By Antonio Colina
DAVAO CITY – Newly appointed Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol apologized to farmers and fisherfolks, who might not have been served well, as well as for his shortcomings as the former agriculture chief.
“Pasensya na po sa mga pagkukulang ko (I am sorry for all my shortcomings),” Piñol said in a statement issued hours after the Palace announced his appointment on Monday.
Piñol, who will serve as MinDA chair for six years or until 2025, thanked colleagues at his former office who helped him transform and change the corrupt image of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
He vowed to work just as hard in his new office.
“I was supposed to take my oath today as the new MinDA secretary, but I asked for a short vacation which my tired body has been craving for,” he said.
The former DA chief replaced Secretary Abul Khayr Alonto who died of heart complications last May 9. Lawyer Nathaniel D. Dalumpines, assistant secretary for Mindanao Concerns, was appointed MinDA officer-in-charge last May 20.
Secretary William Dar has replaced Piñol as DA secretary.
Piñol said he submitted his courtesy resignation as DA secretary two months ago after having differences with the government’s economic managers over some critical issues, including the passage of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law, making his stay at the agency “untenable.”
He said he would continue working for the agriculture and economic growth of Mindanao, specifically the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
As the new MinDA head, he will also be the Philippine signing official for the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia and Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a 25-year old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies.
BIMP-EAGA was founded in 1994 in Davao. Its focus areas include the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; the provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua and Papua in Indonesia; the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines.