Agri offensive in MILF area

By Mico Agustin

INSTEAD of trading barbs or maybe picking a fight, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol was welcomed with open arms by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar during his visit at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao recently.

During his visit, Pinol who was previously tagged as anti-Moro while still governor, talked about improving farmers’ lives, especially among MILF fighters and their families that have been neglected by the government.

 

MILF Stronghold

Piñol came to the MILF stronghold as the main guest of honor in the graduation of 362 former combatants who went back to farming after attending the Farmers’ Field School (FFS), a joint program by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The program intends to train MILF combatants, who came from MILF farming areas in Matanog, Buldon and Barira in Maguindanao; Balabagan, Kapatagan and Marogong in Lanao del Sur; and Lanao del Norte, in agriculture as part of the preparation for the normalization phase of the peace agreement between the Philippine Government and the MILF.

JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito said he admired the graduates for their sincerity and commitment to complete the program.

 

Good News

Following the graduation of 362 farmers, Piñol told them that the governments of Japan and South Korea are eager to import Cavendish banana from the Philippines provided that it would come from them. 

“I wish that through this project, we could move on and find the peace that has eluded Mindanao for so long,” Piñol said in his speech.

Piñol also pointed out the interest of Japan to import 20 million boxes of Cavendish bananas yearly resulting from President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to the country in October last year.

“I was part of the President’s delegation during the Japan visit,” he said.

Piñol also reported that South Korea has expressed interest to import 30 million boxes yearly.

 

Former Enemies

To recall, Piñol spearheaded the petition before the Supreme Court that nullified the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) crafted by the government and the MILF peace panels in 2008.

Piñol was also one of the great enemies of the MILF when he was still a Governor and later a Vice Governor of Cotabato.

But the DA secretary’s visit to push for President Duterte’s agriculture program erased the impression that they were “mortal enemies.”

Murad and Piñol even hugged each other twice.

 

Moving Forward

“It’s not easy to move forward without facing our past, but the bottom line is we are here to bring government agriculture program to your people,” Pinol said.

"Alam ko na marami sa inyo ang galit sa akin. Ang tawag nyo sa akin Anti-Moro at maaring ginawa nyo pa na target paper ang mga campaign posters ko . (You used to call me anti-Moro and made my campaign posters as target papers). I would like to open my heart before you and show you who the real Manny Piñol is," he added.

 

Friends

Murad said the MILF leadership was surprised to learn that the Department of Agriculture was to hold the graduation ceremonies for the 362 farmer beneficiaries who underwent training in agriculture inside the MILF’s main headquarters.

“At first there was reluctance since many perceived Piñol to be anti-Muslim. But now, he is a friend of Muslims,” Murad said.

“Salamat sa ating Presidente. Meron na tayong kaibigan na Secretary of Agriculture. Meron na tayong bagong idol (Let us thank our President for he gave us a friend who is also the Agriculture Secretary. We now have a new idol)," he added.

After the ceremony, Piñol stated that he was somewhat relieved that his “anti-Moro” tag has finally been erased.

“I felt that the burden that I had carried on my back for so long, that is the pain of being accused anti-Moro in spite of my having so many Moro friends, has finally been unloaded. When I embraced Chairman Murad to say goodbye, I felt the warmth of his friendship,” he said.

“I promised him I would come back to help him pursue his dream of a better life for his people,” he concluded.

 

Like us in Facebook

Features

Latest News

NEDA Cites Need for a Stronger Planning Culture in Government

    To ensure optimum use of scarce human and financial resources, the government must have a stronger culture of planning to fully synchronize... Read More...
NEDA Calls for Innovation-led Industrial Policy

  An industrial policy propelled by innovation is needed to drive the country’s manufacturing growth amid the bleak near-term outlook of the... Read More...
Bong still unsure of Senate run

Should he stay or should he go?  This is the question that Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go is trying to answer and... Read More...
IMAGE In the know: Solar Philippines

Solar Philippines is currently the country’s – and Southeast Asia’s – largest solar-energy company. Founded in August 2013 by Leandro... Read More...
Stupid Name Giver and Other Laughs

Stupid Name Giver Late one night, a burglar broke into a house. While he was sneaking around he heard a voice say, "Jesús is watching you."  He... Read More...
Confession Code and other laughs

Confession Code AN old priest who became sick of all the people in his parish who kept confessing to adultery said one Sunday, in the pulpit,"If I... Read More...
IMAGE A DELICATE BALANCE

Photo courtesy of Top Gear Philippines Officials of motorcycle-sharing service company Angkas must be grinning all the way to the bank. After a... Read More...
IMAGE TULOY ANG LABAN SA DENGVAXIA

MABUTI naman at tuluyan ng nagpasiya ang pamahalaan na sampahan ng karampatang kaso ang mga sangkot sa kontrobersyal na Dengvaxia anti-dengue... Read More...

Our Guests

Today598
Yesterday885
This week7817
This month17527
Total1462701

Visitor Info

  • Your IP: 3.214.184.250

Who Is Online

19
Online

Sunday, 19 January 2020
© 2016 OpinYon News Magazine Online. All Rights Reserved.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.