KIDAPAWAN CITY: Incoming Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol presented his chosen undersecretaries and directors during the First Farmers and Agri-Stakeholders’ Forum here on Friday.
Piñol named as undersecretaries, Ranibai Delangalen of Maguindanao and Bernadeth Romulo-Puyat, daughter of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, who is the only incumbent undersecretary he retained in office.
He said Evelyn Laviña of Davao City will head the DA-High Value Crop Program, while Pompy Laviña, a businessman from Cagayan de Oro City, will oversee the DA’s Entrepreneur Program for Farmers.
In addition, Piñol has tapped lawyer Jovy Bernabe to head the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC); Engr. Ceasar Sulaik, National Irrigation Administration (NIA); and Commodore Eduardo Gongona, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
Moreover, Hazel Sto. Niño will be assistant secretary for special concerns while Ferdinand Piñol, the secretary’s brother and former M’lang town administrator, will be his executive assistant.
Piñol also introduced Mila Casis of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, as the new DA Region 12 chief who will replace outgoing Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan.
He said the incoming agriculture officials were chosen based on their experience, capability and dedication to public service.
The incoming secretary committed to eliminate corruption in the agency and alleviate the lives of poor farmers, specifically in the region, as his program under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will focus on rice sufficiency program to cope with the current shortage of 1.8 million metric tons of rice.
For a start, Piñol promised the farmers free palay and corn seeds and fertilizers in two successive cropping seasons.
“This is a start to give you (farmers who suffered the recent El Niño effects) a good chance to improve your lives and the next generation,” he stressed.