't matapos natin 'yun (until I am able to do that), I suppose you will just have to put up with me as DA Secretary,” Marcos added.
In August 2022, Marcos said sustainable livelihood for farmers, food security and affordable food for all are his three “dreams” for the country’s agriculture sector.
Marcos in November last year also said it would take some time before he finally gives up the DA portfolio, as the list of candidates to replace him “keeps changing.”
In March this year, Marcos said he prefers to appoint a successor who is an expert in the field of agriculture. (PNA)