Officials assure continuity of services under new agriculture chief

TALISAY CITY -- Officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) have assured that the delivery of programs and services particularly in Western Visayas will continue under the new administration at the agency.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 5, appointed William Dar as the new agriculture secretary replacing Emmanuel Piñol, who is now the Mindanao Development Authority chair.

Agriculture Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña, who led the opening of the 5th Farm Home Extensionists Association of the Philippines (Fhexap) National Congress at the Nature’s Village Resort here yesterday, said Dar told her over the phone that whatever support needed in the region will be given.

“The Department of Agriculture has same goal -- quality and quantity with quality,” she said, adding that it is just how you are going to go about it that differs.

For her part, DA-Western Visayas Regional Director Remelyn Recoter said the change in leadership in the agency will not result in disruptions in the delivery of programs and services especially for this year.

Recoter said the fund for this year has already been allocated for specific purposes. Unless, there is a priority program by the new secretary.

“We do expect probably some changes, though it cannot be announced yet as the executive committee meeting is still ongoing,” she said, stressing that the regional line agency’s targets for 2019 is still the same.

The regional director added “even the proposals that we have for 2020 are still the same not unless there will be recasting during the budget hearings at the Congress.”

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino earlier said that the transfer of Piñol would be a loss to the country’s agriculture sector.

Masculino cited that the former secretary has introduced many innovations on the programs of the agency.

These included easy access to credit, solar-powered irrigation, and negotiations with other countries to open up their markets to Philippine agricultural products at low tariff, among others.

Recoter affirmed that Piñol “loves” Western Visayas as the former secretary is always visiting the region. He feels at home here because his roots is in Iloilo.

“But the President has plans for him (Piñol),” she said, adding that they expect same wave of support from the national government under the new agriculture chief.


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