Food czar

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino has appointed former senator Francis Pangilinan as the country’s food czar, barely two years before PNoy bows out of office.

Pangilinan’s official title is Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, with Cabinet rank.

Our hope of becoming a rice exporting country has been dashed to pieces.

But we still need to be assured we’d have enough rice, otherwise, we’d be forced to eat cake or meat.

***

Secretary Pangilinan served as a senator from 2001 to 2013 and was chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food on his last term.

After his two consecutive terms in the Senate in June 2013, he took a break from politics and concentrated on his farm in Alfonso, Cavite.

But he was better known as the author of the law that freed kids aged 15 years and below from arrest and detention for committing criminal offenses.

That’s more than enough assurance we’d have food security.

***

Pangilinan will have under him the National Food Authority (NFA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), offices under the President which were moved to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The DA, in effect, will now have two secretaries, Pangilinan for food security and agriculture modernization and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

This way, in case Alcala fails in agriculture, we’d still have food security and a modernized agriculture.

Isn’t that what basketball coaches do when they’re in the last two minutes in the game?

***
Pangilinan’s appointment came nine months after Alcala's office was tagged in the funneling of state funds to bogus organizations, allegation Alacala has denied.

But Alcala admitted he had failed to make good on some of his targets, among them, a promise to make the country self-sufficient in rice production by 2012.

Perhaps, we’d have food security with two heads in the agriculture department.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 07, 2014.

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