MANILA, Philippines — Several leaders in the House of Representatives welcomed the appointment of fishing tycoon Francisco Tiu Laurel as the new secretary of agriculture on Friday, succeeding President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
According to House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Laurel’s experience in the private sector will be “invaluable” in directing the country’s agriculture and fisheries.
“Secretary Tiu-Laurel’s extensive background in the private sector provides him with a wealth of experience that will be invaluable in steering our country’s agriculture and fisheries sectors. […] The private sector, with its innovation, efficiency, and competitive spirit, has much to offer when integrated with public sector objectives. By merging private sector strategies with the public sector’s broader goals, we can harness the best of both worlds,” he said.
House majority leader Manuel Dalipe expressed hope that Laurel will address the agricultural food waste due to shortcomings in storage and preservation facilities.
“Every year, billions worth of agricultural products go to waste because we have not been investing in storage and preservation facilities. This appointment of Secretary Laurel in the [Department of Agriculture] would hopefully change that,” Dalipe said.
Agri party-list Representative Wilbert Lee added that the appointment of Laurel may be the answer to the problems of Filipinos in the agricultural sector.
“Umaasa tayo na sa pamumuno ni Sec. Laurel, mananatili ang pagtutok dito ng gobyerno para tuluyang matugunan ang deka-dekadang mga problema ng mga kababayan nating dito nakasalalay ang kabuhayan,” Lee said.
(We hope that with the leadership of Sec. Laurel, the government continues to focus on responding to the evergreen problems of our fellow countrymen who rely on agriculture for their livelihood.)
On the other hand, House deputy minority leader and ACT Teachers party-list representative France Castro said that political positions should not be given as incentives, noting Laurel’s contribution during Marcos’s campaign for his 2022 presidential bid.
“[T]he appointment of Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. as the new Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary seems to be political payback for his hefty contribution of at least P30 million for Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s 2022 campaign […] Hindi dapat ginagawang pambayad utang ni Pres. Marcos Jr. ang mga posisyon sa gobyerno,” Castro said.
(Pres. Marcos Jr. should not use government positions as incentives)