A post containing an open letter addressed to the Filipino people from the incoming DA Secretary assuring the public he will do his best for the country.
In a Facebook post shared more than 1300 times, former Governor Manny Pinol published a long open letter to assuage the critics who are questioning his credentials as the incoming Secretary of the Department of Agriculture appointed by no less than the presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the post, the former Governor of North Cotabato provided the public a glimpse of his background and why he believes he can live up to the expectations of the Filipino people as the top farmer of the country in the next 6 years.
You may READ the FULL TEXT of the OPEN LETTER of the incoming Secretary of the Department of Agriculture:
Open letter to the Filipino people
I’M HUMAN LIKE YOU,
BUT I’LL DO MY BEST
By Manny Piñol
Minamahal na mga kababayan:
Today is the second morning since that Monday evening when President-elect Rody Duterte surprised me with the announcement that I will be his Agriculture Secretary.
I felt like I was floating on Cloud 9 because I believe that the appointment was a recognition of what I could do for the Filipino farmers and the Filipinos who depend on what the farmers could produce.
Today, nahimasmasan ako.
I now realised that this is not an easy job.
Agriculture and food production is the centerpiece of any governance, most especially for the Duterte Presidency because he promised “Available and Affordable Food” for the Filipinos.
If I fail, the President will fail, that is if he is not fast enough to kick me out right away.
The challenges are tough and the odds very high.
Already, my qualifications are now being questioned. It’s hurting that there are insinuations that since I was educated in the public schools in the province, I do not possess the qualifications to be the Secretary of Agriculture.
I am not the kind of guy who brags about himself but for the record, let me just state here once and for all a few information that people must know about me.
1. I was born to a poor family. We’re 11 brothers and one half-sister. All of us sons were brought up by a very strict father who taught us how to love the soil. We were required to work in the farm on weekends. My grandparents on my father side, Jose Cordero Piñol and Azucena Malasador Magbanua, were poor farmers from Iloilo who migrated to Cotabato after WWII. My grandfather on my mother side, Venancio Pantin, was from Abuyog, Leyte and my maternal grandmother, Gertrudes Colloquio, was from Janiuay, Iloilo. My late father, Bernardo, graduated from the elementary grades barefoot but he taught us the value of education. My mother, Efigenia was my teacher in the elementary grades and my trainer in oration and declamation. I do not smoke and I do not drink alcohol. I gave up smoking in 1998 and alcohol 10 years ago. A few of my brothers drink but no one smokes anymore. We have never been into drugs. I do not only understand the meaning of hunger and poverty, I felt it and I know how painful it is to be poor and hungry.
2. I finished my elementary and high school education in the public schools. I graduated valedictorian from both levels. I went to so many colleges, including a short stint in a seminary to study priesthood, but I dropped out to pursue my dream to be a journalist. I finished by college education when I was already Governor of North Cotabato under the ETEAP from the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), a state university where I also earned my Master’s Degree in Rural Economic Development. I am four subjects and one dissertation short of my Phd or Doctoral Degree in Rural Economic Development.
3. I finished my 9-year-term as Governor of North Cotabato without any graft or corruption charges filed against me. I consider as my greatest achievement the reduction of the poverty level of North Cotabato from 52.6% in 1998 to only 29% when I left office in 2007. I entered politics poor and I left even poorer. It was during my term as Governor of North Cotabato when I advocated a reversal of the planning process for rural development and agriculture, emphasising that the people at the bottom level should be made to decide what is good for them and all that government should do is to design a program which would address the need. They later called it “Bottom-Up Planning” which is now being implemented nation-wide.
4. I am not a perfect person. I have my weaknesses and I made missteps and blunders as a leader but in all of those instances, I looked at those incidents as part of the learning process. I have personal issues too just like everybody else but I do not let these stand in the way of my desire to serve the people. Some groups are reviving the political issue against me that I grabbed lands away from people. That is an outrageous lie. Kung totoo yan eh di sana may kaso ako. I am accused of being anti-Muslim because of my opposition to the MOA-AD when I was vice governor of North Cotabato. I have always maintained that the MOA-AD was a political document which was drafted and was about to be signed without even consulting with the stakeholders of areas to be affected by the agreement. I will just let my Moro friends tell people who I am because any statement that I make will be self-serving. I just would like to share the information that my food in the farm is prepared by a Maguindanaoan family staying with me for so many years now. I send their siblings to college as my personal scholars and I support the education of their children who lovingly call me “Tua” or grandfather. Let me just state clearly that I support President Duterte’s position on the Bangsamoro issue and the New People’s Army.
5. I am extremely proud that I was brought up in the farm. I know how to plow the fields using a carabao-drawn plough; I know how to plant rice, corn, vegetables, trees, fruit trees; I love to breed chicken, goats, carabaos, sheep, dogs and cats. I understand organic farming and I produce vermicast for my own vegetables. I know how to harvest and thresh palay using my feet. When I lost in my bid to regain the governorship of North Cotabato, I retired to my farm and focused on developing a new breed of free range chicken for meat and eggs which I call Manok Pinoy. This name is now registered with the Intellectual Property Office. I confidently lay claim to the distinction of being the First Practicing Farmer to become Secretary of Agriculture.
6. My field exposure as a local government leader made me realise the problems affecting the country’s farmers and why, in spite of the fact that we are endowed with so much resources, the country could hardly produce enough food for its growing population. Most of all, I feel that discontent, the needs, the dreams and the aspirations of the country’s farmers. I shared these dreams and aspirations and I promise that under the leadership of an incorruptible President Rody Duterte, I will ensure that Change will come to the lives of the Filipino people. Let me copy President Duterte’s famous lines: “I am a Filipino and I love my country. This is the land of my birth and the home of my people and I am ready to serve and die for this country.”
So, there it is my dear people. That is who I am. Some may still question my qualifications. I will not begrudge them but I assure you, nobody could question my love for the Filipino people and this country.
To the followers of this page, I would like to advise you that there will be discernible changes in the way I would write the posts.
Since I am now part of the official family of President Rody Duterte, I have to be more circumspect in my statements and declarations.
I will continue using this page, however, to reach out to the Filipino people.
I cannot promise that I would be a flawless Secretary of Agriculture. There would be and could be missteps along the way. I would be very happy to receive feedbacks from you.
Just a word of caution though. I am a very emotional and sensitive person. If there is anything you would like to call my attention to, please do it in a civil manner.
Hwag nyo naman akon alipustain at murahin dahil matanda na ako.
Remind nyo lang ako and I will gladly look into the merits of your complaints.
I can only assure you that I will live up to the expectations of our people and our President Rody Duterte.
Mabuhay ang Pilipino.
Nagsimula na ang Umaga ng Tunay na Pagbabago.
(Photos show our family picture when our children were small and our father was still around and the 11 brothers with our 87-year-old Nanay Pining who is ill with Alzheimers.)
SOURCE: Manny Pinol