Outgoing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol poses with the members of PCAF’s NSSCCs and AFCs in a Thanksgiving celebration especially prepared for him.

Members of the National Sectoral and Strategic Concerns Committees (NSSCCs) and newly-elected Chairpersons of the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) acknowledged the significant contributions of outgoing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on August 13, 2019 in Quezon City.

Through the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), a special meeting was held after the turnover ceremony of the new leadership of the Department of Agriculture. In the meeting, the NSSCC and RAFC representatives gave their respective messages to the former Secretary.

PCAF Executive Director Sarah Gutierrez-Cayona mentioned that the activity is a fitting farewell to the full and unwavering support of the former Secretary to the NSSCCs and AFCs, as well as to PCAF in their quest to uplift the condition of the farmers and fisherfolks.

“We know your challenges because we have a very vibrant private sector that you have to recon with. They are always complaining and their expectations and demands, although reasonable, are usually very difficult to address. Still you did your best and you did very well. We appreciate your time in listening to us and making decisions which were clearly pro farmers,” said NSSCC representative Dr. Rufina Salas.

Gusto ko lang sabihin ang aming pasasalamat sa inyo, Mr. Secretary sa inyong suporta at sa inyong atensyon na ibinigay sa AFCs. I have been serving for more than 15 years as RAFC chairperson of Region 2 and it was only during your watch, Mr. Secretary that I have experienced this kind of support to the AFC,” said AFC representative Isidro Acosta.

After serving more than three years in the Department, Sec. Piñol will lead the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

“As Secretary of the Agriculture, I thought I will be able to give ways and realize what I have long wanted to do with the Filipino farmers, which included my grandfather and my father,” he said recalling the first few days after he was appointed as new Chief of the Department.

During his term, he led the Biyaheng Bukid, a face-to-face dialogue with the farmers and fisherfolks of different regions wherein he presents the DA programs and projects, and answers questions from them.

“I may not be able to visit every town, but I believe I can claim to the distinction of being the only Secretary of the Department of Agriculture who toured the country just to listen to the voice of the people,” he said.

As he assumes position in MinDA, former Secretary Piñol assured the NSSCCs and AFCs, particularly the RAFCs in the Mindanao region, that he will work with them closely. | JC