Balisacan says hopeful Marcos appoints full-time Agriculture Secretary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2023 01:04 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2023 03:45 PM

MANILA - National Economic And Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan on Thursday said he is hopeful that an Agriculture Secretary would be appointed to address decades-old issues in the industry. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr appointed himself as the chief DA. He said in a recent interview that he would not appoint a Secretary until he has finished "all the hard things" first. 

When asked if Balisacan, an expert in the agricultural economy, would be interested in the post and if he thinks it's time to appoint a Secretary, he said the President is in the position to address some of the issues. 

"The sector has many issues, many problems particularly investment issues, governance issues in the sectors, and institutional issues. And so the President, he said he is in a position to address some of these issues," Balisacan said. 

"But hopefully we can get a full-time Agriculture Secretary," he added.

Various issues plaguing the agriculture sector, such as production, have fueled rising inflation in recent months.

Inflation in December 2022 hit 8.1 percent, the highest since November 2008. The main driver for the higher consumer price index was vegetable inflation, government data showed.

"The problem of agriculture has a long history, the inflation is now a manifestation of the problem in the sector," Balisacan said. 

The Philippine economy exceeded its target for 2022, growing 7.6 percent. But Balisacan said it could have been higher if inflation, which has an impact on the spending power of the poor, was not elevated.

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