President Rodrigo Duterte is set to issue an executive order transferring the National Food Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority, National Irrigation Administration and Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority under the control of the Agriculture Department.
“The president and I already talked Friday last week and he told me that the four agencies will be returned to the DA. He already told me during our one-on-one meeting that he will give the agencies to DA,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Former President Benigno Aquino III earlier transferred the four strategic agencies to the Office of the President. The agencies were put under the supervision of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization headed by then Secretary and now Senator Francis Pangilinan.
The four agencies are currently under the office of Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco.
“I already submitted the draft of the executive order. I gave it last Friday. He gave the draft to Bong Go. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will sign the EO. I’m just going to wait for Medialdea to sign it,” said Piñol.
Piñol earlier said he was hoping that the four agencies would be returned to the Department of Agriculture. “For effective operation, this has to be back to us. But it is still up to the president to decide,” he said.
Meanwhile, Piñol said he was ready to submit to President Duterte a poverty alleviation program for the island province of Sulu designed to cut poverty incidence in the province in three years.
“The president ordered me to handle the Save Sulo project. We are addressing the Sulu problem not only in the context against the armed groups but in also addressing the poverty. So we came up with the project that will be launched on Dec. 19 with the help of Joey Concepcion and the Go Negosyo group,” Piñol said.
He said the government was able to secure several commitments from private companies.
“Manuel V. Pangilinan is coming in with telco and investments also in power. Bounty Fresh will be coming in with poultry projects. Henry Lim and Lucio Tan will build classrooms while Rosalyn Gui of W Group Inc. will revive the carrageenan industry in Sulu,” Piñol said.
“I will talk to SMC [San Miguel Corp.] to discuss the adopt a village program. Under the program, for every village, we will bring in developments, government center, sports facility, roads and health center. We will also help with the development of agriculture activities,” he said.
Pinol said poverty incidence in Sulu was at 61 percent. The government aims to reduce poverty incidence in the province by 25 percentage points in the next three years.
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