SPECKS OF LIFE: Appoint a permanent DA secretary

“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.” – PLATO.


At the rate things are so swiftly happening at the doorsteps of the Department of Agriculture, no longer does it make us wonder if or should a permanent DA chief be appointed by Pres.BongBong Marcos.

It is no longer a surprise that many of the executives below the hierarchy are unable to make definitive actions and arrive at a most rational decision because they are scared stiff of committing a mistake and lose their jobs.

They become tentative – like the skyrocketing price of onions and the scarcity of supply – until and unless the DA chief, who is currently the Malacanang tenant, is physically present to give them the greenlight.

PBBM however has more than just one department to focus his time and attention on. Which is why there are undersecretaries who will sub for him and chart the appropriate ways and means to treat and resolve issues and concerns.

The onion thing has become a hot topic and the opposition – especially those who hate (to the bone) the elder Marcos whose name PBBM carries proudly – are exploiting the failure of the DA to solve the matter with resoluteness and clarity.

If you notice the eyebags swelling underneath the President’s eyes, everyone will assume that the Chief Executive had not been resting the medically prescribed eight hour sleep routine.

Which means PBBM is spending more and much of his time reading, discussing and comparing notes with those around him to come up with a presidential decision when the new day greets him the next morning.
His trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has been the object of ridicule, tirades and assault from “wise” men and women of the other side of the political fence as they continue to underestimate PBBM’s capacity to govern effectively.

Whether these smart alecks are faultfinding or not, the unsolved skyrocketing price of onion has become a grave national issue which the President’s men at the DA could not take care of because of a “leadership” vacuum.

Onion growers and farmers, particularly from the island province of Occidental Mindoro, are of the collective opinion that a cartel is manipulating the supply of this spice because there is no fresh supply of the item in the market.

Price tags in the public markets and supermarkets in the Mindanao area are in the range of P400 upwards while in Luzon and Metro Manila, the selling price is P700 plus.

The great need of the hour is a decisive presidential action as regards the timing of importation orders which is in conflict with the harvest season that would render inutile the efforts of onion farmers to earn a decent profit.

It is unbelievable how an ordinary ingredient in cooking has suddenly become as pricey as it is today. Its price has soared dramatically to the consternation of the Filipino household, and the public in general.

Could the President satisfy the yearnings of his constituents to see economic smugglers and saboteurs publicly identified, subpoenaed, tried and jailed?

There is a legal process to follow and because the wheels of justice grind so exceedingly slow, the courts litigating this matter may not find resolution as quickly as generally expected.

Ideally, the President should prioritize the issues that matter most.

Appointing an experienced man at the helm of the DA will lessen PBBM’s load so that he can focus on the most relevant matters which are basic to the needs of the people he has sworn to serve.

Because he is the best salesman who can make the best credible sales pitch, the President should not be deterred from traveling even by the harshest criticisms thrown at him by the opposition and insatiable critics.
He cannot please everyone.

But when an issue such as the puny onion is not resolved by his underlings, then PBBM is allowing himself to be held hostage by people in whom he has reposed his trust.

The inappropriate comparison between him and his dad may be discomforting but it cannot be avoided because the incumbent Malacanang resident is the same boy who wanted to be President when his father was Chief Executive decades ago. (Email feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

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