Ordered to clean up DA, Kiko Pangilinan gets 4 big agencies
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2014 - 4:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday took oath as the new Presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Pangilinan said he was tasked to address the issues on food security, to fix the processes in rice importation and exportation and to advance the welfare of agricultural workers.

"Food security can only be done when you secure your farmers and fisherfolk so the overall (solution) is to address that," Pangilinan said in the televised briefing.

He said part of his job is to help address corruption and smuggling in the agriculture sector.

"Ang sinabi ng ating Pangulo, I am here to help clean up these agencies, so ‘yon ang kanyang sinabi sa akin. So kasama ang pag-address dito sa mga usapin ng katiwalian at itong smuggling," Pangilinan said.

"The marching orders are to clean it up so we will do what we can - as best we can - to help in that respect," he also said.

With his new post, Pangilinan clarified that he will not be superior to Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Pangilinan said he will only be a support person to the agency and that he will oversee the National Food Authority, the National Irrigation Authority, the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.

The former chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and a full-time vegetable farmer, Pangilinan said there are serious concerns and issues affecting the agriculture sector that would need his attention.

"Maliwanag marami pang mga problema na kinakailangang lutasin kung kaya't mahalaga na magtulungan upang yung mga programang hindi pa naipapatupad ay maaari nating bigyang diin," Pangilinan said.

The former senator also believes that President Aquino, who has only two years left in office, probably decided to tap his services since time is running out for him to address the problems in the agriculture sector.

"I think the President felt the need to fast-track (the government's programs) and to add support," Pangilinan said. "Malawak na sangay ang sektor ng agrikultura kaya't mabuti na may dagdag na tao."

Panglinan's appointment comes amid the allegations of corruption that have been raised against Alcala.

During his appointment, Pangilinan said President Aquino did not bring up Alcala's corruption issues and supposed shortcomings as agriculture chief.

AGRICULTURE ALCALA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA FORMER SENATOR FRANCIS PANGILINAN NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY NATIONAL IRRIGATION AUTHORITY PANGILINAN PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY AND THE FERTILIZER AND PESTICIDE AUTHORITY PRESIDENT AQUINO
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