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Why Manny Pinol loves the Igorot people

Here's why former Secretary of Agriculture Manny Pinol loves the Igorot people, especially the Cordilleran vegetable farmers.

You have a lot to be proud of. And I am extremely proud that I have so many dear friends from Cordillera! Be proud of your Igorotage!

Manny Piñol

In a Facebook post, former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol once again shared his admiration for the Igorot people, especially the Cordilleran vegetable farmers.

Manny Piñol's message

He said that there are many more stories untold about the culture and tradition of the people of Cordillera that we Filipinos should know and learn from.

For one, when they launched the DA’s Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program in Baguio City, vegetable farmers from the Cordillera availed of P40-M in production loans at 6% per annum.

It was repaid 100% even before the maturity date and I was so pleased that he ordered ACPC to increase the loan fund to P100-M.

He have shared that story in almost all corners of the country which he had visited when he was Secretary of Agriculture.

As an added recognition of that fantastic record of 100% repayment of the PLEA loans, DA under him sent all Benguet mayors to Israel for a study tour and all Benguet towns received P10-M worth of farm to market roads.

The other Cordillera Provinces would have been given the same support but he resigned from the DA in June last year.

Read the full statement:

Why Manny Piñol loves the Igorots!

Manny Piñol Cordillera visit


This is a story of my deep kinship and admiration for the people of the Cordillera and while I know that there are so many tribes in area, for the purpose of brevity I hope people will forgive me if I just call all of them as Igorots.

The first Igorot that I and my brothers met as young kids was a muscled barber, Winston Wakit, who married a local Boholana girl in our village, Nueva Vida in M'lang, Cotabato.

We all loved Manong Winston but we dreaded our trips to his barbershop which was the only one in our village.

Manong Winston’s razor was so dull that every time he shaved our heads it felt like he was actually slicing our scalps.

Haircut became a traumatic experience for us young boys and my smaller brothers would literally cry on the way to the barbershop.

Manong Winston was one of the many Igorots who migrated to Cotabato and many of them settled in the town of Kabacan where local Maguindanao Muslims welcomed them.

Hardworking and industrious, they excelled as farmers.

These admirable traits of the Igorots were deeply embedded in my mind when I first engaged them as Secretary of Agriculture in 2016.

The previous administration built a vegetable trading center worth P900-M in the Benguet State University compound without the needed consultations with the farmers.

It stood there for years empty as the vegetable farmers preferred to do business in the old vegetable trading center in La Trinidad.

With the help of old friends like Raffy Panagan and Ramon Dacawi, I met with the farmers and offered them a loaning program to free them from the shackles of loan sharks.

The first amount released by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council to the farmers cooperative under the Production Loan Easy Access was P40-M.

Manny Piñol Cordillera visit

Soon, the Igorot vegetable farmers, true to their commitment, started bringing their vegetables to the BAPTC.

To my great amazement, the loans were repaid 100% well ahead of the maturity period.

I was so pleased that I ordered ACPC to increase the loan fund to P100-M.

As an added recognition of that fantastic record of 100% repayment of the PLEA loans, DA under me sent all Benguet mayors to Israel for a study tour and all Benguet towns received P10-M worth of farm to market roads.

The other Cordillera Provinces would have been given the same support but I resigned from the DA in June last year.

In every opportunity, even now as Chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), I share the story of the Igorot vegetable farmers' 100% repayment of loans to serve as an inspiration to other farmers.

It may have been because of the Igorot Vegetable Farmers' example that in many other areas of the country, farmers also posted high repayment rate for the PLEA loans.

If all of our farmers would have the industry, tenacity, honesty and reliability of the Igorot farmers, there is hope that we could achieve food security in this country.

The Philippines could be great again!

(Photos were taken during my trip to the Cordillera three years ago.)

  • Thank you Sec. Manny Pinol for the warm appreacition sir! We, the Igorot people admire you as well. Mabuhay ka po! *

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