Marcos needs ‘bastonero’ at DA : solon

MANILA – Senator Gatchalian on Sunday said he sees no need to appoint a new secretary of the Department of Agriculture which is headed concurrently by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., claiming that the chief executive is doing his job.

Having the president as the secretary of DA has been a symbol of the administration’s campaign to ensure the country’s food security, Gatchalian said during an interview over radio station DZBB.

“Symbolic yan, ang pinakamataas na lider ng bansa ang nagbibigay direksyon sa DA (This is symbolic, the highest official of the country is giving the direction to DA),” Gatchalian said.

He added, however, that it is important that the president has someone who would be his “bastonero” or a second in command in the department who knows what exactly to do and someone who knows how the president thinks as DA secretary.

“Ang importante merong isang second in command, kung baga bastonero ng ating pangulo para gumalaw ang DA. Importante na itong second in command na ito ay talagang alam ang gagawin at alam kung anong nasa isip ng pangulo (The important thing is that there is a second in command, as if our president has “bastonero” for the DA to move. It is important that this second-in-command really knows what to do and knows what the president has in mind),” he said.

“Pero ako sang-ayon ako na ang pangulo ang dapat na nakatalaga diyan, (But I agree that the president should be assigned there), “he said.

When asked if there was already someone who fits the description, Gatchalian said DA has officials who efficiently assist the president.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian said he supports the creation of a task force that would go after traders who are into smuggling and hoarding of agricultural produce, like onions and other commodities.

He said DA and the National Bureau of Investigation could be the lead agencies of this task force.

“Sang-ayon ako na gawan natin ng task force ito, for example gumawa ng isang task force ang DA ang magli-lead dahil sila ang may datos. At dapat pumasok dito ang NBI para masampahan ng economic sabotage yung mga taong nagho-hoard, dahil para sa akin, etong ginagawa nila, para sa akin, economic sabotage ito. (I agree that we should make this a task force, for example make a task force the DA will lead because they have the data. And the NBI should come in here, so they could charge the people who are hoarding. Because for me, what they are doing is economic sabotage.),” he said. (PNA)