By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Friday he prefers to do the “hard things” while he is the head of the Department of Agriculture (DA) before appointing someone to take over the post.
In a media interview in Switzerland before traveling back to Manila, Marcos said he would only name a successor once he is able to tick off the bucket list for the DA.
“All the hard things, ‘yung mahirap gawin ngayon namin gagawin. ‘Pag nagawa na namin ‘yung mga bucket list namin, natapos na namin, aalis na ako (I will do all the hard things now. Once I have already ticked off the bucket list and accomplish everything, I will leave). Then I will give it to somebody else,” Marcos, who concurrently serves as DA secretary, said.
In August 2022, the President said he has three “dreams” for the country’s agriculture sector – sustainable livelihood for farmers, food security, and affordable food for all.
In November last year, he said it would take some time before he finally gives up the DA portfolio, as the list of candidates to replace him “keeps changing.”
When asked if he is considering appointing a retired military or police general as his successor, Marcos said, “No.”
The position, he said, should be held by someone who is an expert in the field of agriculture.
“Kailangan eksperto sa agrikultura ([My successor] must be expert in agriculture). Agriculture is a very complicated subject. Hindi lang kung sino-sino basta’t magaling mag-manage (You cannot appoint just anybody there to manage [the DA]). They have to understand the science… They have to understand the solution. They also have to understand the system,” he said.
“Unless, they’re involved in agriculture. Mayroon naman nag-retire diyan (There are people who retired), they got heavily involved in agriculture, baka marunong na talaga sila (they might be knowledgeable), why not?”
Marcos decided to temporarily head the DA to address the looming food crisis in the country, weeks after he assumed the presidency last year.
He had said the problems in the agriculture sector are “deeply embedded” and “so difficult that it will take a president to change and turn it around.” (PNA)