President Aquino appoints former Senator Francis Pangilinan as Presidential Assistant for Food Security
President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed former Senator Francis Pangilinan as Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM).
The President appointed Pangilinan on May 5 with the signing of Memorandum Order No. 70, which also defined the functions of the PAFSAM.
The President also transferred to the Office of the President (OP) four agencies under the Department of Agriculture (DA): the National Food Authority (NFA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), through Executive Order No. 175, which he also signed on May 5.
According to the memorandum, aside from overseeing the four agencies previously attached to the DA, Secretary Pangilinan is tasked with coordinating and monitoring the policies, programs, projects and activities relating to the National Convergence Initiative (NCI), in conjunction with its national steering committee and technical working groups.
In line with the Philippine Development Plan for 2011-2016, following are among the salient objectives of the NCI as embodied in its charter: “rationalizing land use policies and strengthening the system of land property rights; promoting sustainable agriculture and preserving the land resource base; enhancing the investment and opportunity climate for agribusiness; promoting sustainable upland development and forest management; and initiating climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.”
The order directs all other government agencies and corporations “to render full assistance and cooperation” to the PAFSAM. PND (rck)
Secretary Pangilinan says he was appointed to help Agriculture Secretary Alcala
Newly appointed Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM) Secretary Francis Pangilinan said Tuesday his appointment is aimed at helping Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in addressing the numerous problems in the agricultural sector.
Secretary Alcala remains to be the primary person responsible for food and agriculture, Pangilinan noted. “Ako ay pumapasok lamang bilang taga-suporta, dagdag ng suporta at tulong sa ilang mga problema ng ahensya, problema ng sector,” he said.
He said his appointment is to fast-track agricultural modernization during the last two years of the Aquino administration.
“So [itong] pagpasok po natin ay upang suportahan at tulungan ang ating Kalihim para ang mga layunin ng ating administrasyon at ng ating Pangulo ay matugunan sa nalalabing dalawang taon,” Pangilinan said.
“Maliwanag na dalawang taon na lamang, ano, at maliwanag na marami pang mga problema na kinakailangang lutasin. Kung kaya’t mahalaga na magtulungan upang ang mga programang hindi pa naipapatupad ay maaari nating bigyang diin,” he added. PND (rck)
Members of Japan-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship League call on President Aquino
President Benigno S. Aquino III met with members of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship League (JPPFL) during a courtesy call in Malacanang on Tuesday.
Present during the courtesy call held at Malacanang’s Music Room were JPPFL Chairman Kenji Kosaka, Vice Chairman Takeshi Maeda, Chief Secretary Yukio Ubukata, and Secretary General Taku Otsuka.
On the Philippines side, present were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe, and Director General of International Relations and Senate Protocol Antonio de Guzman, Jr.
Drilon, President of the Philippines-Japan Parliamentarians Association, met with the members of JPPFL on Monday to discuss the proposal to grant Filipinos a visa-free entry to Japan.
The lawmaker said the proposal is still being studied and reviewed but noted that it may be decided within the year.
Both parties also discussed the immigration policies for Filipino caregivers to Japan, which has a growing ageing population.
During the meeting, Kenji Kosaka also turned over 20 emergency vehicles to the Philippines for areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda last year. PND (jb)
President Aquino confers Order of Sikatuna to outgoing envoy of Spain
President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Grand Cross, Gold Distinction to outgoing Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq in a simple farewell ceremony at Malacanang’s Music Room on Tuesday.
President Aquino recognized Domecq’s important contribution in further strengthening and deepening the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Spain since he assumed office in 2011.
The President also commended the envoy’s outstanding and dedicated service in the field of international relations and for having been an exceptionally worthy and competent representative of his government in the country.
He likewise praised Domecq for his steadfast efforts in promoting partnerships between the Philippines’ and Spain’s public and private educational institutions, including the enhancement and propagation of the Spanish language.
The President acknowledged the ambassador’s efforts in encouraging Spain to support Philippine development goals through Spain’s official development assistance in the important sectors of good governance, education, social development, and disaster risk management and emergency response.
Domecq was cited for supporting Philippine initiatives in the domestic, regional and multilateral arena, especially in the areas of human rights, the rights of women and the Mindanao peace process.
Lastly, President Aquino recognized the envoy’s consistent efforts in bringing the people of Spain closer to the people of the Philippines through enhanced collaboration between Filipino cultural institutions and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and the Instituto Cervantes.
Also present during the event were Domecq’s wife Rosa Rufino de Domecq, two other officials of Spain, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario. PND (jb)
Pangilinan is President Aquino’s point man for National Convergence Initiative: Palace
Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM) Secretary Francis Pangilinan has been tasked to coordinate the Aquino administration’s programs under its National Convergence Initiative (NCI) in line with the six-year Philippine Development Plan (PDP).
Malacañang disclosed this on Tuesday, following President Benigno S. Aquino III’s issuance of Executive Order No. 175, which transferred four agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to the Office of the President, and Memorandum Order No. 70, which detailed Pangilinan’s functions.
The memorandum decreed that Pangilinan would have the oversight on the operations of the National Food Authority (NFA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. clarified though that these decisions by the President do not in any way reduce Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala’s level of authority amid various allegations raised against him during the past few months.
“The President wants the four agencies to devote intensified and focused efforts in attaining PDP goals. Secretary Alcala is expected to continue pursuing the full attainment of DA objectives with undiminished vigor,” Coloma told reporters in a text message.
“Secretary Pangilinan's appointment is an affirmative decision, and not in reaction to issues that have been raised by some quarters concerning Secretary Alcala, who continues to enjoy the President's trust and confidence,” he added.
Coloma said Pangilinan would be the President's point person in giving impetus to the NCI to ensure long-term food security and sustainable, long-term agricultural development.
The NCI’s objectives are to rationalize land use policies and strengthen the system of land property rights; promote sustainable agriculture and preserve the land resource base; enhance the investment and opportunity climate for agribusiness; promote sustainable upland development and forest management; and initiate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
According to the President’s order, the DA, NFA, NIA, PCA, FPA, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and all other government agencies and corporations are “directed to render full assistance and cooperation” to the PAFSAM, Coloma noted. PND (hdc)
Pangilinan takes oath as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization
Former Senator Francisco Pangilinan took his oath of office as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization before President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacanang on Tuesday.
Pangilinan was appointed Presidential Assistant through Memorandum No. 70, which was signed by President Aquino on May 5. Pangilinan’s position has a Cabinet rank.
In a press briefing after his oath-taking, Secretary Pangilinan said his appointment gives him authority to oversee four agencies transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Office of the President: the National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).
As overseer in the agriculture sector, Pangilinan said his priorities include ensuring enough supply of rice at affordable prices, as well as rice importation and storage. He said he will find ways to address the NFA’s P170-billion debt.
Regarding the coconut industry, Pangilinan said he will look into the coco levy issue to determine possible government intervention in connection with the coco levy fund that has not been returned to the farmers.
There is also the problem of infestation in the coconut industry which his office will try to solve, he added.
It is high time we look into the living conditions of Filipino coconut farmers, who remain poor despite the huge potential of the country’s coconut industry in the international market, he said.
He maintained that the country continues to be the leader in terms of world coconut exports but that it might lose ground to other nations if the government ignores the concerns of the coconut industry.
Pangilinan also said he will study the problems in the country’s irrigation system to help increase the yield of Filipino farmers.
“Very public ‘yung mga issue ng ating Pangulo sa NIA, so we will have to address that too in the last two years. Sa huling dalawang taon ng administrasyon ng ating Pangulo, ito ang ilan sa mga gusto niyang malutas natin,” he said.
On the possible effects of the El Niño phenomenon, Pangilinan said he wants an immediate assessment on the effects of the weather disturbance on the country’s agricultural sector to be able to tackle it effectively. PND (as)
New Presidential Assistant for Food Security says he will focus on farmers and fishermen
Newly appointed Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday emphasized the need to look after the welfare of the country’s farmers and fishermen, who he said are the “poorest of the poor”.
“Dahil ang ating designation is food security secretary, siguro kailangan ko ring bigyang diin na para magkaroon ng food security, ang una nating dapat ma-secure ay ‘yung ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” Secretary Pangilinan said during a press briefing shortly after he was sworn into office by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
He noted that the agricultural industry only grew by one percent last year.
“The poorest of the poor are in the agriculture sector. And therefore, kung gusto nating pagtuunan itong inclusive growth ng ating administrasyon at ng gobyerno, kailangang tugunan natin ang problema ng pagsasaka at pangingisda,” said the former Senator.
He said that to address the increase in rice prices, his office must look into storage and importation and the reported P170-billion debt of the National Food Authority (NFA).
Pangilinan also mentioned the need to settle the controversies surrounding the decades-old issue on the misuse of the coco levy fund that is one of the concerns of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
“The Coco Levy fund, which rightfully belongs to our farmers, will be properly utilized so that it will benefit directly our coconut farmers and their families,” said Pangilinan, who once headed the Senate Committee on Agriculture.
As Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, Pangilinan has an oversight function over the PCA, NFA, National Irrigation Administration, and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.
“Yung doktor, kailangan natin minsan sa isang panahon; yung abogado kailangan natin minsan sa isang pahahon; bumbero, ganoon din. Pero ang magsasaka at mangingisda, kailangan natin araw-araw, tatlong beses sa isang araw,” Pangilinan said, hence the need to clean up the four agencies he has been tasked to oversee. PND (ag)
New Presidential Assistant for Food Security says he will address rice smuggling
Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francisco Pangilinan said Tuesday he will not allow smugglers to control the country’s supply of rice and dictate its price in the market.
Secretary Pangilinan made the statement shortly after President Benigno S. Aquino III installed him into office, giving him authority to oversee the National Food Authority (NFA) and three other agencies that were formerly under the Department of Agriculture.
He said that in the past, rice smugglers used farmer groups and rice traders to import rice illegally.
"Hindi tayo papayag na sila ay mangingibabaw dito sa sektor ng bigas at pag-import ng bigas," said the former Senator who once chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture and spearheaded investigations in anomalous transactions in the agricultural sector.
Asked if his overall goal is to dismantle rice cartels in the country, Pangilinan said his main objective is to ensure a more transparent and organized way of importing rice.
"Ang sa atin ay hindi natin sila papayagang diktahan ang rice trade sa ating bansa. Whether mabuwag sila o hindi, hindi ko masasabi, pero ang ating layunin ay magkaroon ng mas malinis na proseso ng pag-import ng bigas," he said.
The government recognizes the problem of smuggling in the country, he said, noting that the President has already carried out reform measures in the Bureau of Customs to prevent smuggling, not only of rice but other products as well.
The newly appointed official further said that he will try to address the rice farmers’ lack of capital, which hampers their productivity and income.
The absence of financial sources, such as banks and cooperatives, prevents farmers from having enough money to support their livelihood, he said.
Pangilinan said he will coordinate with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to help farmers access financial support, such as loans and insurance. PND (as)