DAVAO CITY — Incoming Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol vowed to improve Samar province’s productivity and turn it to a model for the government’s intensified intervention to aid poor provinces.
A former North Cotabato Governor, Piñol was named by presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte as the next DA chief on Monday, May 16.
Piñol immediately launched his “Biyaheng Bukid” (countryside tour) on May 18 in a bid to get a deeper understanding of what needs to be done as the new agriculture secretary.
In his Facebook post on May 19, Piñol said said he hopes that his tour “would bring me to all the remote areas of the country never before reached by other national government officials and I wish to complete this before Rody Duterte assumes the Presidency on June 30.”
During his tour, he said he saw people queuing up for water in a small faucet along the road “but there were so many covered basketball courts built using tens of millions of people’s money.”
“This is the same illness which brought back my home province, North Cotabato, the ignominious club of the poorest provinces in the country from a lofty rating of No. 27 among the Top 30 in previous years,” he said.
Samar provinces composed of west, north and eastern provinces has a total of 1.3-million hectares was rich in natural resources but it belonged to the country’s top 10 poorest provinces.
“Blame it to too much local politics,” he added.
Piñol said: “In the last elections, I was told that votes were sold and bought for as much as P5,000 each.”
He said Samar has the potential of becoming a major producer of food as it is close to the two major urban centers – Metro Cebu and Metro Manila, but first, the mindset of the officials and the people in the province has to change.
Eastern Samar is the poorest among the three provinces and second poorest in the country with 55.4 percent poverty incidence.
“After President Duterte has assumed office, I will go back to Samar and lead the transformation of this very rich but poor island into a major food producer for the country,” he said. (davaotoday.com)