The head of Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the country’s Catholic bishops, said the decision of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to head the Department of Agriculture is “good.”
“[Marcos] as agricultural secretary is good because that way he would have a firsthand assessment of the state of poverty of many and hopefully lessen the bureaucracy of downloading help for the farmers,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas national director, in a report on Radio Veritas 846.
An ecumenical youth organization, however, said Marcos’ decision is “insultingly laughable.”
“He is just trying to get the support of the biggest sector in the country to placate the deep disappointment of peasants because of the outgoing … administration’s failures in agriculture,” said Kej Andres, national spokesperson of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines.
In an announcement made early this week, Marcos said it is “important that the president take that portfolio … to make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agriculture sector.”
He said it is also “a practical matter so that things move quickly, because the events of the global economy are moving very quickly.”
Andres, however, said if Marcos is truly aware of the plight of Filipino farmers, “he would provide genuine land reform” and distribute land, provide support and subsidy for farmers, break land monopoly, and end “militarization” in the countryside.