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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr., a farmer just like most Mindanao local government executives, will lead officials in a ceremonial harvest of the Sorghum planted last year with seeds provided by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

The seeds were donated by Scott Seeds of Hereford Texas through its owner Coby Kriegshauzer last year and distributed to several farmers groups and local government units in Mindanao as part of the Livestock and Poultry Industry Development Program of MinDA.

Durimg the program today, farmers will be briefed on Sorghum harvest technology and the other uses of its by-products, like its stalks and leaves for silage.

Silage-making expert Arnel Corpuz of General Santos City who used to manage a 50,000-head Wagyu feedlot in Australia, will be invited to lecture on silage making.

The activity today will be broadcast live via Facebook to allow farmers groups in other parts of Mindanao and the country to learn more about Sorghum farming and silage-making.

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010521 1

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

A solar-powered water supply project and six solar-powered irrigation systems will be constructed starting this month in Taraka, Lanao del Sur where residents have relied on small river that meanders through the town center on its way to Lake Lanao.

The Taraka Solar-Water Supply and Irrigation is the first project to be implemented under the Mindanao Water Supply Program which was launched on Dec. 6 last year and aims to provide water for drinking and agriculture in all areas in Mindanao.

The Taraka Solar-Water Supply and Irrigation project, unlike other government programs, is funded wholly by the local government unit through a loan P215-M provided by the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The Mindanao Development Authority, in partnership with the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Interior and Local Government, initiated the program to address the water needs of communities, both for drinking and agriculture.

This is actually a modified version of the Solar-Powered Irrigation System Project which I conceptualized and implemented when I was Secretary of Agriculture which aimed to provide irrigation water to farming areas all over the country.

With limited funding support, the SPIS Program of the Department of Agriculture was only able to build over 100 units in several areas of the country.

The MinDAWater Supply Program will be implemented through a policy of self-reliance among the LGUs which are more flexible in starting projects compared to the national bureaucracy.

On Jan. 20, DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa and I, as Chairman of MinDA, will lead the groundbreaking of the projects following the approval and release of the LGU loan last year.

When completed, the Taraka Solar Water Supply and irrigation Project will provide safe drinking water to the town's 25,000 population and irrigation to an estimated 600 to 1,000 hectares of farmlands located in the periphery of Lake Lanao.

Other Mindanao LGUs have already signified their intent to join the MinDAWater Supply Program.

Watch the full video below:

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122020 2

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has asked Congress to urge Philippine Telecommunication Companies to link the farthest southern islands to the rest of the country by establishing digital connection through satellite facilities.

During a hearing conducted by the Mindanao Affairs Committee chaired by Representative Shirley Bañas last week, I brought to the attention of Congress the request made by residents of Taganak Island which I visited in March this year.

Taganak, which is part of the Province of Tawitawi and one of the islands in the Turtle Islands Group, is about a two-day boat ride from Zamboanga Cty.

From Sandakan, Sabah, however, it is only a 1-hour trip by speedboat.

The island has no communications facilities and residents have to scale a hill to be able to get a faint signal from Malaysian Telecommunication companies.

In March, when I attended a BIMP-EAGA conference in Kota Kinabalu as MinDA Chairman and Philippine Signing Minister, I received an offer from a Malaysian telecom for the establishment of a satellite station in Taganak and another southern island, Mangsee which belongs to the Province of Palawan.

While I was excited about the proposal, I realized later that it would not be a good symbol of an inclusive governance to allow foreign telcos to serve Philippine territories.

Establishing satellite facilities in Taganak and Mangsee Islands may not be a lucrative and profitable project for Philippine Telcos because of the small population.

This however, must be done if only to make people living in the edges of the country feel that they too are Filipinos who should be cared for.

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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Like scarred warriors, we come out of a difficult battle in our lives surviving an unseen and mysterious enemy which virtually paralyzed the whole world and ruined nations' economy.


We are now stronger and wiser having learned very important lessons both in our personal lives and in governance.

The Pandemic reminded us to take care of our bodies and to lead clean and healthy lifestyle.

"Survival of the fittest" is the apt description of what we went through as those described as "immuno-compromised" proved to be the most vulnerable while the healthy showed resilience.

The Pandemic also shattered many economic and governance policies as it showed how wrong we were on relying on our neighbors for our food supplies and other essential needs.

The concept of inter-dependence in a virtual Global Community was proven to be a farce as the Pandemic divided nations into small tribal villages whose main concern was to ensure their own survival.

The greatest lesson taught here is to establish food security through community food sufficiency programs or simply "Let us grow our own food.”

As the search for remedies and cure became a global effort, our nation which has produced some of the brightest people relied mainly on what other countries could discover and offer.

We ignored and even ridiculed anecdotal accounts of the efficacy of local remedies to strengthen the immune system against the virus.

The Pandemic showed how weak our health programs are and how we have abandoned medical researches in favor of dependence on foreign medical supplies.

The lesson here is the need for more support for medical researches to produce remedies and cure to afflictions and diseases based on our climate and environment.

Most of all, the long period of trials stressed the need for coherent governance as people were befuddled and confused by the many guidelines and protocols issued by every Tom, Dick and Harry in government.

All these are very important and valuable lessons we have to embrace as we face a new year, 2021.

To all those who lost loved ones during the year, I extend my deepest and sincerest sympathies.

Those of us who survived the year should take time to thank God for the blessing and protection.

We come out stronger from this period of trials and tribulation.

With lessons learned and scars to remind us, let us face the New Year with courage and hope.

We survived 2020. We will prevail in 2021 and beyond.

Happy New Year and may God bless us all!

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122020 1

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

As floodwaters rampaged through the agricultural areas in the Agusan and Davao Plains for two days now, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has renewed the call for the creation of the Mindanao River Basins Development Authority (MRBDA) to come up with a comprehensive approach to the recurring flooding in the region.

The proposal for the MRBDA, first presented 10 years ago, was again discussed in the recent Mindanao River Basin Development Council Meeting held last month.

Following the meeting, North Cotabato First District Congressman Joel Sacdalan filed a measure in Congress calling for the immediate creation of the agency following the massive floods in Luzon.

The urgency of the measure is once again highlighted by the floods which hit the Agusan and Davao River Basins this week.

While Mindanao has eight river basins, only the Agusan and Central Mindanao River Basins have been in the limelight as these are the areas where massive floods occur almost every year.

There are only two active River Basins Management Council - Agusan and Cotabato - both headed by religious leaders with local executives and national agencies as members.

Both function independently of each other.

The creation of the MRBDA is aimed at integrating all efforts to address the flooding, including a review of the government's policies on forestry and mining.

Mindanao's six other river basins are the Agus River Basin, Cagayan de Oro River Basin, Tagoloan River Basin, Tagum-Libuganon river basin, Davao river basin and Buayan-Malungon river basin.

The Mindanao River Basin (Cotabato) and Agusan River Basin in the Caraga region are among the two largest river basins in the island region.

While Mindanao is endowed with rich ecosystems with fertile river basins, its watersheds are threatened by extractive industries such as logging and mining.

The Mindanao 2020 report said that watershed degradation if not addressed, is feared tol give rise to food security threats and hamper economic development.

"Mindanao’s total forest cover has also been rapidly denuded from 70 percent in the 1900s to 23 percent in 1988 and down to six percent," the 10-year-old report said.

The creation of the MRBDA is an urgent measure which needs to be enacted immediately to start a comprehensive effort to address environmental degradation in Mindanao which causes the destructive flooding.

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