Piñol to run for senator, resigns from MinDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 4, 2021   •   399

MANILA, Philippines— Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has resigned from his post to vie for a senatorial seat in the 2022 national elections.

In a Facebook post, Piñol announced that he has tendered his resignation which will take effect on October 5.

Piñol served as the Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary from June 30, 2016 to August 5, 2019 and as chairman of the MinDA from August 5, 2019 to October 5, 2021.

“I have reached a decision to vie for a seat in the Philippine Senate to pursue my advocacy to help the Filipino farmers and fishermen become more productive while at the same time ensuring food security and economic prosperity in the country,” he said in his post.

The official added that friends have pledged their support by lending vehicles and volunteering to print tarps and campaign in the field. He will run under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and will pursue programs for farmers and boost the country’s agriculture.

“Our mission is clear and precise: Let us turn the Philippines into a major producer in Agriculture and Fisheries in this part of the world while at the same time create income and job opportunities so that our loved ones do not have to leave home to find work abroad,” Piñol said. AAC

 

Duterte picks ex-Davao City councilor as new Mindanao Development Authority chief

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated former Davao City Councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta as the new chairperson of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Malacañang announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the Palace said Duterte signed Acosta’s appointment last January 6, 2022. She will lead the agency for a term of six years.

She replaced Manny Piñol, who stepped down last October 2021 after filing his 2022 senatorial candidacy.

“We wish Chairperson Acosta all the best in her new assignment, and are confident that she will continue the initiatives her predecessors pursued to accelerate the socio-economic growth of Mindanao,” the Palace said.

MinDa earlier said that Acosta will serve as its 8th chairperson and the second Mindanaoan woman to head the agency.

“As MinDA Chair, she will lead in coordinating, harmonizing, and integrating various socioeconomic development efforts for Mindanao with inter-regional, Mindanao-wide, and sub-regional impacts,” MinDA said.

The agency said Acosta will also act as “the Philippine Signing Minister leading the participation of Mindanao and Palawan as country’s BIMPEAGA focus areas given MinDA’s mandate as the permanent Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA (PCOBE) under RA 9996.”

Senate on total closure from January 10 to 16 – Sotto

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines ­– The Senate will be closed for a week amid rising COVID-19 infections among its employees, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Friday.

Citing a report from the Senate Medical Team, Sotto said there are now 46 active COVID positive cases in the upper chamber while 175 employees are under quarantine due to exposure and manifestation of symptoms.

Sotto said these employees are awaiting the result of their COVID-19 swab test.

He also mentioned that five staff of the Medical Bureau are under quarantine, which depleted their workforce and find it hard to attend to the needs of the infected employees.

“Medical has sent a Memo recommending 7 days of total closure of the Senate from January 10 (Monday) to  January 16 (Sunday),” he told reporters.

“They will conduct thorough disinfection and this will lessen contact among employees to prevent or slow down virus transmission,” he added.

Sotto said total closure means no one will be allowed to enter the Senate premises except for those involved in the disinfection process to be conducted on January 8 and January 15.

The House of Representatives earlier announced it has extended the lockdown in its offices until January 16, also due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

 

Defense chief Lorenzana tests positive for COVID-19 anew

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed on Wednesday that he has again contracted COVID-19.

In a message to reporters, Lorenzana said he was informed of his test result earlier in the day but he has not manifested any symptoms.

He said he is fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

“This morning I got the result of my swab test yesterday afternoon after the Senate hearing. I am asymptomatic,” he said.

“Yes, I am fully vaxxed. I’ll observe myself for several days after that I’ll have another swab,” he added.

The Defense chief first tested positive for COVID-19 in April and recovered.

Lorenzana took a swab test after undergoing screening for COVID-19 on Tuesday when he physically attended a Senate hearing for his department’s budget for 2022.

With this development, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they might suspend the budget deliberations on Thursday to give way for the testing of exposed Senate staff.

Lorenzana had interactions with several senators during the session. Among those who was exposed to him were Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino.

Senators and staff who had contact with Lorenzana have been asked to undergo quarantine and get tested after five days.

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