Alcala loses 4 big agencies to 'Kiko'

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2014 11:24 AM | Updated as of May 06 2014 08:09 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Former Senator Francis Pangilinan gets 4 big agricultural agencies in his new Cabinet role as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM).

In a note to media, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said that according to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., President Aquino signed on May 5 Executive Order No. 175 transferring to the Office of the President the following agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA):

  • National Food Authority (NFA),
  • National Irrigation Authority (NIA),
  • Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and
  • Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).

Coloma added that Aquino also signed on May 5 Memorandum Order (MO) No. 70 providing for the functions to be performed by Pangilinan with Cabinet rank.

Coloma said, “Aside from exercising oversight over four agencies previously attached to the DA, Secretary Pangilinan is tasked with coordinating and monitoring the policies, programs, projects and activities relating to the National Convergence Initiative (NCI), in conjunction with its national steering committee and technical working groups.”

The Palace added that In line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011-2016, the  following are among the salient objectives of the NCI as embodied in its charter:

“rationalizing land use policies and strengthening the system of land property rights;
promoting sustainable agriculture and preserving the land resource base;
enhancing the investment and opportunity climate for agribusiness;
promoting sustainable upland development and forest management; and
initiating climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.”

According to the President’s order, the DA, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), NFA, NIA, PCA, FPA and all other government agencies and corporations are “directed to render full assistance and cooperation” to the PAFSAM.

Pangilinan’s 2nd consecutive term as senator expired last year. He is a partymate of the President in the Liberal Party.

The appointment comes at a time when Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is beset with different allegations of involvement in smuggling and the pork barrel scam.

Coloma clarified that the appointment is not in reaction to any issues against Alcala, who is also known to be very close to President Aquino.

"Sec. Alcala is expected to continue pursuing the full attainment of DA objectives with undiminished vigor. Sec. Pangilinan's appointment is an affirmative decision, and not in reaction to issues that have been raised by some quarters concerning Sec. Alcala, who continues to enjoy the President's trust and confidence. The President clearly spelled out in MO 70 the rationale for Sec. Pangilinan's appointment: as PAFSAM, he will be the President's point person in giving impetus to the National Convergence Initiative for ensuring long-term food security and sustainable, long term agricultural development. The President wants the four agencies to devote intensified and focused efforts in attaining PDP goals. “

Asked if Alcala is still the overall point person of the President in the agriculture sector, Coloma answered in the affirmative.