Pangilinan shrugs off his appointment as political accommodation

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NEWLY appointed Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday brushed aside speculations that his assumption to the post was just a political accommodation.

Pangilinan, who took his oath of office on Tuesday, has only about two years to serve in the Aquino administration.

"You can actually speculate as to the reasons behind. But as far as we are concerned, there are serious problems affecting our agriculture sector, which needs to be addressed and we are here to help address these problems," he said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

"Whether there are political implications or not, as far as I'm concerned, it's not my concern. It's not my—it's not an issue to me. The issue here is maraming problema ang sakahan," the former senator added.

He noted that the share of agriculture to overall economic growth last year was only about one percent. The economy grew 7.2 percent in 2013.

The poorest of the poor in the country are in the agriculture sector, he said.

"And therefore, kung gusto nating [pagtuunan] itong inclusive growth ng ating administrasyon at ng gobyerno, kailangang [tugunan] ang problema ng pagsasaka at ng pangingisda," he said.

Pangilinan also clarified that he has no plan to run for president in the 2016 elections.

"I'm not interested in the presidency. I’m not interested in, you know, elections at this time. If at all, maybe re-election, but I’m told that medyo mataas-taas na ako sa surveys so baka naman hindi ko na kailangan ng headache," he said.

Pangilinan reiterated that he is interested in addressing the problems that are plaguing the agriculture and fisheries sector.

He also warned smugglers from their illegal activities.

"Well, ang sa atin kung gusto nilang ituloy 'yung kanilang mga gawain ay magkakaroon sila ng problema," he said, recalling that when he was still the chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture, he conducted an investigation on smuggling.

"So hindi tayo papayag na sila ay mangingibabaw dito sa sektor ng bigas at pag-import ng bigas," he stressed. (SDR/Sunnex)

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