Piñol resigns as Agriculture Secretary

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DAVAO CITY (June 28) — Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has tendered his courtesy resignation as reports claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte is no longer satisfied with his performance.

But Duterte on Thursday said he has not yet accepted Piñol’s resignation.

In his resignation letter, Piñol stated “With the best interest of the Department of Agriculture and its stakeholders in mind, may I request that I be relieved from my present position as Secretary of Agriculture and reassigned to whoever agency you believe I would be effective, including the Mindanao Development Authority.”

Duterte said he plans to appoint Piñol to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

Duterte underscored that Piñol’s MinDA appointment is a cabinet position.

“Sabi ko pumunta ka nalang doon, tulungan mo nalang ako,” he said.

Duterte said he needs someone to help with the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which is the “first organized government that they have long wished for.”

Duterte also vouched for Piñol’s integrity in public service. “He is not corrupt. He is just talkative,” he said

Piñol recommended any of his three undersecretaries– Undersecretaries Waldo Carpio (Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Legislative Liaison Officer), Ariel Cayanan (Undersecretary for Operations), and Francisco Villano (Undersecretary-designate for Finance) — to replace him as Agriculture chief.

Piñol said the three undersecretaries are “all competent and loyal” to Duterte’s ideals and advocacies and familiar with the agency’s programs.

“They are also familiar with the very important programs which are now in the pipeline whose implementation may be waylaid if the new head of DA would be an outsider,” Piñol said.

The Agriculture chief also asked the President to give him a month to turn over all projects and programs to his successor.

He said he will be ready to assume a new post by August 1 of this year.

“Should you approve this request, may I be allowed to implement a transition period of one-month so that there will be an orderly turn-over of all projects and programs to my successor and ensure that the operations of the Department will not be affected,” Piñol said.

Meanwhile, Piñol also assured the President of his loyalty even after he steps down as head of the Agriculture department.

“I am a loyal friend and supporter and I will always make sure that I will be able to contribute to the implementation of your priority programs in the last three years,” Piñol said.

“Please be assured of my support and loyalty to your administration not only as the President of the country but as a friend,” he added.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed reports that Piñol would be replaced or transferred to another agency following reports of a Cabinet revamp.

Piñol was dragged into controversy after his meeting with the Occidental Mindoro fishermen whose boat was allegedly rammed and abandoned by a Chinese vessel at the Recto Bank (Reed) in the West Philippine Sea on June 9.

He was accused of coercing fishermen to lie after the latter changed their tune and said they were no longer sure about whether or not they were abandoned. Piñol denied the allegation. with report from PNA

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