William Dar is new acting DA chief — Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2019   •   852

William Dar

MANILA, Philippines — Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed the appointment of William Dar as acting Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Dar will take over the Department from Secretary Manny Piñol who has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to head the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

Dar served a one-year term as secretary of Agriculture (1998-1999) under the administration of former President Joseph Estrada.

He was the former director-general of the International Center for Research in the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) from 1999 to 2014.

He served as the founding director of DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research.

Dar is expected to join this afternoon’s Cabinet meeting at Malacañang. – with details from Rosalie Coz

Palace on MECQ extension: Health-economy balance needed

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 10, 2020

Amid requests for extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang said it is up to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to decide if an extension is necessary.

In a statement on Monday (August 10), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a balance between health and the country’s economy is needed while fighting against the pandemic.

“On the suggestion to make the MECQ effective for one month, this is a decision that has to be made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). It entails a delicate balancing of protecting and saving people’s health to protecting and saving the economic health of the nation,” Roque said.

Former Special Adviser to National Task Force Against Covid-19 Dr. Anthory Leachon said that in order to flatten the curve, MECQ in NCR and other provinces should be extended to one month.

“Kung talagang MECQ ang gusto nila, isagad nila ng isang buwan, tapos ibuild-up na iyong healthcare capacity. Magpa-flatten tayo ng curve, (If they really want MECQ, they should extend it for a month then build up healthcare capacity. We might flatten the curve),” Leachon said in a statement.

Meanwhile, several members of the IATF and Cabinet members will fly to Davao City for a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace unconvinced PH has higher COVID-19 cases than Indonesia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

Malacañang is not convinced that the Philippines has surpassed Indonesia in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

During a press briefing on Friday (August 7), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines is conducting more COVID-19 tests which resulted in more confirmed cases.

Ibig sabihin po dahil mas maigiting ang ating pagte-test hindi totoo na mas marami tayo kaso kaysa sa Indonesia. Hindi lamang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sino-sino ang mga umiikot na mayroong sakit at least tayo alam kung sino po sila (It means we are conducting more tests. It is not true that we have more cases than Indonesia. The Indonesians don’t know who are sick at least, on our case, we know),” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has previously explained that the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines cannot be compared to other countries because of the population difference and health care system.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said no country can say they have been successful in their fight against COVID-19.

“No country could ever say they are successful. Look at Japan, look at Italy, even Vietnam, and Singapore,” he said. “We focus on what we are doing is appropriate, proper, and practical rather than everyday compare yourself.” -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DA takes on challenge to achieve 2% growth in agriculture

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is taking on the challenge to exert all efforts to enable the country’s agriculture sector to grow by at least 2 percent (2%) per year.

This is based on the challenge posed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez for the DA to fulfill a 2% annual growth target for the agriculture sector to keep it ahead of the country’s population expansion rate.

“We accept his challenge. He [Dominguez] has been instrumental in paving the way for the Department to shine, especially as the Philippines faces one of its biggest threats, the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to DA Secretary William D. Dar.

According to the Agriculture Department, crops, such as palay and corn, fisheries and poultry production are expected to bring in the positive numbers to achieve the 2% annual growth target.

The country is already facing a recession as economy drops to 16.5%. AAC

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