NFA chief should not be allowed to quit but fired and charged – Pangilinan
National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Aquino must not just be allowed to resign, he should face graft charges as well for the incompetence and corruption that had led to the scarcity of affordable rice in the country, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said on Wednesday.
Pangilinan said in a television interview that Aquino should have been fired and not just allowed to step down.
“He should have been fired rather than him asking to be relieved. Charges have to be filed against him. He has to explain why the buffer stock, which is mandated by law to be 30 days during the lean months, is now down to two days,” the opposition senator said.
In a separate statement, Pangilinan said Aquino must not be recycled and appointed by President Duterte to another government position.
In his television interview, Pangilinan said Aquino violated the antigraft law, leading to the scarcity of NFA rice in the market.
In Senate hearings, an NFA retailer said she was unable to get NFA rice from the agency for the first time, but Pangilinan noted that traders had rice.
Matter of corruption
“The truth is, the rice problem is rice traders manipulating the supply of rice in cahoots with corrupt NFA officials,” he said.
The problem in the NFA is a matter of corruption and inefficiency, he said.
In a televised interview on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte said Aquino had told him of his desire to be relieved.
The President said he would look for a new NFA administrator.
P10-B supplemental budget
In the House of Representatives, party-list lawmakers on Wednesday filed a resolution for a P10-billion supplemental budget for the NFA to buy at least 500 metric tons of palay (paddy rice) to ease the shortage in cheap rice.
The proposed supplemental budget would be used to buy palay from this month to January from local farmers at the farm-gate price of P20 per kilogram, according to the resolution introduced by Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna, Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, France Castro and Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers and Sarah Jane Elago of Kabataan. —With a report from Jerome Aning
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.