Marcos taking the helm of agriculture department welcomed by outgoing chief

Outgoing Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar (left) and President-elect Ferdinand
Outgoing Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar (left) and President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. (Photos: Dar - SunStar; Marcos – AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Outgoing Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar praised President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision to be the temporary head of the agency.

In a presser on Tuesday (June 21) Dar said that this shows the president-elect’s “political will” to face, and resolve, the issues surrounding the agricultural sector.

“The decision for [President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr.] to take leadership, even for a short period, is a very strategic decision which tells everyone that, ‘yes, agriculture is the priority of my administration and that I will see to it that the plans and programs of the sector are the real plans and programs’,” Dar said.

While talks of transition have not yet taken place, Dar said that he already has some ideas for the president-elect to make good with his promise to lower the price of rice, which he said can be brought down to P27.50 per kilo in four to six years.

Aside from this, Dar said that the challenges for the incoming administration in the agriculture sector is to ensure sufficient food supply amidst the looming global food crisis, lower agricultural production and the rising inflation, and the protracted war between Russia and Ukraine which global security experts predict could last for years.

Unang dapat na gawin ay i-clean up ang Department of Agriculture. Ang nabanggit kasi niya is, of course, high yield [crop] ang kailangan natin,” Rosendo So, chairman of farming group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG).

(The first thing that needs to be done is to clean up the Department of Agriculture. What he always says is, of course, we need a high yield [crop].)

SINAG is also calling for support for the fisheries sector. “Imagine, ang bangus (milkfish) ini-import pa natin, 70% galing Indonesia.

(Imagine, we still import something as basic as milkfish, with 70% coming from Indonesia.)

Meanwhile, fisherfolk group Pamalaya, a federation of small fisherfolk organizations, wants liberalization policies like the Rice Tariffication Law to be repealed.

Kung talagang sinsero siya na masolusyunan ang problema sa krisis sa pagkain, dapat pakinggan niya yung matagal nang panawagan ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda na talikuran yung dahilan kung bakit nagkakakrisis, halimbawa, yung liberalization policies,” Ronnie Arambulo of Pamalakaya said in an interview with ANC.

(If he’s really sincere about resolving the food crisis, he should heed the call of farmers and fisherfolk to abandon the main reason behind these crises, like the liberalization policies.)

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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