President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has tapped veteran agriculture official Domingo F. Panganiban to the Department of Agriculture (DA) as the agency faces the daunting task of boosting agriculture production and addressing rising food prices.
Marcos announced the appointment of Panganiban as the new agriculture undersecretary last Friday.
“It is an honor to work with an expert to address the needs of our nation, especially the agriculture sector,” Marcos said in Filipino in a Facebook post last Monday.
Panganiban served as agriculture secretary during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He was appointed to his new post after Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio S. Sebastian resigned from his post last Thursday over the issuance of Sugar Order (SO) No.4 without the approval of Marcos.
Under the unauthorized order, the country would have imported 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar.
In his weekly video blog, Marcos, who is the concurrent agriculture secretary, said there is no need to import additional sugar for now since the country has sufficient supply of the sweetener.
But he said the country might import 150,000 MT of the said food commodity by October.
Aside from the sugar, Marcos also wants DA to focus on increasing the harvest of rice and corn to stabilize the supply of both food staples.
Currently, DA is also coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry for the importation of cheap fertilizer from both traditional and non-traditional supply sources.