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Agri chief gets CA nod, eyes whole-of-nation approach to modernize farm, fisheries sectors

The Commission of Appointments has confirmed the ad interim appointment of Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr. as Secretary of Agriculture on December 5.

During his presentation to the CA, Sec. Laurel emphasized his vision for a modernized Philippine agriculture.

“Feeding 118 million Filipinos is a daunting yet ‘achievable goal’ with a whole-of-nation approach to the modernization of the long-neglected agriculture sector,” he said.

After deliberations, the CA plenary unanimously approved his interim appointment.

Laurel was appointed on November 3 by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, a portfolio that the president held for over a year to underscore the sector’s importance in ensuring food security and job creation since it employs one in every four working Filipinos.

“I am now 56 and I’ve been called to serve the country—to lead it out of high food prices; low food production; broken food supply chains; lack of irrigation, cold storage, credit, and other key inputs; and aging farmers and fisherfolk. Add climate change and geopolitical disruptions to this mix, and the task of feeding 118 million Filipinos becomes even more daunting,” Laurel told the CA’s Committee on Agriculture chaired by Bataan Rep. Albert Garcia.

“But I view these problems as a challenge. And I shall apply my knowledge and experience in building a diversified global company to this achievable goal. I shall apply these lessons to serve our larger family of the Filipino people,” the agri chief added.

Laurel was just 28 when he took over the reins of Frabelle, a deep-sea fishing company established by his parents.

He joined the family business at age 19, spending months at sea as he joined Frabelle’s fishing expeditions. Conferences and seminars overseas that his father sent him to in order to continue his education gave Laurel valuable lessons that he used to grow Frabelle into a diversified conglomerate with interests in food manufacturing, deep-sea fishing, property development, shipyard operation, aquaculture, cold storage chain, and renewable power.

“Natutunan ko na dapat ring humingi ng tulong. Humility and faith in fellow journeymen take