Piñol wants to start with ‘clean slate’ in NFA but wants Jason Aquino to stay longer
MANILA — Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is is planning out to weed out unscrupulous officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) following his department’s takeover of the palay buying agency.
“We must start on a clean slate,” he said.
But he asked exiting NFA Administrator Jason Aquino to postpone his departure so he could help in the task at hand while awaiting his replacement.
“We need him for the transition to NFA’s new leadership,” Piñol explained.
Aquino earlier asked to be relieved of his post as NFA head.
He will remain as NFA head until Malacañang designates his replacement.
Malacañang released this week Executive Order 62, which transferred from the Cabinet Secretary to the Department of Agriculture (DA) the supervision over NFA, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).
EO 62 also reorganized the NFA Council, designating the DA Secretary as the policy-making body’s chairperson.
NFA had reported encountering difficulty in procuring local palay, noting this agency’s buying price of P17 per kilogram is below what private traders are offering rice farmers in the country.
Such difficulty and delay the NFA had encountered in securing the council’s approval for 2018 rice importation have adversely affected NFA’s inventory and supply of cheaper rice for the local market.
“It’s a messy situation but we’ll do whatever it takes to address this matter,” Piñol said.
He said he had asked NFA officials in the regions to take stock of their localities’ rice situation and report on their respective rice inventories.
Piñol urged NFA officials to report their action on alleged hoarding and diversion of NFA rice stocks.