BBM to natl govt, LGUs: Coordinate on food supply
CATHERINE S. VALENTE
The Manila Times
PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. or BBM has cited the importance of fostering better coordination between the national and local governments to boost the country’s food supply. During his meeting with the members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines on Thursday, Marcos said planning will be the key to better coordination between agencies as this will give them an idea about their cropping schedules, yield, soil problems and fertilizer use. “We have to coordinate our efforts on food supply. We cannot just allow ‘Bahala na kayo’ (You’re on your own),’” the President also said. “But this has to be part of a plan, and that is why, more than ever, the President needs the help of the governors. Dati (Before), agriculture, for example, was really under the national government,” he added. Aside from food supply, Marcos sought strengthened coordination in digitalization, noting that provinces have done a better job on this than the national government. In his first State of the Nation Address in July, the President discussed his administration’s plan for digital transformation, including the rollout of National IDs, the implementation of the National Broadband Plan and the common tower program. “Marami sa inyong medyo progressive, inunahan n’yo na ang national government. Now, we have to bring the system together. Kailangan ‘yung information na hawak ng isang probinsya, ng isang agency, accessible doon sa kabila as long as they have authorization (A lot of you have been progressive and even surpassed the national government. Now, we have to bring the system together. The information held by a province or an agency has to be accessible as long as they have authorization),” Marcos said. “We have to be literally inter-connected. So that’s another area where we are hoping that we can strengthen the cooperation — the planning, the coordination between the national government and local government,” he added. Agriculture and food sufficiency are among the priorities of the Marcos administration. In his first act as Agriculture secretary, Marcos had ordered Department of Agriculture (DA) officials to ensure the stability of the nation’s food supply amid the looming food crisis in the country. He noted that the Philippines is already in a “disadvantageous” position in terms of food supply compared to other countries, which are already responding to the global food crisis. “We have to attend to the impending food crisis that it seems will be visiting us in the next two quarters. When we look around the world, everyone is preparing for it,” the President had told DA officials. “We are already in a disadvantageous position in terms of food supply. We should really pay very close attention to what we can do. I think the conclusion we have come to here is that we have to increase production,” he said. Marcos, however, reminded the agriculture officials that on top of making food supply sufficient is ensuring that they would be affordable to Filipino consumers. “We have to think very hard about making sure that people have the same sufficient food. And number one, at a price that they can afford,” he said. “Because again, it is useless to have food if you cannot afford it anyway,” the President added.