“I think somebody has to call the attention of Manny,” President Duterte said, referring to Piñol by his nickname, after a briefing by other Cabinet officials at a hastily called command conference in Cauayan, Isabela on Thursday.
Duterte scolds ‘no-show’ Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - November 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Nowhere in sight at a command conference on Typhoon Rosita’s impact, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol got a public rebuke from President Duterte, who even taunted him for bragging that he has a lot of money.

“I think somebody has to call the attention of Manny,” President Duterte said, referring to Piñol by his nickname, after a briefing by other Cabinet officials at a hastily called command conference in Cauayan, Isabela on Thursday.

“So sige man siya yabang na marami siyang pera (he keeps boasting that he has a lot of money). Now is the time for him to spend all of it,” Duterte said.

He recalled that Piñol was also nowhere to be found when he visited Isabela province in the aftermath of Typhoon Ompong last September.

Duterte noted that the damage caused by the typhoon to some fishing facilities needed immediate attention.

“First of all, to repair immediately the fish cottage – ah, traps there or something – it should be the worry of Secretary Piñol, sa Agriculture ‘yan eh,” the Chief Executive said.

Duterte noticed Piñol’s absence after other Cabinet secretaries – including Mark Villar of public works, Francisco Duque III of health, Silvestre Bello III of labor, Eduardo Año of the interior and Rolando Bautista of social welfare – finished briefing the President.

“I was thinking that I’d be the only one coming here. I was not expecting all of you guys to be here. Since we are here, we might as well… good as any other time to remind him of the problems here,” the President said, referring to Piñol.

Duterte called a command conference in Cauayan after an aerial inspection of the typhoon damage. He then flew back to Davao to visit the tombs of his late parents in commemoration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

The President said he wanted the DA secretary to be on top of the situation in the agriculture and fishing sectors, and that the official should be ready to provide livelihood opportunities for displaced farmers and fishermen.

“We have the funds for that. We are – every department is provided the money,” he said.

“But you might want to, in the meantime, find something productive for them so that they can be extended the usual – not a dole-out, but the money to keep them going until such time that they can stand on their own,” he said.

With Piñol a no-show, Duterte asked other agriculture officials to relay his message to the agriculture chief.

“Sino ang taga-ano dito, taga Agriculture? You might want to make a report. I’ll ask Manny to come in kasi pati ‘yung fish cages doon sa dagat kanya ‘yun eh. It’s part of the agricultural thrust, kanya ’yon pati isda,” the Chief Executive said.

At the conference, Duterte also expressed concern for affected residents and families, as well as those trapped inside a building that was buried by landslide in Natonin, Mountain Province.

Bello, for his part, assured Duterte that his department was coordinating with local officials to make sure that affected residents would be provided with livelihood packages. Bello is from Cagayan.

Duterte said concerned agencies should provide ready-to-eat relief goods at evacuation centers.  So far, he said, he is satisfied with the government’s quick response in the affected areas, although there is still much to be done to help the people during disasters.

At the same conference, Duterte also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to work out a plan that would make possible the sending of police or military recruits as first-responders during disasters.

Duterte urged local officials to cooperate with police and military personnel assigned in their areas, as uniformed personnel are usually the first to respond to national emergencies.

Getting recruits to help them would greatly ease the tasks of uniformed personnel of dealing with disaster and emergency situations, he said.

He said the PNP and AFP should form disaster response teams to ensure immediate deployment during emergencies. He lamented what he called slow response by other government units to disasters.

Duterte recalled that as mayor of Davao City, he had organized emergency teams to guarantee prompt response to disasters.

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