Agriculture chief still has the President’s trust — Palace

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Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol -- PHILSTAR

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol still has the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo R. Duterte despite a call by lawmakers for his resignation because of his proposal that rice smuggling should be legalized, Malacañang said.

“Unless fired, yes!” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. told reporters in a text message on Thursday, Aug. 30, when asked if Mr. Piñol still enjoys the President’s trust and confidence amid calls for his resignation.

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, some lawmakers led by Quezon Rep. Danilo E. Suarez called for the resignation of Mr. Piñol as well as other officials in charge of the rice sector.

It’s plain stupidity to call for legalization of smuggling of agricultural products,” Deputy Minority leader Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. said in a press conference.

He added: “If you are the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, calling the legalization of smuggling, that’s plain economic sabotage that will endanger not only our economy, but of course our local farmers.”

For his part, Senior Minority Deputy leader Jose L. Atienza Jr. said: “The NFA (National Food Authority) NFA Council, the secretary of agriculture, if you cannot handle the proper provision of food for the Filipino… mag-resign kayong lahat (you should all resign).” — Arjay L. Balinbin