President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. does not have to let go of his focus on agriculture, even if he appoints a full-time secretary to take over the portfolio, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said Friday.
Pimentel said the President—who concurrently heads the Department of Agriculture (DA)—can have a secretary and still keep his eye on the sector.
Also reacting to the President’s statement that he would appoint a secretary at the Department of Health once the situation becomesnormal, Pimentel said he should appoint an “alter ego” who shares his views on how to fix the government.
“Get an outsider if necessary,” said the Senate leader. “But shower him or her with all the support for us to be able to live with the virus.”
Pimentel’s colleague in the opposition bloc, Senator Risa Hontiveros,said the President has many jobs and needs a secretary at the DA working in tandem.
She said economists had warned that the country is in the midst of an impending food catastrophe.
The President said he will only let go of the DA if structural reforms are already in place at the department.
The President noted that the problems within the DA are so difficult that “it will take a president to change and turn it around.”
But Pimentel said by having a full-time secretary, the President gains a person who can help him with agricultural matters.
Earlier, Hontiveros also underscored the need for the President to appoint a new Health secretary, with a firm grasp of public health issues.