Davao City

Duterte names Davao councilor as MinDA chair

Antonio Manaytay
Duterte names Davao councilor as MinDA chair

Maria Belen Sunga Acosta

courtesy of PCR DCPO

(1st UPDATE) Maria Belen Sunga Acosta, a former news anchor of ABS-CBN-Davao, replaces Emmanuel Piñol who resigned in October 2021 to run for the Senate

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed a Davao City councilor as head of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed on Wednesday, January 12, that Duterte signed on Thursday, January 6, the appointment of newly resigned Davao councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta to the post vacated by Emmanuel Piñol in October 2021. Piñol, who also served as agriculture secretary, is seeking a Senate seat.

Acosta will serve as head of MinDA for six years.

(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reported that Maria Belen Sunga Acosta started her career as city councilor in 2011. This has been corrected.)

Acosta is a former news anchor of ABS-CBN-Davao. She is a senior lecturer at the University of the Philippines Mindanao School of Management, where she teaches local governance.

Her family hails from Davao and has been friends with the Dutertes for many years. She started her political career as a city councilor in 2001, serving the elective post until 2010, and from 2013 to 2022.

Acosta is a 2008 TESDA Kabalikat Awardee and was named as one of The Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines (TOCP) in 2009 by the Philippine Councilors’ League in 2010. Her daughter Luna Maria Dominique, a law graduate, is seeking a city council post.

“We wish Chairperson Acosta all the best in her new assignment, and are confident that she will continue the initiatives her predecessors pursued to accelerate the socio-economic growth of Mindanao,” said Nograles in a statement on Wednesday, January 12.

Acosta is the eighth to chair MinDA – a socioeconomic arm of Malacanang – that was created through the Mindanao Development Authority Act of 2010. – Rappler.com

Antonio Manaytay is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship