Senators to gov't" assess ppan toi allow NFa to sell, buy rice

Scrutinize plan to re-allow NFA to buy and sell rice, senators say

/ 12:18 AM May 10, 2024

Gov;t told to study plan to reallow NFa to buy, sell roce


MANILA, Philippines — Three senators on Thursday said the government needs to tread lightly and carefully study plans to reinstate the mandate of the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy and sell rice.

Senator Sonny Angara recalled how corruption hounded the agency when it still had the power to sell rice supposedly at a cheaper price.


“We should be careful there. Alam natin [that] when the NFA was given power to grant quotas to import, grabe ang korapsyon dyan. Grabe ang kita dyan. So I don’t know if we want to return to that kind of a system,” said Angara in a press conference.


(We should be careful there. We all know that when NFA was given the power t import, corruption took place. So I don’t know if we want to return to that kind of a system.)

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez earlier said that amending the Rice Tariffication Law can result in rice prices going down by P10 to P15.

But according to Angara, the government can look at other ways if the goal is to lower rice prices.

“Kaya nga natin ginawa yung landmark reform na Rice Tariffication. Kasi kapag binalik natin yung powers under the NFA, e sila ang mamimili – ito lang ang pwede mamili, ito lang… itong kaibigan ko. E ngayon lahat pwedeng mag import di ba? Mas equitable sya. Even if you ask economists [ay] mas okay yun,” he added.

(That’s why we created a landmark reform called the Rice Tariffication.  Because if we bring back the powers of the NFA, they would be able to choose the importers they prefer. They can have certain biases to friends. Right now, everyone can import, right? It’s more equitable. Even if you ask economists, it’s better.)

Senator Nancy Binay likewise expressed concern on the proposed move, reminding lawmakers to look back at data on NFA’s history.


“Magandang tingnan siguro ng mga counterpart namin — maganda siguro na balikan nila yung naging transcript ng mga hearings dito sa Rice Tarification [at] siguro magandang tingnan nila yung history ng NFA. Kasi for the longest time ‘di ba? Tuwing may pumuputok na rice smuggling laging lumalabas ang ahensya ng NFA,” said Binay.

(Maybe it would be better if our counterparts can look at the transcript of our hearings here on Rice Tariffication. Maybe they can also look at the history of NFA. Because for the longest time, right? Everyone a rice smuggling scandal erupts, NFA is involved.)

Meanwhile, noting that the NFA has been “ rocked with scandals and alleged questionable and corrupt practices through the years,” Senator Imee Marcos thumbed down proposals to reinstate the agency’s power to directly import and sell rice.

She instead suggested the conduct of a government-to-government importation of rice amid “rice emergency” as well as the creation of a presidential commission on rice sufficiency.

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Sen. Marcos said there is also a need to extend the annual P10 billion Rice Fund, adding the necessity to “cut out” middlemen “to solve the huge disparity between farmgate and retail prices.”

TAGS: NFA, rice

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