Drilon to PNoy: Time to choose between Procy, Kiko

Posted at 08/19/14 1:23 PM

Chiz agrees: There should only be 1 secretary in DA

MANILA (UPDATED) - Senate President Franklin Drilon urged President Aquino to review the leadership setup in the agriculture department, saying that having two secretaries at the helm does not help improve agriculture productivity.

Functions at the agriculture department have been split between agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala and former senator Kiko Pangilinan who has been appointed as presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization.

In the budget briefing with economic managers, Drilon pointed out that agriculture in the first quarter of the year grew only less than one percent. Saying that raids of warehouses are not enough, Drilon said that more should be done to help alleviate poverty and improve supply. One third of the labor force is in the agriculture sector.

"Sa akin po, isa sa mga dapat tignan ng Pangulo kung sino talaga ng agriculture secretary dahil po nakita natin ang agriculture sector ay bumababa at paglago ng agriculture ay less than one percent. Apart from the usual calamities, I think there is also need for us to have a point man. Sino ba talaga? Kahit sa budget, magkaiba 'yung secretary ng ibang ahensya sa agrikultura. They split the agencies in the agriculture department. So I would strongly suggest that this be reviewed," Drilon later told reporters.

But Drilon declined to say who between Alcala and Pangilinan should stay.

"Hindi ko alam. I'm just saying that the setup cannot continue," he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Chiz Escudero agreed with Drilon that there should only be one secretary in the Department of Agriculture.

Escudero said conflicting policy decisions may have affected agriculture productivity in the country.

He said the command structure should be delineated clearly since both Alcala and Pangilinan have the rank of secretary.

If not, he said, the President should only choose one secretary to lead in the agency.

"Kahit ang Diyos wala akong alam na nilikhang hayop o animal na dalawa ang ulo. Alam ko iisa lang ulo ng dalawang nilikha Niya, ibon man, naglalakad man na apat na paa o lumalangoy sa dagat. Alam ko iisa lang palagi ang ulo. Isang rason din siguro 'yun kung bakit bumababa ang performance ng agriculture sector natin," Escudero said.