Outgoing DA chief welcomes President-elect Marcos Jr’s decision to head agri dep’t

Transition report already prepared, says Secretary Dar

Outgoing Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar. (Photo courtesy DA)

(Eagle News) – The Department of Agriculture welcomed the decision of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to head the department once he assumes the presidency on June 30.

Outgoing DA Secretary William Dar described the President-elect’s decision as “very strategic” and said that Marcos Jr., leading the department would benefit Philippine agriculture.

“We welcome the decision of President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to personally oversee and be at the helm of the Department of Agriculture. This is the brand of ‘political will’ that we have been advocating since we assumed office in August 2019,” Dar said in a press statement.

He said that they have already prepared a “transition report, outlining the short-, medium- and long- terms plans of the Department to significantly increase the productivity of key commodities such as rice and corn, and other fishery products, and augment the incomes of farmers and fisherfolk.”

-DA recommendations and policy proposals –

“The present leadership is ready to brief the President-elect at his most convenient time, and we assure him of our strong support and cooperation, as we truly want him to succeed,” Dar said.

He said that the entire DA family was more than willing to brief and assist President-elect Marcos and is fully supportive of efforts for the country to attain food security and sovereignty.

The DA’s transition report contains the current state of the Philippine agriculture, as well as recommendations and policy proposals. It is divided into five chapters: 1) Unfinished Business of the Sector, 2) Situational Analysis over two decades, 3) Policy Recommendations, 4) Major Accomplishments of DA, and 5) Agenda Forward.

Dar said Marcos Jr’s move to lead the DA is a “victory of the DA in rousing public support towards the sector’s rehabilitation and empowerment.”

“His resolve to take the reins is a strong indication to this. We are confident this will augur an unprecedented ‘whole-of-government’ movement for the urgent attainment of food sovereignty in this time of crisis,” DA said of the President-elect’s pronouncements.

Dar said he would be sharing the list of programs that the next administration should prioritize, including the Balanced Fertilization Strategy, which will upscale the use of bio-fertilizers and stimulants. He suggested also an increase in the budget for fuel and fertilizer subsidy to subsidize other commodities such as vegetables.

A DA release also listed these other programs currently being implemented by the department under the “Plant, Plant, Plant” program part 2.  These are the following:

• Provision of fuel and fertilizer subsidies;

• Local feeds formulation and production; • Urban and Peri-urban farming, including vegetable production, in provinces not frequently

visited by typhoons;

• Aquaculture and mariculture production; and

• Food mobilization through Kadiwa marketing program.

The outgoing DA chief said he is also proposing to transfer the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) back to the Department from the Office of the President.

He also suggested for the next Congress to consider the creation of a Bureau of Agri-Industry and Cooperatives Development, under the DA supervision. He also proposed the institutionalization of the Kadiwa marketing program and a food terminal system.

-Modernization of agriculture pushed-

“We have crafted a 10-year National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan (NAFMIP), and we fervently hope the President-elect will favorably consider it to attain our joint aspiration of food security and food sovereignty in the next six years,” Dar said.

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., during his press briefing on Monday, June 20, 2022, where he announced that he will head the Department of Agriculture once he assumes the presidency on June 30, 2022.

On Monday, June 20, President-elect Marcos Jr., announced that he would be temporarily leading the DA due to “severe” problems in the agriculture sector.   He said that he needs to take on the job as DA chief as he foresees a food crisis in the next few months because of the still raging conflict in Ukraine.

The President-elect said he also planned to reorganize the department.

(Eagle News Service)