In his first-ever provincial sortie as Team Leader of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol visited the island province of Occidental Mindoro to emphasize that the Duterte administration delivers.
“We are here with you because we want to explore the potentials of your province as a significant source of food, because of your proximity to the hungry mouth of the country that is Metro Manila,” Piñol stressed during an interaction with farmers, fishers, and other agri-stakeholders including the Mangyans of Barangay Matulatula, in the town of Pola.
“With your vast resources, you clearly play an important part in the mission of President Duterte to provide available and affordable food for every Filipino,” he said.
Aside from Mindoro, Piñol is looking at capacitating Quezon, Bicol and other parts of Central Luzon as key production areas to feed Metro Manila.
True to his words, he immediately approved projects including the establishment of water systems in 11 communities as well as the opening of dirt roads that will provide access going to and coming from food production areas in the town of Pola.
“I want this done immediately, kaya bago matapos ang taon, may tubig na kayo,” he announced.
“We can easily bridge the 1.18 million metric tons rice deficiency if all farms will increase one metric ton per cropping season,” he said.
The agri chief announced that the current administration is pushing for the increase in yield while lowering production cost, and vowed to provide full support to the agriculture sector.
For one, DA will build farm to market roads, on the condition that it will lead to key production areas and potential key production areas.
Piñol also made rounds in Socorro and met with local government chiefs of the province. During the interaction, he urged the local executives to carefully identify beneficiaries of agri-fishery projects and implore them to take accountability and responsibility for any assistance provided to them.
The Secretary announced that he will push for common and team ownership where not one person will receive package of assistance from the government. Through this scheme, at least two individuals will take care of the projects entrusted to them and an entire community will profit from it.
Under Piñol’s leadership, DA will focus on two areas: food security and job generation.
To achieve this, DA is set to establish a national color-coded agri-fishery map that will identify viable and appropriate crop to a specific location using updated soil analysis. DA will also conduct a national food consumption study to establish what food items are in demand and require intense production.
“I have long dreamed of bringing reforms to the Philippine agriculture, and I’m happy I was given this opportune privilege of serving you,” Piñol said.
“Sana po pagbalik ko dito, makita kong umunlad na ang mga buhay nyo.” (Adora Rodriguez, DA-AFID)