Politics

Former Agri chief returns to department as undersecretary 

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DOMINGO F. Panganiban (right) takes his oath on Aug. 12 as Agriculture undersecretary before President and Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. — TWITTER/@BONGBONGMARCOS

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday named a new Agriculture undersecretary, who previously headed the department, days after a controversy on sugar importation broke out.  

In a Facebook post, Mr. Marcos said he appointed Domingo F. Panganiban as Agriculture undersecretary. 

Mr. Panganiban served as agriculture secretary in 2001 under the administration of Joseph E. Estrada. He held the same post in 2005 under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government.  

“Isang karangalan ang makatrabaho ang ating mga dalubhasa sa pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating bayan lalo na sa sektor ng agrikultura (It is an honor to work with our experts in addressing the needs of our country especially in the agriculture sector),” said the President, who concurrently assumed the post of Agriculture secretary.  

The new appointment in the Department of Agriculture was made days following Leocadio S. Sebastian’s resignation as undersecretary after he was implicated in an “illegal” plan to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar  

Mr. Marcos said in a vlog late Sunday that the country has an ample supply of sugar, noting that there is no need to import just yet. 

However, he said the country may import 120,000 metric tons of sugar in October, citing a potential supply depletion.  

“Maybe around October, the supply here in the Philippines will be almost gone, so we may need to import, but not a lot,” he said. “It’s not as much as 300,000 metric tons they were talking about before,” he said.    

Meanwhile, the President also said his administration is trying to look at “non-traditional” sources of fertilizer supply.  

The President earlier said he would reach out to China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia to secure the country’s fertilizer supply.  

Government efforts to mitigate the impact of rising fertilizer price include the issuance of e-vouchers to farmers and discussions between the Department of Trade and Industry and fertilizer traders, Mr. Marcos said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza