Published June 23, 2022, 12:04 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

This guy PBBM is fearless. In the words of farmer-Rep. Argel Cabatbat, “like a general going to battle” instead of calling the shots from a faraway armchair.

Brilliant move! – former DA secretary Manny Piñol

Excellent decision! – outgoing Senate President Tito Sotto

Strategic! – outgoing DA Secretary William Dar

To all of which I add one word and two cents: Inspired!

President-in-waiting Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. pulled off a fast one on all of us. When nobody was looking or expecting a moment of shock and awe, he grabbed the mic and announced he was taking charge of the Department of Agriculture, “at least for now.”

Fearless, because he would have no one to blame if Agriculture falls flat on its face, extinguishing the hopes of farmers, fisherfolk and the people they feed with their crops and their catch. Fearless, because as he admits, painfully much needs to be done to meet the challenges of a food crisis (aka food shortage), not to mention his campaign promise to safeguard food security and establish food sovereignty by improving production and bringing down the prices of rice and basic goods.

PBBM as his own secretary of agriculture? Whoever put that idea in his head? We forget that not too long ago he was governor of Ilocos Norte, where they grow lots of things (except maybe tobacco, a product of the other Ilocos, Sur) and the Ilocano tribe is known as industrious, unafraid of work and toil under the sun (and moonlight if need be).

Who inspired him? Maybe his father and FM Sr.’s “branded” Masagana 99, Green Revolution, Food Terminal, plus our very own International Rice Research Institute, which produced graduates from neighboring countries, some of which we have since been buying food supplies from.

Since Ferdinand Jr. began naming his team, there have been happy surprises galore, such as his economic managers, Toots Ople, Clarita Carlos, Juan Ponce Enrile, Menardo Guevarra. He should hear Senators Sotto and Cynthia Villar for the lowdown on corruption and the names of  DA insiders who feed their families the poisoned fruit of their smuggling activities.

As Rep. Joey Salceda said, “Agriculture is now the mother of all smuggling.” He also said, “I believe Marcos Two will be better than Marcos One.” Peerless.