(‘BIYAHENG BUKID’) Piñol: Back to basic PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 June 2016 13:55

By BHONG SIMBAJON

Incoming Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol will start his job as DA new chief by going back to basic in looking after the welfare of the farmers and fisherfolks.

Piñol is presently conducting a region-to-region visit in his self-designed caravan called “Biyaheng Bukid” in which he goes around the different areas of the country where farmers are located and do some personal consultations and assessment on the existing government programs and to determine what the Duterte administration can do or change in order to improve the lives of those who toil the land work on the sea.

The new DA secretary was in Zamboanga City Thursday as part of his caravan trip to personally gather substantial data and actual assessment on the ground, with regards to the farmers problem here.

In an exclusive and first radio interview at RMN Zamboanga, Piñol emphasized that he will let down the high expectations of the public to his president as well as in his leadership in the agriculture department.

“I am a farmer myself, so I don’t see any problem of getting immersed on the problems this sector is in. I am the first cabinet secretary assigned in DA who is from Mindanao,” Piñol said.

Piñol said that he did not think twice in accepting the designation because he does whatever his “compadre” tells him to do, for the love of the country.

The secretary said that the president has directed him two things: First is to make sure that each and every Filipino has food in their table and the second to put to stop to corruption in the Department.

“It is very easy to say, but very hard to do. Just imagine, I will have to comb down the line to put a stop to the corruption in government, especially in my department,” Piñol said.

He is set to create an intelligence division under his office to strictly monitor the progress of all DA infrastructure projects, programs and other priorities of the department and to make sure that it reaches the hands of the real farmers of each district.

Piñol  will also investigate certain questionable irrigation projects, programs implemented and other relevant functions of the DA which were previously alleged as reflections of corruption in the said administration.

The secretary said that his task is very tough but the president has to be followed in trying to reach out the government to the people to whom he owed in the overwhelming results of the last election.

He also warned DA officials to stop their illegal activities as he is cleansing his department from scalawags.

Usage of luxury cars, fiesta-type welcome ceremonies and even garlands are only some of the “dont’s”, Secretary Piñol wanted to happen in his department.

“I am giving a stern warning to all government workers under my office to refrain from their usual anomalous jobs, or else, suffer the consequence of their acts, I will really take them out from my department, I don’t care,” Piñol said.

The secretary visited WMSU College of Agriculture and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Research Center in San Ramon, then initiated a dialogue with farmers organizations in the entire city, to determine the needs of the said sector and for his department to be able to act on it directly and not passing thru the hands of the LGU’s or any agency to fast track his priority programs for the farmers of the region.

During the dialogue, Piñol jotted down the problems and challenges the Zamboanga farmers are experiencing for him to be able to sit down work for solutions.

“As of now, there are a lot of unnecessary programs being adopted by the DA in which billions of people’s money are spent but ended up nothing, because of lack of relevance. I will scrap them all as well as those complaints on irrigation fees which I will also remove to lessen the burden of our farming sector,” Piñol said.

The secretary also appealed to Zamboangeños to help him improve the farming industry as well as in taking more comprehensive measures to alleviate the lives of the farmers in the city and the country in general. – Bhong Simbajon/RMN News