MANILA - Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Monday said he welcomes the appointment of former Senator Kiko Pangilinan as Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
This, despite the fact that Pangilinan's appointment entailed transferring to him control of the National Food Authority, the Philippine Coconut Authority, and National Irrigation Administration, which are considered as the main pillars of the agricultural sector.
The agencies involve the major crops rice, corn, and coconut, and the all-important water supply.
"Welcome naman po sa atin yan. Napakalaki po ng Department of Agriculture. Makabubuti po na dalawa kaming magtulungan," Alcala said in a telephone interview.
Once perceived to be close to President Aquino, Alcala dismissed speculation he had fallen from grace.
"Napag-usapan naman po namin ang appointment ni Senator Pangilinan. Na-consult naman po tayo diyan," he said.
However, Alcala admitted he had failed to make good on some of his targets -- among these a promise to make the country self-sufficient in rice production by 2012.
Pangilinan is expected to take oath before President Aquino in Malacañang Tuesday afternoon.