PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. defended on Monday, January 23, 2023, his continuous leadership at the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In an interview with several television news anchors, Marcos said that being the President and the head of the DA at the same time, he can easily make people follow his orders, which is beneficial especially in terms of planning, decision-making and execution of plans.

"For me sa DA, there really are things that I can do that if there was a secretary and he or she did it, magagawa pero matagal, madaming diskusyon, and they'll have to come up... The President they cannot say no to. And ‘pag hindi nila ginawa ‘yung utos ko, puwede kong sitahin," Marcos said in an interview with television news anchors.

"So that’s what I bring to the position is that when I make a decision, I say this is what we need to do, this is the plan, every one of you follow this plan, you do this, you will do that. Kailangan masunod ‘yun. And if not, then... I can chastise them, I can move them aside, push them into other positions, etc.," he added.

Marcos made the statement in response to the call of several lawmakers for him to appoint a permanent DA secretary for the better handling of its affairs especially following the issues on the increasing prices of onions and sugar.

In his earlier interviews, Marcos said as the head of the DA, he aims to go back to basics and rebuild the value chain of agriculture with urgency to address supply chain concerns to ensure food security.

Meanwhile, Marcos said he had other plans for Erwin Tulfo, whom he appointed as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) but had repeatedly failed to secure the confirmation from the Commission on Appointments over various issues, including his nationality.

"I hope so... The time that he was running the DSWD, he did a very good job so we can't lose that kind of asset," Marcos said.

"We'll find something that he can do so we could take advantage of his good instincts when it comes to social service," he added.

In December, DSWD Undersecretary Edu Punay was named as the department's officer-in-charge. (SunStar Philippines)