• Incoming DA Secretary Manny Piñol vowed to make Samar into a major food producer
  • He called Samar an island of ironies due to the twisted mindset of its local government units
  • He said he saw people queuing up for water in a small faucet along the road while covered basketball courts dotted the province

Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, the incoming Agriculture Secretary of the entering Duterte administration, vowed to turn Samar into a major food producer and make it a model for the government’s intensified intervention to help poor provinces.

In a bid to get a deeper understanding of what needs to be done when he starts working as the new head of the Department of Agriculture, Piñol launched “Biyaheng Bukid” [countryside tour] last week.

In a post in his Facebook page, the incoming Agriculture Secretary said: “I started a journey I call ‘Biyaheng Bukid’ which I hope would bring me to all the remote areas of the country never before reached by other national government officials. I would like to see the countryside for myself so that I would have a deeper understanding of what needs to be done when I start working as Secretary of Agriculture.”

In one of his countryside tours, Piñol narrated what he saw in Samar. He tagged the province as “an island of ironies” which he said stemmed from the “twisted mindset” of its local government units.

“I saw poverty along the way. People were 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,” he said.

Piñol said the province’s local governments failed to harness Samar’s soil for agricultural development.

Being close to the two major urban centers – Metro Cebu and Metro Manila, Samar has the potential to become a major producer of food. But he said the mindsets of officials and the people in the province have to change.

“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.