National Food Administration Administrator Jason Aquino is the clear winner while the Filipino rice consumer is the loser in the removal of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. from the NFA Council, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Tuesday.
Pangilinan, who used to head the NFA Council under the previous government, questioned the decision to boot out Evasco and keep Aquino.
“Bakit yung may track record na malinis at nagpapaimbestiga ng mga iligal na gawain sa NFA ang tinanggal habang ang mga sangkot sa kurakot ang kinampihan? Nasaan ang sinseridad ng gobyerno na habulin ang tiwali kung ang mga kaalyadao nitong malinis ang hangarin at tumututol sa katiwalian ay hindi pinapanigan?” asked Pangilinan, president of Partido Liberal.
Pangilinan was reacting to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s statement on Tuesday, April 17, that the National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) “will be made attached agencies of the Department of Agriculture.”
Roque announced that President Rodrigo Duterte made the decision to revert the agencies to DA supervision during his meeting with NFA Council members on Monday, April 16.
“Sa ganitong sitwasyon lalo lang mananatiling mismanaged ang NFA at supply ng bigas sa bansa, at patuloy na tataas ang presyo ng bigas na magiging sanhi ng gutom lalo na sa mahihirap nating mga kababayan,” Pangilinan added.
Aquino earlier raised the spectre of rice shortage, causing rice prices to shoot up.
At a Senate hearing, grains retailers’ organizations exposed that NFA rice are being sold to commercial traders. Aquino also failed to explain the purported shortage in buffer stock when the NFA rice distribution had gone up to 245 percent.