Marcos’ prioritizing agriculture good move, Negros leaders say

Rice farmers at Barangay Tuyom in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.*Ronnie Baldonado photo

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s announcement that he will prioritize increasing the country’s food production when he takes over as concurrent head of the Department of Agriculture (DA) was hailed as a good move in Negros Occidental on Tuesday, June 21.

This is a sign that he is giving high priority to agriculture, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said.

If the president leads the DA the response will be fast because right then and there he can make a decision that becomes executory immediately, Lacson said.

“I think he just wants to tell us that he is really giving agriculture a priority, we being an agricultural country,” the governor added.

Ramon Uy Sr., an organic farming advocate, said Marcos’ opting to head the DA is an excellent move.

“He could focus the bulk of resources of the government on agriculture, and assure farmers of a ready market,” Uy said.

The president could also tap the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, he added.

Uy said with the high prices of fertilizer, it is time to produce our own organic fertilizer using farm waste, and to push for rural industrialization through the setting up of the Pandayan ng Bayan.

“President BBM is risking his political capital but it’s worth the risk, for our sake let’s rally behind him and give our full support,” Uy added.

Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines, said it is a good move that Marcos will take over the DA.

“For one he hails from an agriculture province and since he is president he could allocate more funds for agriculture where it is needed. I think this will be very good for the agriculture sector,” Lamata said.

Marcos, in a press briefing, pointed out that the rice exportation ban being currently imposed by Thailand and Vietnam, the Philippines’ main sources of imported rice, leaves the country with no choice but to increase its local production.

Marcos said he was assuming the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture due to the severity of the problem that the country would face with a looming food crisis and the continued increase in food prices.

There may be a need to review the P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund created by Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, he also said.*

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