MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the ad interim appointment of William Dar as secretary of the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, December 17.
An Waray Party List Representative Florencio Noel, the chairman of the CA committee on agriculture, noted all of Dar’s achievements in the agriculture sector as he sponsored the latter’s confirmation before the CA plenary.
Noel said that Dar came at a time when President Rodrigo Duterte “needs an action man” to ensure food security in the Philippines.
Dar was appointed by Duterte in August 2019, replacing then DA chief Emmanuel Piñol who had earned the ire of the economic team for the agriculture sector’s dismal growth.
A renowed agriculture expert, Dar first headed the DA in 1998 during the administration of former president Joseph Estrada.
Dar is also known in the agricultural research community as the longtime director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.
He had also served the global agricultural research institute for 3 5-year terms, from 2000 to 2014.
Senator Francis Pangilinan in his speech noted Dar’s performance in the ’90s.
“We believe that Secretary Dar’s background – both in his personal history and in his professional experience – would do well in the job for the benefit of millions of Filipinos who work in agriculture,” Pangilinan said.
“Philippine agriculture grew by an unprecedented 9.6%, as well as experienced a commendable 87% drop in graft and corruption incidence at the department,” he added.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture, also gave a speech backing Dar. She said Dar heading DA anew “is of perfect timing.”
“It could not have come at the most opportune time. The department in this junction of time needs a leader like him,” Villar said.
When Dar took the helm of the department, he said he plans to improve the agricultural growth of the country by at least 4 times and double farmers’ incomes. Under Piñol’s watch, agriculture didn’t even grow 1% in 2018, dragging the Philippines’ economic growth.
He had also said that the DA will enforce stricter rice importation, as local farmers feel the pinch of the rice tariffication law.
Just this week, Dar had given the green light for farmers in 33 rice-producing areas to be given a P5,000-cash grant to augment their income due to low palay prices. – Rappler.com
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