BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Sugar planters in Negros Occidental and its officials hailed the decision of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to temporarily take over the Department of Agriculture portfolio, as they vowed to work with his administration to ensure what they said is a “successful transformation that is long overdue.”
Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, who also chaired the BBM Negros campaign, said Marcos’ taking the helm of the Department of Agriculture show “he is serious in working on his campaign promise that agriculture will be a priority agenda in his administration, which will greatly benefit Negros Occidental in terms of food security and in our effort to wipe out insurgency.”
If the president leads DA, he can make a decision, which becomes executory right away, Gov. Eugenio Lacson earlier said.
Ferrer also said that they are hopeful that the much-awaited reforms in the sugar industry, including the full implementation of the sugar road map and full utilization of the Sugar Industry Development Act fund will be realized.
His sentiments were echoed by David Alba, representative of the Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra Inc. (AALCPI), the biggest independent sugar producers’ group in the country, who said Marcos’ decision “speaks highly of the importance he gives on food security and poverty alleviation.”
“Under your (Marcos) able leadership, we believe that we can transform Philippine agriculture and in time, make it less import dependent,” Alba said.
“We, in the sugar industry, have been unfairly labeled as a sunset industry. But we are confident that with you at the helm we can achieve self-sufficiency and even become a net exporter of agriculture products,” he added.
Alba said they are looking forward to working with the incoming president in rebuilding the agriculture sector. “We have worked on plans for decades to improve productivity but this were never realized because previous administrations or the cabinet members they appointed, failed to see that agriculture is vital in nation building.”
With President Marcos making it his priority agenda, hope for our thousands of farmers and millions of their dependents have been rekindled and we are grateful for this and we vow to help him achieve this, Alba added.
AALCPI has over 11,000 sugar producing members in Negros alone.*