Marcos takes charge of DA, cites 'severe' food crisis

President-elect Bongbong Marcos is taking on the portfolio of Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary, as least temporarily.

President-elect Bongbong Marcos (BBM Media Bureau)

Marcos announced this himself in an impromptu press conference Monday, June 20, at the BBM headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

Marcos felt compelled to lead the DA himself as he cited looming serious problems in the agriculture sector, especially when it comes to food sufficiency.

"We are forecasting that there will be a shortage, or there will be an increase in food prices in the next quarters that will come simply because of the outside forces that have been impacting upon food supply, upon supply of feeds," he told reporters.

"I think that the problem is severe enough that I have decided to take on the portfolio of secretary of agriculture, at least, for now," said the incoming Philippine leader.

Marcos said the DA must be "recognize(d) the way that will make it ready for the next years to come".

"We're going back to basics and trying and we will rebuild the value chain of agriculture. And that is why I thought it's important that the President take that portfolio," he noted.

The position of DA secretary is among the key posts that Marcos has held off announcing nominees for even as he has already designated over 20 people in his Cabinet.

He said there are a lot of offices under the DA that are not being utilized and thus must be retooled for pandemic situation.

Based on the incoming President's statements, he would still employ a mutli-agency approach--at least on the data side--in addressing the food crisis.

"I have asked the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and of course, the Department of Finance (DOF), the DBM (Department of Budget and Management). I have asked them all to start to make forecasts, economic forecasts on what it is. We plan, we think we will have to face for the rest of this year so that we can prepare and so that we can, despite the fact that there will be some emergency situations I, hopefully not, but possibly some emergency situations especially when it comes to food supply," Marcos said.