Marcos Jr. to lead Agriculture department 'for now' amid food crisis


MANILA, Philippines (Updated June 21, 11:55 a.m.) — President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said he is taking on the helm of the Department of Agriculture “for now” because “the problem is severe enough” given the rising costs of commodities in recent weeks.

At a press briefing Monday afternoon, Marcos Jr. said he will be focusing on the department to secure the country’s food supply chain, which has been affected by “outside forces” such as the Ukraine-Russia war. 

He said he plans to increase production in a bid to counter rising food prices. 

“We will rebuild the value chain of agriculture and that is why it is important that the president take that portfolio so that not only to make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agricultural sector,” Marcos Jr. said.

The president-elect also plans to restructure the department would also make it ready for what the country would need post-pandemic. However, this is seen as his long-term plan for the department. 

Marcos Jr. noted that many of the agencies have already adjusted their functions, including the National Food Authority, which works on ensuring food security and the production and price of grain rice in the country. 

He also names food processing government agency Food Terminal, Inc. as well as the Kadiwa program, a marketplace of agricultural products with cheaper prices. These

“We have to restructure the actual department so [as] to be more responsive to the global situation now when it comes to [the] food supply,” Marcos Jr. said.

The president-elect said he already asked his economic team to prepare an economic forecast to help the country prepare.

Meanwhile, for the appointment of other cabinet officials, Marcos Jr. said: “I really want to get as many of those done before the inauguration.”

Marcos Jr. can create resilient food security — presidential adviser

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion welcomed the president-elect's decision, saying that many micro, small, and medium enterprises are based in agriculture. 

According to Concepcion, it would be a natural choice for Marcos Jr. to continue his father's projects in the sector.

“There are many programs that his father started that I believe can be revived and will redound to benefits for the country’s agriculture sector,” Concepcion said.

“Masagana 99, the Food Terminal Inc. and the Kadiwa stores are only but a few of the projects that I believe can be revisited today,” he added.

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