Aquino wants NFA to have operational autonomy
In the wake of pronouncements that he should be “charged instead of being relieved”, National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Aquino stressed that the agency’s food security role can only be efficiently handled if it has the operational autonomy to plan and implement its own plans.
Because of this, Aquino, who recently asked to be relieved from his position, said he has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte that anyone who would replace him at NFA should be given greater operational autonomy to be able to properly plan, implement, and be fully responsible for fulfilling the agency’s mandate of food security for the Filipino people.
“The NFA is a 46-year old institution and majority of its current officials have stayed with the agency for an average of 30 years. But when their recommendations, based on solid data and bolstered by past experiences, are ignored by decision-makers, what else can they do?” Aquino said.
“Instead of focusing the nation’s collective attention and action on helping the victims of natural calamities cope with their loss, and in resolving other important socio-economic issues, some people have used the current rice problem as a pre-campaign propaganda, which smacks of bad taste and utter lack of delicadeza,” he added.
He then explained that NFA employees can attest to the fact that NFA management has exerted all efforts to prevent a depletion of the agency’s buffer stocks.
Right now, NFA is being blamed for the rising cost of rice in the country due to its failure to fill its buffer stock either through local procurement of palay or importation.