Manny Pinol

Manny  Piñol

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Manny Piñol held various positions in Cotabato, including three consecutive terms as governor until 2007 and vice governor until 2016 when he was appointed agriculture secretary by President Rodrigo Duterte. He was made concurrent head of the National Food Authority Council in September 2018 and chair of the Mindanao Development Authority in 2019.

Manny  Piñol was among the most vocal opposers of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which would have created the Bangsamoro Judicial Entity covering some provinces outside the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao such as North Cotabato – Piñol’s bailiwick. The Supreme Court, ruling on a petition filed by North Cotabato (as represented by then-Governor Jesus and Vice Governor Piñol) and Piñol, declared the MOA unconstitutional, which led to clashes between the MILF and government forces and displacement of more than 700,000 people throughout Mindanao.

Piñol considers himself a “true farmer” and touts the various agri-industry programs he launched as local executive (such as the Malitubog-Maradugao irrigation and bottom-up planning for the Cotabato’s rubber, oil palm, banana and coconut industries) and as agricultural secretary (Special Area for Agricultural Development).

His leadership at the Department of Agriculture oversaw the rice crisis in 2018, including the declaration of states of emergency in Zamboanga City and Isabela City in Basilan in August 2018. Piñol proposed augmenting the supply with special rice importations, in contrast to his avowed advocacy to eliminate dependence on agricultural imports, and declared an end of the crisis; however, the states of emergency were maintained for 60 days. He submitted to a lifestyle check and was later cleared by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission after accusations that he made money from rice importation agreements as National Food Council chairman.

Piñol was also agricultural secretary during the passage of the Rice Tariffication Law, which replaced import quotes on rice with a 35% tariff to avert economic sanctions by the World Trade Organization. It was also intended to raise P20 billion in tariffs annually that could be used to support farmers. Piñol was initially opposed to the bill and later sought to implement measures to cushion the effects of lowered prices on local farmers. He is now calling for admission of the failures of the law and the approval of amendments to alleviate the adverse impacts on farmers.

He is running his first race since he lost gubernatorial bids in 2010 and 2013, leaving the ruling PDP-Laban party to join the senatorial slate of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. He is campaigning on addressing food supply production and sufficiency, ensuring food security for ordinary Filipinos, eliminating the dependence on importation of key food products including rice and promoting the welfare of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.


“Ang aking ipinaglalaban ay gawing food sufficient ang ating bansa. Bilang kalihim ng agrikultura, nalibot ko ang buong kapuluan—mula Itbayat, Batanes, hanggang Turtle Islands sa Tawi-Tawi—at nakita ko ang kabuuan ng ating bansa, ang potensyal nito bilang isang major food producer in this part of the world.”

Full Name: Emmanuel Fantin Piñol
Nickname: “Manny”
Birthdate: December 16, 1953 (Age 69)
Birthplace: Bialong, M’lang, Cotabato Province
Languages Spoken: Filipino; English
– Bernardo Piñol – Representative of the 2nd District Cotabato
– Joselito Piñol – M’lang Mayor
– Efren Piñol – Magpet Mayor
– Socrates Piñol – Cotabato Provincial Board member
– Patricio Piñol
– Noli Piñol Sr.
– Gerardo Piñol
– Ferdinand Piñol
– Nilo Piñol
Spouse: Emilly Asentista
– Dr. Maria Krista Piñol-Solis
– Josa Bernadette
– Bernhart Immanuel
Profession/Occupation: Farmer


  • Master of Science in Rural and Economic Development, University of Southern Mindanao, 2008
  • Bachelor of Science in Development Communication, University of Southern Mindanao, 2006
  • Doctor of Rural Development, University of Southern Mindanao


  • Chair, Mindanao Development Authority, 2019 -2021
  • Chairman of the National Food Council, 2018 – 2019
  • Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, 2016 – 2019
  • Vice Governor of Cotabato, 2007 – 2010
  • Governor of North Cotabato, 1998-2001;2001-2004; 2004-2007
  • Mayor of M’lang, Cotabato, 1995 – 1998
  • Writer for President Fidel Ramos
  • Print and broadcast media practitioner

Emmanuel F. Piñol is a successful print and broadcast journalist, politician, “hands-on” agriculturist and, starting July 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s appointed Secretary of Agriculture.

Manny Piñol was born on December 16, 1953 in M’lang, Cotabato to a family of farmers whose grandparents migrated to Mindanao in Southern Philippines from Iloilo in the country’s central region shortly after World War II.

Educated in public schools, he was a consistent class valedictorian both in the elementary grades and high school, and went to seven colleges and universities, including a brief stay in a Catholic seminary, before he finally dropped out to pursue a career in print and broadcast journalism.

He started his career in the media in the 1970s as news writer and reporter. He was senior copy editor and sports columnist for the popular English newspaper Tempo when he joined former President Fidel Ramos’ presidential campaign in 1991.

He was elected Mayor of his hometown M’lang, as a late substitute to his aling father, in 1995 and three years later, he became Governor of North Cotabato.

Among his accomplishments as Governor and Mayor were:

  1. Simplified Governance,” a system that identified the basic needs of the communities in the town of M’lang, through W-L-R-L-P or Water, Lights, Roads, Livelihood and Peace.
  2. The concept of Corporate Governance for Local Government Units to generate revenues for LGUs dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) while at the same time providing employment for local residents.
  3. The implementation of the bottom-up agricultural planning program using the priority crops approach in North Cotabato and focusing on four major crops: rubber, oil palm, banana and coconut. This approach rapidly transformed North Cotabato from one of the poorest provinces in the country in 1998 to one of the Top 30 Provinces with Lowest Poverty Incidence in 2007.
  4. The establishment of the Monitoring and Advisory Group for the implementation of the World Bank funded Mindanao Rural Development Program (MAG MRDP) which greatly contributed to the effective monitoring and success in the implementation of the program.

As Secretary of Agriculture, he has defined the thrusts of the present administration (based on his book “Feeding the Millions” published in early 2016) which are to: (1) produce sufficient and affordable food for all Filipinos; and (2) address rural poverty through modernized and efficient production, processing and trading of both the country’s food staples and high value crops.

He has also launched a vigorous campaign against smuggling of agricultural commodities, corruption in government and environmental degradation which he believes gravely impede the productivity and sustainability of Philippine agriculture.

Secretary Piñol holds a Master’s Degree in Rural Economic Development from the University of Southern Mindanao. He is now pursuing a doctorate degree.

Secretary Piñol is married to Emily G. Asentista. They have three children, Dr. Maria Krista, Josa Bernadette and Bernhart Immanue

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