AGRICULTURE secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol’s reassignment as new Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) head should be viewed with optimism. Born in Mindanao, his heart is unquestionably pro-Mindanao. He has the capability to address issues with resolve and parity.
Piñol does not easily yield to pressure. A former journalist, he rose from being an ordinary scribe to become a national sportswriter. As M’lang, Cotabato mayor, he tackled and even forcibly barred the MNLF secessionist militants from his turf. He exhibited grit and stood his ground which really pissed off the Moro rebels.
Due to such tough stance, many Moro fighters who supported the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), except for the cerebral leaders, have opposed his transfer to MinDA headed until recently by Abul Khayr Alonto, one of the original MNLF stalwarts.
To prepare the ground for his assumption as Mindanao’s development czar, Manny, as he is fondly called, led the first BARMM Agriculture and Fisheries Master Plan Assembly in Davao City, the output of which will be submitted to BARMM Chief Minister Ahod ‘Murad’ Ebrahim who will hand it over to President Duterte.
In a way, the assembly’s agenda reflect also the things Piñol embraced as Agriculture secretary. Included in the BARMM master plan are measures on how to address poverty, development of a sound food security plan that promotes self-reliance and affordability of staples, strategies for expanding agriculture and fisheries productivity, faster land titling to end clashes, and pursuing infrastructures that will speed up the region’s economic growth.
There’s so much goodness about Manny that his detractors have yet to learn. While he will oblige to cross swords with anyone despite his size, he stands by his principles unlike many others who waiver at miniscule threats. He keeps his composure in tight situations and does not sacrifice what is right.
Piñol’s role as MinDA head is far challenging that executing national policies. For a region wracked by conflicts over decades, Mindanao will benefit hugely from his assertive leadership and willingness to listen to issues that can make a difference.
Alfafara Matriach. Members of Cebu’s Alfafara clan will hold “a celebration a century in the making” in honor of their matriarch, Lourdes Celez Alfafara, who turns 100 years old on August 2. The event will be at Radisonss Blue Cebu in Cebu City.