In a surprising turn of events, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently appointed Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr., a renowned fishing tycoon, as the new Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA). This appointment comes after a year of President Marcos himself leading the DA, and it has sparked a wave of interest and curiosity about the new Agriculture Chief. Known as Kiko, Laurel is the president of Frabelle Fishing Corporation and is expected to bring fresh strategies and solutions to the agriculture sector with his extensive experience in the fisheries industry. Let’s dive deeper into the life of Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr., his qualifications for the role, and his future plans for the DA.
Born in 1966 to Francis and Bella Tiu-Laurel, Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. grew up in a family that was deeply involved in the fishing industry. His parents established Frabelle Fishing Corporation, which started as a small trawl fishing company in the Philippines. Over the years, the company expanded its operations into the Western and Central Pacific regions, becoming one of the world’s largest tuna fishing companies. Laurel was instrumental in the company’s growth, extending its market presence to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, and the United States.
Laurel’s journey in the family business started at a young age. He began in the engineering division, later moving to the sales department. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the company’s operations, he spent five years at sea aboard their fishing vessels. This hands-on experience allowed him to witness the challenges faced by fishermen and develop a deep empathy for their hardships and aspirations.
Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.’s extensive knowledge of the fisheries sector has led him to advocate for sustainable resource management and promote the Philippines as a leader in the fishing industry. He serves as the Chairman of the World Tuna Purse Seine Organization, an organization dedicated to sustainable fishing practices globally. His commitment to sustainability aligns with the goals of the DA to ensure the long-term viability of the agriculture sector.
Laurel is also the President of Agusan Power Corporation, which operates a hydroelectric power plant in Agusan del Norte. This involvement in the energy sector demonstrates his commitment to promoting renewable energy sources. His experience in power generation and distribution can contribute to the DA’s efforts to address energy-related challenges in the agriculture sector.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s decision to appoint Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. as the Secretary of Agriculture reflects his confidence in Laurel’s qualifications and understanding of the agriculture sector. Laurel’s long-standing friendship with President Marcos and his reputation as a hardworking individual further solidify his appointment.
As the new DA chief, Laurel is expected to tackle various pressing issues, including rising commodity prices, production challenges, and supply chain complexities. President Marcos has emphasized the importance of controlling agricultural commodity prices, recovering from avian flu and African swine fever outbreaks, and addressing alleged cartels that affect consumers. Laurel’s experience in the fisheries industry and his connections with experts in the field position him well to tackle these challenges.
Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. has expressed his dedication to the welfare of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk. In his speech following the announcement of his appointment, Laurel referred to them as his brothers and sisters, emphasizing his personal understanding of their hardships and dreams. He pledged to keep his office open to all, indicating his commitment to maintaining open lines of communication with stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
Laurel aims to build on the potential of the Philippines to become a leader in the fishing industry. He believes that Frabelle Fishing Corporation, as a Filipino-owned company, serves as a concrete example of success in the fishing industry. Laurel intends to leverage his experience and knowledge to further develop the mariculture industry and tap into the vast marine biodiversity of the country’s territorial and archipelagic waters.
Furthermore, Laurel’s background in the private sector and his involvement in the government’s Private Sector Advisory Council for Agriculture make him well-equipped to address the complex challenges faced by the agriculture sector. He brings a fresh perspective and is expected to explore new strategies to cushion the impact of climate change on local farmers, curb rising commodity prices, pursue modernization, and learn from neighboring countries’ successful agriculture sectors.
A New Era for Philippine Agriculture
Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.’s appointment as the Secretary of Agriculture marks a significant step towards addressing the challenges faced by the agriculture sector in the Philippines. His extensive experience in the fisheries industry, commitment to sustainability, and connections with experts in the field position him well to lead the DA. Laurel’s plans to explore new strategies, tap into the country’s marine biodiversity, and prioritize the welfare of farmers and fisherfolk demonstrate his dedication to the sector’s growth and development.
As citizens, it’s crucial to stay informed about the initiatives and progress made by the Department of Agriculture under the leadership of Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. By keeping ourselves updated, we can actively support and contribute to the sustainable growth of the agriculture sector in the Philippines.