• Good—NIA, NFA and PCA again under Agriculture Department

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    PRESIDENT Rody Duterte immediately granted the request of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol for a presidential executive order placing the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Food Authority (NFA), and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) back under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

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    The President also gave Piñol control over the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM), which former President B.S. Aquino had created on May 5, 2014. Aquino made the head of OPAFSAM a Cabinet member. Aquino also made it the overseer of the four largest government agencies that used to be under the DA. These are the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), NFA, NIA, and PCA.

    It was an unwise and a bad management decision of BS Aquino to break up the cluster of offices and agencies under the control of the agriculture secretary. The breakup only exacerbated the lack of concern of Aquino for the agriculture and agrarian sector.

    A farmer himself, Piñol personally knows what the agriculture sector, and with it, agri-business, needs to become the leading component of the Philippine economy. The most recent data says unemployment has increased by 2 million—to 11 million jobless Filipinos. Most of these are in the rural, the agricultural, areas. Agriculture is where most of our labor force is located because we are still essentially an agricultural country. We are not an industrial economy, and the service sector (BPOs mainly) has unhealthily become the most dominant and productive segment. We must make excellent use of our agriculture resources.

    The NFA, NIA, FPA and PCA are the most essential agencies that should serve the aims of the agriculture secretary to achieve the principal goal of Duterte for our country to have food security.

    In the reintegration of these agencies with the DA, Piñol simply wants to restore the correct structure. He correctly saw that there was “absolutely NO SENSE in separating the NFA, NIA, FPA and PCA from the DA.

    Piñol has also spoken of proposing to the President the creation of a “national food authority council.” He sees that council as the coordinating body to harmonize all the efforts of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), DA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and “even the weather bureau” to ensure the success of programs for food production and greater agricultural productivity.

    He had observed that these agencies were uncoordinated; each one going its own way. He saw early on for the activities of the agencies must be consolidated, with each agency going for the same goals and all heading to the same direction.

    Duterte has also spoken of his plan to create a department for fisheries and aquatic resources. Piñol hopes to see this department to be formed soon. He laments the neglect by all previous governments of the fisheries sector, which has a huge potential for the Philippines because we have the fifth-longest coastline in the world.

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    10 Comments

    1. …..Whatever plans to improve the services of the DA to the farmers, there should always be a monitoring and evaluation body to see to it that all project protocols during its implementation will be followed, corrective measures be made to efficiently implement projects.

    2. “The President also gave Piñol control over the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM)…”

      But the offices under the OPAFSAM ay ililipat naman sa DA. MAGULO YATA???

    3. mali yata ang editorial a. sabi sa news ang nfa ay under kay evasco and nadinig ko sa interview kahapon ng dzrh kay pinol, hihilingin ni pinol kay du30 na ibalik sa da ang nfa. or has du30 already amended his eo for this?

    4. The measure of success should not be the structure of the organization but the results. If the previous administration improved the country’s rice self sufficiency from 81% in 2010 to 97% in 2016, shouldn’t this be something positive? If the NIA, NFA and PCA are brought under the DA, it may be too large for The DA Secretary’s span of control. There is a limit to size of an organization a leader can handle. Let’s gage the results in 6 years, not now.

    5. Andres Aguinaldo on

      I like Sec. Piñol, he seems to be a very sensible decision-maker with good foresight.

      Keep it up, Sir.

    6. P.Akialamiro on

      Consolidating all these agencies under the Department of Agriculture is an excellent move.Besides coordination, it will also minimize red tape and corruption.

      In connection with agriculture, particularly land reform, there should be a law making it ILLEGAL for private entities or individuals to buy back agricultural land possessions alloted to tenants, as in the case of Hacienda Luisita. Only the government should be able to buy posessions and be assigned to any farmer who is qualified to till the land. But, most of all, the government should provide financial aid and technical assistance to small farmers, or encourage the formation of cooperatives.

      • tagaDumantay on

        Not good enough! All land given to farmers through CARP should be unsaleable for 100 years. The title can only be transfer to direct descendant of beneficiary. If for certain period say two years and farmers did not do anything to improved the land, then it will revert back to government.

    7. jose b. taganahan on

      I don’t understand this editorial which contradict a news item from other newspaper which states “President Rody Duterte’s first Executive Order has placed the NFA under the Office of the President joining 11 other agencies. It will be under the supervision of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr.”

      Ano ba talaga President Digong?

    8. I hope the new DA Secretary considers the following:
      1. Planting FRUIT trees instead of decorative or firewood trees in the countryside. We have too many ipil-ipil, candle trees and betel-nut trees already.
      2. More composting projects so farmers do not have to buy chemical fertilizers. And teach how to compost the water lilies that are clogging up the waterways (including Laguna de Bay).
      3. Tell the Plant Industry people to develop a seedless calamansi fruit, like they did with seedless pomelo and seedless orange.