President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants the Department of Agriculture (DA) to come up with a farm-to-market road (FMR) masterplan that will serve as a guide for the government in its bid to promote food security and empower rural communities.
In a meeting at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall in Quezon City on Monday, Marcos, who concurrently heads the DA, told agriculture officials that the masterplan should include regional maps detailing the exact locations of the farm-to-market roads to be constructed.
The masterplan must be studied thoroughly by the department and must be presented to the country’s economic managers, stressed Marcos.
“Kung sabihin nila saan ba ang areas na talagang kailangan nating buksan? We will go to Public Works. And also, what are the areas that we really want to open, that really need the FMR? Iyon ang unahin natin,” he said.
The plan should also include funding source, payment terms, as well as the time frame for project completion, he added.
The President also wants official development assistance-funded (ODA) projects to be constructed in priority areas identified by the government.
For state-funded FMR projects, he insisted that the DA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should take charge of the implementation.
The President also pointed out that the government must prioritize areas with active agricultural production to address supply chain concerns.
“FMR is the first step to solve some of the supply chain problem. So unahin muna natin ‘yung nagpo-produce,” he said.
It was also suggested that agricultural infrastructure should be climate-change resistant such as projects that are not prone to landslides and other calamities.
The chief executive added that the process of streamlining the functions of DA continues, as part of efforts to bring a tighter focus on its mandate.
“Siguro naman you have been hearing the new term now is ‘rightsize’. So that’s also something that we are going to have to discuss. That we have to rightsize the DA,” Marcos told officials.
Marcos earlier cited the need to rightsize government functions and streamline the bureaucracy to promote efficiency in public sector management.
“I have asked all of the department secretaries to do the same thing for their departments. So seeing as I am now holding the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture, we also have to do it in our department,” he added. (PND)