Sen. Kiko still hoping that Duterte will reconsider his decision to abolish the NFA Council
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday was hopeful that President Duterte would reconsider his decision ordering the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council as such move cannot be made feasible by a mere Executive action.
The senator said Duterte would need a law to abolish the NFA Council, given that it was a creation of a presidential decree.
“I’m sure the executive secretary (Salvador Medialdea) and his legal team now will provide him (Duterte) the necessary legal briefing that it will require a law to abolish the NFA Council,” Pangilinan said in a press conference.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol claimed that Duterte pushed for the abolition of the NFA Council during the Cabine t meeting Wednesday night. But Roque said Friday that the President had no plans of abolishing the NFA Council and that the President merely wanted to transfer the NFA from the Council to his office.
The senator said the abolition of the NFA Council is not the solution to the issue on the depleted supply in the buffer stock of the NFA and allegations of irregularities in the NFA.
“Why abolish the NFA Council at the time when it is actually auditing the problem of the sudden disappearance of NFA rice in our warehouses?” Pangilinan asked.
The NFA Council was created to make rice mportation more transparent and more participatory, Pangilinan said.
The NFA Council includes representatives from the Departments of Finance (DOF), Trade and Industry (DTI) as well as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), LandBank, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
“Pag in-abolish mo (ang Council), sino na lang ang mag tsi-check doon sa bumibili ng ating bigas at nag-i-import eh alam natin naging graft ridden ang ating NFA,” Pangilinan pointed out.
“Kung nagkakasundo lang yung NFA administration and Council walang problema ‘yan eh di ba? In fact, ang dapat dyan, kung hindi makapag paliwanag si (NFA Administrator Jason) Aquino dito sa mga naging allegations ng katiwalian at yung pag re-rebag, pakikipagsabwatan ng NFA sa mga trader, at least yung management, para at least maging maayos ang palakad, ang solusyon dyan hanapan ng paraan para magkasundo ang NFA management at NFA Council,” he said.
Pangilinan said the present mess concerning the NFA, as far as managing the agency, was the country’s worst.
“Never have you ever come to this point na wala ng buffer stock ang NFA. In fact the last it happened was in 1972 at kaya nga nabuo ang NFA para ma prevent yung ganitong klaseng walang stocks ang gobyerno ng bigas,” he said.