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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Zamboanga City - Today, the Mindanao Development Authority team which I led was supposed to take a 14 to 15-hour sea travel via Philippine Coast Guard vessel to Mapun and Turtle Islands of Tawitawi Province.

Together with the Dept.of Information and Communications Technology, we were scheduled to set up and launch the VSAT communications system which would link the islands to the rest of the country.

During the final briefing yesterday however, the Coast Guard satellite images showed very rough seas prompting us to defer the trip.

Since I am already in Zamboanga City, I decided to cross the channel and check on the fishermen in the island of Basilan.

The island has been identified as one of the sites for the Mindanao Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Program's Fish Centers.

Watch the full video below:


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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) media team took more extensive footages, including aerial shots by a drone, of the progress of work in the P1-B Alicia-Olutanga Road project in Zamboanga Sibugay funded by the Asian Development Bank.

While indeed there were spans of the 29-kilometer road project which had been paved with concrete, longer stretches of the road are still virtual quagmires which are unpassable.

In fact, in the portion of the road in Mabuhay town, our convoy composed of several 4x4 vehicles had to turn back because the mud was so deep and there was no way we could have passed through it.

This more extensive video footage is being shown by MinDA to put to rest earlier allegations made by people working with or sympathetic to the construction company that I was unfair in my reportage on the progress of the work.

It is evident in the long video footage that there was a marked absence of road building equipment which were supposed to work as it was a sunny day, although it was a Sunday when I passed through the road.

Obviously, there had not much action in the project especially in the portion which stretches from Olutanga to Mabuhay towns in the island of Olutanga.

Let this be a gentle reminder for those undertaking government projects in Mindanao, regardless of whether these are private groups or other government agencvies: MinDA will take an active role in actually monitoring the progress of the projects.

I consider my position as Chairman of MinDA as that of a field commander assigned by the President in the front lines and I will give him an accurate picture of what is going on in the battlefield.

MinDA will point out what is missing and what is wrong. Our agency will never submit glossy and inaccurate reports to the President.

Sorry na lang sa masagasaan. Trabaho lang ito. Walang personalan.

Mahiya naman tayo sa Presidente at sa mga tao ng Mindanao ng umaasa na gaganda ang buhay nila sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte.

The people of Mindanao, 88% of whom voted for the first ever President from the South, are expecting so much.

Let us not fail them.

Watch the full video below:

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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay - This morning, I and the team from the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will take a 2-hour boat ride to Olutanga Island to turn over Fish Drying Facilities to the island's fishermen.

The Steam-Powered Drying Facility, developed by a Mindanao inventor, Engr. Rudy Cane, will allow fishermen to dry fish continuously for 24 hours, even during rainy days.

The dryer, which will be heated by steam from a mini-boiler powered by bio-mass, will come in tandem with a Vacuum Packing machine.

Beyond just improving the quality of the dried fish produced in Olutanga and later on from other fishing grounds in Mindanao, I will also introduce today a marketing innovation which I believe would help fisherfolks sell their dried fish at a good price.

MinDA will introduce to the dried fish-makers of Olutanga the importance of labeling and packaging.

This is one aspect of agriculture and fisheries production which had not been given much importance by our producers.

Consumers always relate the quality of a product with how well it is labeled and packaged.

I have seen this in my Asian Supermarkets in the US where Thai products shine out compared to those coming from the Philippines because of outstanding shelf presentation.

Even the "Sinamak" and the "Sukang Pakurat," which are among the most sought after products from the Philippines are sold using recycled Rhum bottles with very poor labeling

Today, MinDA will present label designs for the Olutanga dried fish to be produced from the Steam-Powered Dryers and Vacuum-Packed.

The label was designed by MinDA in-house artist Samuel Ponsica who also designed the label for the bottled Spanish Sardines of Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and the Mindanao Ube Jam.

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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

At a time when consumers in almost all parts of the country are complaining of skyrocketing food prices, people of the island of Olutanga are hardly affected.

With bountiful seas surrounding the island, seafood prices are very affordable.

In the fish market today, Seashells are P2 per piece and P20 without shells, Tamban is P50 per kilo, Pandawan P80, Budborion P100, Galunggong P140 and Matambaka is P140.

People in the island say the prices are higher than before but still within their reach.

Such is the beauty of life in the island.

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Photo from Philippine Information Agency

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Travelling to Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay tonight, I decided to get off at the Highway Roundball marking the political boundaries of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur to film this short video.

While I had passed through this road, the Narciso Ramos Highway, many times in the past, I never felt as safe as I was tonight.

Along the highway in Matanog, the last Maguindanao town before Lanao del Sur, I saw Solar street lights, sari-sari stores still open at 8:25 pm and trucks carrying fish from the Zamboanga Peninsula bound for Cotabato City and Maguindanao traveling freely.

A few years ago, night travel through this long stretch of highway which leads to as far as Zamboanga City was unthinkable.

The main redoubt of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Camp Abubakar is in Matanog and Buldon towns where the Narciso Ramos Highway passes through.

The area was the scene of the bloodiest battles between the government and the MILF in 2001.

Things changed when President Rody Duterte forged the Peace Agreement with the MILF which led to the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Today, people could freely and safely pass through this highway even at night, a blessing that is now enjoyed by Mindanaoans.

This is President Duterte's greatest legacy.

Watch the full video below:

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