MANILA -- Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri blamed the key leaders’ fall in approval ratings on the issue of rice, which he said is caused by the President’s “non-performing” Cabinet secretaries.
Zubiri was reacting to the Pulse Asia September 2023 survey which resulted to a 65 percent approval rating of the President from June’s 80 percent, and of Vice President Sara Duterte’s 73 percent from 84 percent.
In the same survey, Zubiri bagged 50 percent.
“The number 1 na kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayan ay ang inflation... at pagtaas po ng presyo ng basic services. Kung ako po ang tatanungin ninyo, ang suggestion ko sa ating Pangulo, to crack the whip [on] his Cabinet. Lalo na yung mga poorly performing members of the Cabinet na imbes na tumulong ay lalong napeperwisyo ang ating Pangulo,” Zubiri told journalists in a news conference.
“If the problem is inflation, look at the agencies that’s supposed to trace and track why is there overpricing?... Bakit nagkakaroon ng hoarding? Bakit wala pang nahuhuling hoarders? Bakit wala pang pinapagalitang price manipulators on the market side?” the Senate President added.
“If they are not performing up to par with the President’s standards and where the country needs for them to be doing, I think they should be replaced, to be honest,” Zubiri stressed
Asked how many Cabinet members he has in mind, Zubiri replied: “Three or four departments or agencies.”
Zubiri, however, refused to name the Cabinet members that he was referring to.
The survey result in Zubiri’s eyes is a reflection of the people’s “anger.”
“Sama-sama na siguro. Alam mo naman siguro pag nakita nila ang isang opisyal. Whether you are a member of the House of Representatives, whether you are a member of the Senate, whether you are with the Office of the Vice President, whether you’re the Office of the President. Whether you’re in the departments, medyo nagagalit yung tao, sa gobyerno,” Zubiri said.
“Naiinis yung tao sa gobyerno. Kaya lahat kami po, bumaba yung ratings... What is important is, i-address po natin ito. Nalaman natin ang pulso ng bayan. Lalo na sa Office of the President, 15 percentage points po ang drop po n'yan. With that wake-up call to all of us,” he added.
Non-performing officials who “have no empathy” for the people reeling from their already very difficult life must be replaced, Zubiri said.
“May mga ahensya diyan na sa tingin ko, tanggalin na talaga yung mga secretaries at palitan na ng mga bagong secretary na sa tingin ko may puso para sa masang Pilipino. Para sa ganun, aksyon agad. Pag umakyat agad ang presyo ng bilihin sa delata, sa mga sardinas, sa isda, sa manok, sa bigas at pagkain ng taumbayan, aksyon agad,” Zubiri said.
A person who should helm the Department of Agriculture, he said, must be someone who cares for both the farmer and consumer.
Still, the DA post is a very difficult job that even he -- an agriculture graduate -- will not accept the post if offered, said Zubiri.