Piñol has instituted a ‘roadmap’ for DA – Usec. Cayanan

Marje Pelayo   •   June 28, 2019   •   2217

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol

MANILA, Philippines – Secretary Manny Piñol continues to perform as head of the Department of Agriculture (DA) following his submission of his courtesy resignation to President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (June 27).

However, the Secretary prefers to work silently while waiting for the President’s decision on his request to be relieved and be transferred to a different Cabinet position.

READ: Piñol goes ‘less audio’ as DA chief after Duterte’s talkative’ remarks

While the President contemplates on moving Piñol to chair the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Agriculture Secretary has asked the President to pick his replacement from DA’s undersecretaries whom he believes would “ensure the continuity of the programs” that the agency has started and are now in the pipeline.

Piñol’s recommendation for the next DA chief includes current Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Legislative Liaison Officer Waldo Carpio; Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan; and Undersecretary-designate for Finance Francisco Villano.

“These officials are all competent and loyal to your ideals and advocacies. 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,” the Secretary said in his letter.

Usec. Cayanan, for his part, said Secretary Piñol’s decision was unexpected.

Nevertheless, he is confident that the Department’s operations will run as planned because Piñol already laid a ‘roadmap’ for the next chief to work on.

“Ang maganda po ang ating departamento ay may mga road maps po tayo. (Our department already has a roadmap.) That, I think, (is) one of what we call accomplishments of the secretary’s administration,” Cayanan noted.

Among the challenges Secretary Piñol addressed in the DA were the outbreak of bird flu in Central Luzon in 2017 and the rice controversy in the country in 2018.

The Secretary opposed the enactment of the Rice Liberalization Law which lifted the quantitative import restriction on rice and removed the National Food Authority (NFA) regulatory functions.

The most recent was the Recto Bank incident that involved 22 Filipino fishermen allegedly hit by Chinese crewmen where President Duterte tasked Piñol to facilitate the offer of assistance to the affected fishermen. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

Palace says Duterte still pondering on attending ASEAN-US Summit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte is still pondering on whether or not to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States Summit in March.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President expressed willingness to visit the United States, however the president is not sure whether his visa will be approved.

Panelo added Duterte might not want to visit the US since some US senators “would be unhappy to see him”. This is amid the resolution of banning the entry of Philippine officials involved in imprisoning former Senator Leila de Lima.

READ: Bato confirms his US visa has been canceled

The Palace official also clarified that the President is not enforcing conditions regarding his visit in the US.

“From what I look at his responses, gusto niya pumunta, iyan ang naisip ko, (he wants to visit, that’s what I think),” Panelo said. “[Duterte] just expressed certain sentiments relative to some issues that may affect his entry.”

Duterte has been previously invited by US President Donald Trump but he refused due to the extreme weather conditions in the US as well as the long-hour flight.

Panelo cited that the recent invitation was not a personal one so the President is still pondering on whether to accept the invitation or not.

READ: Trump invites Duterte, other ASEAN leaders for March Summit

“This one is an official invitation to all ASEAN leaders and there is a special summit,” he said.

Trump has invited Duterte and nine other ASEAN leaders for the US-ASEAN Summit in Las Vegas.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

SWS: Duterte’s satisfaction rating hits new record-high

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction rating has reached a new record high, according to the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on the 4th Quarter 2019 SWS Survey, Duterte got a 72% excellent net satisfaction rating, which is seven points higher compared to his September rating of 65%.

Malacañang welcomed the survey result saying President Duterte still has the support of the people.

“This means that the President has the support of the people, for which he is very thankful. But more than that, the people support him because they feel his legacy of real change,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar .—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte vows to help Cebu build new infrastructures amid traffic woes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to help Cebu City build new infrastructures amid the severe traffic problem experienced in the city.

During his speech on Sunday (January 19), Duterte said that Cebu should focus on building a mass transportation system such as railway system.

“If you could make it a mass transportation, that would be better. Only few will be able to do that. But it’s either train or skyways. Let’s opt for elevated highways,” he said.

“The only way to do it is by utilizing a small commuter train and more highways. I will help you secure a loan for that,” he added.

The chief executive also said said he wants similar projects be constructed in Cebu. He reiterated that he does not want any project left unfinished —AAC

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