DAVAO CITY – Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte named two more of his supporters who will join his would-be cabinet after June 30.
Duterte named former North Cotabato governor Emmanuel Piñol to head the Department of Agriculture and former Bureau of Immigration chief Andrea Domingo for the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor). Both Piñol and Domingo actively supported Duterte in the election campaign.
Piñol and Domingo are the new additions in the list of future Cabinet secretaries. Earlier, Duterte announced he has offered lawyers Salvador Medialdea as Executive Secretary and Salvador Panelo as chief of the Presidential Communications Group; the former Chief Executive Officer and President of the Clark Development Project Arthur Tugade for the Department of Transportation and Communications; Carlos Dominguez for the Department of Finance; the president of Lyceum of the Philippines Peter Laurel for the Department of Education; former press secretary Jesus Dureza and former Department of Justice secretary Silvestre Bello for the peace process; former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro for the same office; and, former Securities and Exchange Commission chief Perfecto Yasay Jr. as acting secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Duterte made clear that the Foreign Affairs or the Department of Justice were offered to his vice presidential running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
In an ambush interview, Teodoro said he has not accepted the offer as he is yet to consult his family.
Meanwhile, Piñol confirmed he has already accepted the offer to head DA. Why him?, Piñol said, “I am a farmer.” He stressed that he did not apply and he was even surprised it was offered to him.
Piñol disclosed he has two marching orders from Duterte – to make sure that food is available and affordable and stop corruption in the DA.
“I know it’s a gargantuan task,” Piñol admitted in an interview with reporters. He said the first task once he sits as secretary is to make sure that farmers return in top shape after their farms have been unproductive due to drought associated with El Niño.
According to Piñol, he would want to see the prepositioning of the needs of farmers such as seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs to start planting and rehabilitating farms. Piñol said after an El Niño there is bumper harvest, thus there is a need to prepare the National Food Authority (NFA) to have enough funds to absorb surplus production.
As promised by Duterte during the campaign that his administration will offer soft loans to farmers, Piñol said he will see to it that there is PHP1-billion fund as easy access credit fund.
He added that he will work with a system how the credit fund could accessed by farmers from the government rather than going to borrowing money from traders with high interest rates.
Piñol will start going around the country to see the situation in the countryside so that by June 30 he has a report to Duterte and kick start agricultural programs.
Under the Duterte administration, Piñol said agricultural programs will be focused more on the 20 poorest provinces. The projects will aim to producing food and alleviating poverty.
Piñol said he would only want to see that there is technology, financing and marketing.