Food security czar Francis Pangilinan resigns

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has resigned from his post.

"Yes, it is true I submitted my letter of resignation last week effective September 30," Pangilinan confirmed in a text message to Rappler on Tuesday, September 15.

"I had met with the President two weeks ago to relay to him this decision for his consideration," he added.

President Benigno Aquino III accepted Pangilinan's resignation effective September 30.

In a letter to Pangilinan dated September 11, but released to the media4 days later, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr  relayed to the outgoing food security chief: "On behalf of His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III, this is to inform you that your resignation is hereby accepted, effective 30 September 2015."

Ochoa added: "Please accept out sincerest appreciation for the time you have devoted to serving the Office of the President. We wish you all the best in all your future endeavors."

'Future plans'

As to why he is resigning, Pangilinan said it was due to "future plans to be announced in due time."

Malacañang confirmed that Pangilinan plans to run for senator in the 2016 elections.

"According to Pangilinan, he has decided to run again for the Senate," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message to reporters.

Pangilinan had previously served as a senator from 2001 to 2013.

A close ally of President Aquino and a member of the Liberal Party, he was appointed to the Cabinet post in May 2014. (READ: Pangilinan: I’m here to help ‘clean up’)

As Food Security czar, he was given mandate over 4 agricultural agencies: National Food Authorty, Philippine Coconut Authority, Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, and National Irrigation Administration.

Is it not yet certain what will happen to these 4 agencies given his resignation. Pangilinan said the decision is still "awaiting OP (Office of the President) action."

Pangilinan is the third Cabinet member of tender his resignation in the last couple of weeks, after Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II who is running for president, and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo. Domingo, however, has agreed to remain until after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Summit in November.

Other Cabinet secretararies are expected to resign in preparation for the 2016 elections, among them, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and Joel Villanueva, chief of the Technical and Education Skills Development Authority.  – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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