Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos’ birthday wish: ‘Maging maayos ang agrikultura’

Bea Cupin

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Marcos’ birthday wish: ‘Maging maayos ang agrikultura’

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the signing of the new Agrarian Reform Emancipation Act at the Kalayaan Hall in Malacañang Palace on July 7, 2023.

Yummie Dingding/PPA/Pool

'Para naman matulungan natin ‘yung mga farmer natin. Iyon lamang naman ang aking panalangin pa rin hanggang ngayon,' says the President

From the man who oversees the entire Philippine government and the agriculture portfolio, a simple wish for his 66th birthday on Wednesday, September 13: “Maging maayos na ang agrikultura, at malaman na natin kung ano ba talaga ang weather – wet season ba o dry season?” 

(For the agriculture sector to do well, and for us to know what weather we have in store. Is it going to be a wet or dry season?)

Para naman matulungan natin ‘yung mga farmer natin. Iyon lamang naman ang aking panalangin pa rin hanggang ngayon,” said the President, who is concurrently the secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made the remarks on Tuesday, September 12, in a media interview on the sidelines of the presentation of implementing rules and regulations for the long-awaited Agrarian Emancipation Act. Marcos also released an executive order extending the moratorium on payments from farmer beneficiaries. 

Marcos has held the agriculture post concurrent since assuming office in June 2022. Despite calls for him to appoint a full-time chief to the role, Marcos has insisted that he’s to keep it – at least until he ticks off a check list of missions he has also yet to expound on. 

Both allies and critics have called on Marcos to just appoint a full-time agriculture chief. He has not joined a Department of Agriculture meeting between February and August 2023. The post is a critical one, with the agriculture department responsible for making sure the country’s food supply is robust and that Filipino farmers are taken care of. It’s especially crucial in a country where agriculture employs many while still being unable to fuel the economy. 

On August 31, Marcos issued Executive Order No. 39, setting price caps on regular milled rice and well-milled rice.

Retailers were alarmed by the imposition since it could mean selling rice at prices lower than acquisition cost. The order kicked in just days after it was announced.

Prior to leaving for a regional summit in Indonesia, Marcos announced that the trade and social welfare departments would calculate how much retailers would lose and compensate that by distribute cash aid. Later saying it was looking to set aside P2 billion in subsidies, the government started distributing P15,000 per identified retailer.

For his birthday, Marcos will be in Singapore for a talk at the Milken Institute’s Asian Summit. But the jet-setting president isn’t flying back home right away. He’ll be staying in the city-state for business meetings and the Formula One Grand Prix, according to the Palace. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.