By Argyll Geducos
Secretary Manny Piñol vowed to work as hard as when he was at the helm of the government’s agriculture portfolio as he would in being the new chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
Pinol formally assumed his post at MinDA after taking his oath Wednesday.
Pinol with have a fixed term of six years as MinDA chair, which carries the rank of Cabinet secretary.
According to Piñol, his new post will also allow him to be closer to where his heart is.
“This will also bring me closer to my family and, of course, my farm,” he said.
“Just as when I was Secretary of Agriculture I will work just as hard,” he added.
Piñol, meanwhile, thanked Agriculture stakeholders for their support and asked for their understanding for his decision to leave the DA. He said his new post will allow him to pursue his dream for farmers and fisherfolks.
“This was in the best interest of the Department and the stakeholders,” he said.
“At odds with the economic managers and a very powerful political personality, I felt then that I would get nowhere in my dream to serve the farmers and fisherfolks,” he added.
Earlier, President Duterte revealed that Piñol resigned as DA secretary. In his letter to the President, Piñol said he was open to be transferred to the MinDA to take over the position of the late Datu Abul Khayr Alonto.
This month, Duterte named former Agriculture Secretary William Dar as Piñol’s replacement.
Piñol’s new responsibility is a “multi-task job” to include Agriculture, Trade and Commerce, International Relations and even Security Concerns. He is also the Philippine Government’s representative to the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asia Growth Area Regional Grouping (BIMP-EAGA).
Aside from being the MinDA chair, Piñol’s added task is to serve as Duterte’s point-person to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Earlier, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said choosing the right person to handle MinDA was an important task since the government could not afford for the BARMM to fail like the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“We cannot afford to fail in this BARMM kasi pag nag-fail ito eh parang ARMM din ‘yan, nag-fail. Mahirap, mahirap, hindi pwede (Because it will end up like the ARMM if it fails. That would be difficult for all of us so it cannot fail),” he said.
“Failure is not an option kaya kailangan maglagay ng isang tao na pinagkakatiwalaan ng Presidente na marunong na administrador. Kasi yun ang kailangan diyan eh (that’s why the President needs to appoint a good administrator he trusts because that it was is needed in the BARMM),” he added.
Andanar said that some projects in the BARMM got stalled since not everyone leading the BARMM has experience in governance.
“Walang experience yung mga nag-take over pa in governance. Matagal silang naging rebelde diba (Those who took over are inexperienced since they were rebels for a long time, right)? They don’t also want to make the mistake of signing documents na (which are) illegal,” he said.
“So you need someone like Secretary Manny Piñol who knows the ins and outs of government para mas mapabilis yung kanilang pag-implement ng mga pagbabago, changes ng gobyerno doon sa BARMM (so the government can implement changes in the BARMM faster),” he added.