Piñol out of Agri, but not out of gov’t

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday confirmed that Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol is leaving his Cabinet post. But this does not mean he is out of government. 

The President said he wants a leader “in the likes” of Mr. Piñol to oversee the economic development efforts in Mindanao.

Mr. Duterte made his remarks during the inauguration of the Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Complex in Alangalang, Leyte on Friday evening.

“I’d like to just also mention that… Secretary Piñol will be leaving the agriculture portfolio. Hirap ako sa (I’m having a hard time with) Mindanao because we have created a new political entity there, the… BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) for that matter as it is known today,” the President said.

He added, “There seems to be a lag na nakikita ko (that I see) , there’s not much activity in really trying to devolve all — all powers of the national government relevant to the existence of BARMM. They seem to be… I am not saying that they are not moving. But ever so slow that I would need a point man there in the likes of Secretary Piñol.”

He then mentioned the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), which he described as “a special entity geared towards the full development of Mindanao.”

“With the changing political horizon there, we have to do what we promised to the Moro people,” he said further.

Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence T. Go announced on June 27 that Mr. Piñol had offered to resign as Agriculture secretary and suggested he be transferred to Minda.  Arjay L. Balinbin