Kiko: 2 heads in agri sector works

Posted at 08/27/2014 11:57 AM

MANILA - Presidential Adviser on Food Security Secretary Kiko Pangilinan said lawmakers should give the current setup in the agriculture department a chance to work.

Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier said President Aquino should choose between Pangilinan and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala so there will be a clear point man in the department.

This is after the agriculture sector grew by less than one percent in the first quarter.

But Pangilinan said the agriculture and fisheries sector is too broad for one man to handle and that designating areas of concern would be helpful.

He is currently supervising the the National Food Authority (NFA), the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the Philippine Coconut Authority (Philcoa) and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).

"Let's see. At the moment, we are focusing on our respective areas of concern. Baka naman magkaroon ng positive effect. The key really at this point is to coordinate," he said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

"So far, I'm content with what I'm doing in terms of the work and our coordination. Mas maganda sana na mabigyan ng tsansa yung ganitong arrangement...I have enough on my plate," he added.

WHY KIKO REFUSED NFA CHIEF'S RESIGNATION

Pangilinan also stood by his decision not to accept the resignation of National Food Authority chief Arthur Juan despite allegations he tried to extort money from a rice trader.

Pangilinan believes trader Jojo Soliman made up the allegations against Juan because Soliman's license was suspended.

"He was mixing animal feeds with Thai imported rice and passing it off as commercial rice...We confiscated 18,000 of his bags of rice so he's angry and he wants to get back at us. That's my sense. So he files this case," he said.

Pangilinan noted that for the first time in NFA history, the government has ordered the relief of 18 NFA managers, warehouse men and inspectors after their areas were linked to the "rebagging" of NFA rice and sold as commercial rice.

He said the NFA is now filing cases against unscrupulous traders.

"Reform is not easy. I am going to have to step on a lot of toes in achieving this. We are facing precisely cases being filed against our people because of what we are doing and I have to make sure that the people I work with are competent and have integrity. If he was guilty i was ready to let him fry. Walang middle ground dito," he said.