Public await Duterte’s clear plan for NFA and Council
After a cabinet member spurred public confusion on what President Rodrigo Duterte plans to do with the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, government officials and the public are in anticipation of a clear-cut plan for the body and grains agency itself.
The brouhaha started Friday when Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol revealed that Duterte is set to abolish the interagency NFA Council as the President wanted to have only “one focal person for each concern.”
The council, the top interagency body deciding on rice imports, reportedly earned the ire of Duterte after failing to take action on his order to fast-track imports for the much-needed rice stock to buffer depleting NFA inventory.
In a Philippine Star report, Piñol said the President was also eyeing the return of the NFA, the National Irrigation Administration, the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority back to the agriculture department. The agencies were placed under the Office of the President’s (OP’s) purview four years ago.
The noise made by the news soon reached Malacañang which issued a statement saying that Duterte merely wanted to place the NFA Council under the OP.
This, despite presidential spokesman Harry Roque defending Piñol that he, himself, also heard the pronouncement from the President as far as the abolition of the state-run grains agency is concerned.
“But the transfer of the NFA, whether it is under OP or the DA (Department of Agriculture), is still within the power of the President… Let’s just wait for the clarification of the President on what he really wants to happen,” Roque added.