MANILA – During her small screen comeback on Friday, celebrity talk show host Kris Aquino hit former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and said he was "slow" in performing his duties.
"Ako nakikita ko, you're faster. Iyong secretary niya (former President Benigno Aquino III) was slow. You're fast, bongga," Aquino told Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol on PTV 4’s GoNegosyo, which aired live Friday from Davao City.
(I can see that you're faster. [Former President Benigno Aquino III's] secretary was slow. You're fast, really.)
Aquino was referring to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) efforts to boost abaca production in the country.
According to Pinol, the DA already released P50 million out of a target amount of P100 million to boost abaca production in the country, which has long been neglected.
"Sa Pilipinas pa lang, 140,000 hectares na ang ating kulang [para sa produksyon ng abaca] (In the Philippines alone, we lack 140,000 hectares for the production of abaca)," he said.
This must be remedied, he claimed, as abaca is "found only in the Philippines" and is used for the production of paper used in the printing of Philippine money, insulators for cars, and handicraft.
Buying price ranges from P70 to P75 per kilo, he said, but the price can go higher depending on quality, said Leonora Mila, chairperson of the San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
Aquino was set to interview President Rodrigo Duterte, but he cancelled his appearance due to migraine.
Alcala was secretary of the DA during the previous administration. Beset by controversy, he faced a graft probe over his alleged involvement in a cartel which controlled garlic prices and availability.