PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. appointed fishing tycoon and campaign donor Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. as the new Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary.
PBBM administered the oath of office to the newly appointed DA secretary in Malacañang on Nov. 3.
Laurel was reportedly a major contributor to President Marcos’ campaign after donating P30 million to his political party, the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.
“It is time that we have found somebody who understands very well the problems that agriculture is facing, and the reason for the timing, is that now we are confident that we have a fair understanding of what it is that needs to be done, what are the problems,” the President said.
“Nauunawaan niya, hindi lamang kung anong problema, kung hindi ang mga solusyon sa problemang ‘yon. Bukod pa diyan, kilala na niya ang mga tao, mga expert, mga professional, madali niyang malapitan para mabigyan ng solusyon ang problema sa larangan ng agrikultura,” he added.
In his marching orders, President Marcos challenged the new secretary to address the surging prices of agricultural commodities that have been a long-standing problem of the sector.
He also told the secretary to improve the management of African swine fever, and avian flu. “Immediate term, hindi lang short term, kailangan natin ma-control, at the same time ang long term, yung production at cost of production, mechanization,” he added.
President Marcos also said agricultural practices from neighboring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam must be studied to determine if they are applicable in the country.
Laurel Jr., in his remarks, said his main advocacy is to ensure food security and the welfare of farmers and fisherfolks so that they can benefit from their fruit of labor. He will prioritize modernization of the agricultural sector to achieve their targets.
“Pangunahing adhikain ko ang matiyak na masagana ang ating ani at siguraduhing ito ay makakarating sa hapag ng bawat Pilipino. Layunin ko na tiyakin na may sapat at masustansyang pagkain na mabibili ng ating mga kababayan sa tamang halaga,” Laurel said.
“Malapit sa puso ko ang kapatid nating magsasaka at mangingisda, dahil personal kung natunghayan ang mga hirap at pangarap nila, asahan po ninyong laging bukas ang aking tanggapan sa inyong lahat,” he added.
Laurel Jr. will replace Marcos who occupied the position of secretary for over a year.
The new secretary is the president of Frabelle Fishing Corporation, a fishing company established in 1966.
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