I would like to disagree with US-based think tank GlobalSource Partners Inc. when it said the decision of incoming President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to take on the Agriculture portfolio has been “ill advised” noting that the sector could end up “having to endure unhelpful flip flopping.”
Having the president of the land take on this portfolio in a concurrent capacity is just like making good on President Truman’s promise that “the buck stops here” or there is no one to take the responsibility except the Chief Executive.
Past administrations have been resorting to installing a department head, and if he/she flops, blaming everything entirely on the head even if the government machinery itself is at fault, meaning no financial or institutional support was given to the department head.
It is time the President takes all the blame or the praise for whatever decisions, policies, programs and projects he initiates. Let us stop this bad habit of passing the buck or pointing fingers at people. Let the blame fall on the last person who erred.
Last June 23, the US-based think tank-- which counts among its country expert- analysts past finance ministers, central bank president, IMF and World Bank country representatives, all of whom provide clients with in-depth, in-country, independent perspectives on local economics and politics-- said while the move might be bold, “some look at this as a looming first fumble,” GlobalSource told Business World.
“By not providing for a buffer, i.e., a person he can fire if things fall apart, the president-elect may end up regretting this boldness, especially since the risks are manifold, from procurement to unexpected outcomes,” it said.
But GlobalSource said some see the move as a timely way of using his political capital “for what will likely be many unpopular decisions.”
The think tank said Marcos’ popularity could allow him to act as a referee between those who lobby for liberal trade policies and those who have a protectionist stance.
“We note that his sister, (Senator Imee) a senator, is one of the louder critics of the current administration’s resort to importation to address food shortages,” it said.
Popularity concerns “have a way of being shifted to the fiscal area,” the group said, citing Marcos’ campaign promise of lowering the price of rice to P20 a kilo, which outgoing Da Secretary William Dar said could cost the government about P123 billion yearly.
“People who know the sector well believe that his reform success depends on who his point person will be, i.e., his senior undersecretary,” GlobalSource said.
“But at the end of the day, we cannot also dismiss what this decision may be about, i.e., the president-elect’s failure to find a suitable candidate prepared to take on a difficult job at a difficult time,” it said.
“In which case, we hope for the sake of the macro economy that he finds the right man soonest.”
Why don’t we give him a chance to prove he—with the massive resources lodged at his office and the entire government machinery behind him—can solve each problem one at a time.
We should not be expecting miracles from him. But I certainly think that his exposure to his father’s long reign and people who surrounded the strongman can serve as an inspiration for him to eventually pick the right man for the job. He has not even started yet. But here we are projecting that he would fumble and he has no one to point fingers at.
Every Filipino citizen would want to see him succeed because as he succeeds, the entire nation succeeds and benefits from his wisdom.