Secretary Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan tendered his resignation as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization. In a letter dated September 8, 2015 addressed to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Pangilinan expressed his gratitude to the President for his trust, confidence, and support.
“The support extended by His Excellency and the Cabinet has been crucial in addressing the challenges in the agriculture sector and the government’s vision of good governance and inclusive growth.”
President Aquino appointed then former Senator Pangilinan as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization on 5 May 2014 through Executive Order No. 70, transferring four agencies under the Department of Agriculture to the Office of the President: the National Food Authority (NFA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) through Executive Order No. 175 signed on the same day.
“The appointment as Presidential Assistant has provided a unique opportunity to serve the country, further expanding our understanding of the needs of our people and the intricacies of governance,” added Sec. Pangilinan.
Under Pangilinan’s helm, reforms were instituted in the four agencies, with cases filed against erring employees and those they are in cahoots with. The NFA put in place reforms in their importation process and made unprecedented rejection of bids that were not to the benefit of the country. This resulted to the lowering of rice prices even during the lean months– a factor in the lowering of the inflation rate which is now at .6%. The average price per metric ton of rice imports was also reduced, from USD $560 to USD $440 through a transparent prices that allowed for the rejection of bid offers that were too costly.
The increase in the circulation of NFA rice resulted to the lowering of rice prices from Php 44.00 per kilogram for well-milled rice and almost P41 per kilogram or regular milled rice to Php 33.00 per kilogram at present. The NFA turned in a profit of Php 1.8 billion in 2014, for the first time in two decades.
Four big-ticket irrigation projects worth close to Php 30 billion were approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), such as the Balog Balog High Dam Project, Jalaur Multipurpose Dam Project, Umayam River Irrigation System Project, Agno River Irrigation Project, Casecnan Irrigation Project, and the Malinao Irrigation Project. More than 400 irrigation facilities were turned over during Pangilinan’s term.
The coconut scale insect infestation from outbreak level is now down to manageable level, with only 1 hotspot remaining out of 57. In a mission report dated May 2015, the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) described the OPAFSAM-PCA cocolisap intervention effort as commendable and praiseworthy.
Pangilinan’s resignation is effective end of office hours of September 30, 2015. The Secretary hopes that the time period will be sufficient for the necessary transition for the four agencies and for the President to decide on his replacement.
“It has been an honor serving under your administration. I continue to wish for your success and for a better future for the Philippines,” Pangilinan ended.