Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol is a seasoned print and broadcast journalist who served as a writer for Pres. Fidel V. Ramos in 1992. He became the mayor of the municipality of M’lang in the province of North Cotabato, Philippines in 1995-1998, and then served as governor of the province in 1998-2007. From 2007 to 2010, he was vice governor of the same province.
So far, Secretary Piñol has the following accomplishments:
- He implemented a system of simplified governance by identifying the basic needs of the communities in the town of M’lang through the five letters W-L-R-L-P, which stand for Water, Lights, Roads, Livelihood, and Peace.
- The bottom-up agricultural planning program he initiated used the priority crops in Cotabato, focusing on four major crops: rubber, oil palm, banana, and coconut. This approach rapidly transformed the province from being one of the poorest provinces in the country in 1998 to one of the Top 30 Provinces with the Lowest Poverty Incidence in 2007.
- He initiated the establishment of the Monitoring and Advisory Group (MAG), which greatly contributed to the effective monitoring and success of the implementation of the World Bank-funded Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).
- Before the Supreme Court, he initiated the legal battle against the proposed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, which would create a semi-independent Bangsamoro state in southern Philippines.
- He designed the concept of corporate governance for local government units (LGUs) to generate revenues for LGUs dependent on the internal revenue allotment (IRA), while at the same time providing employment for local residents.
Secretary Piñol was born on 16 December 1953 in M’lang, Cotabato, where he completed his primary, intermediate, and secondary education at the top of his class. He pursued his bachelor’s degree in Development Communication at the University of Southern Mindanao in 2006 and his master’s degree in Rural and Economic Development in 2008. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Rural and Economic Development also at the University of Southern Mindanao.