Villar scolds NFA for creating panic over rice ‘shortage’
Senator Cynthia Villar lectured on Tuesday an official from the National Food Authority (NFA) after the agency released a press statement about the rice shortage that caused a public panic.
Villar, chair of the committee on agriculture and food, said that the agency should not have issued a press release on the rice shortage in the country when it was not entirely true.
“I was so surprised that you did that press release when in fact there’s no reason for that press release kasi (because) you’re creating panic,” the senator directly asked NFA Administrator Jason Aquino.
According to the senator, the NFA should have clarified in their statement that the rice shortage only pertained to NFA stocks and not the country’s rice supply.
This, Villar said, caused the confusion and panic, given that they do not understand the difference between the shortage in NFA to the country’s rice supply.
In Aquino’s defense, he said that it just became transparent during a meeting where he was asked on an update about the supply of rice during a press meeting.
“During those times, nagkaroon po ng meeting yung GRECON (Grains Retailers Confederation) and they are asking for the supply of rice, so timing naman na mayroon media so I just told the truth that NFA has a depleting supply of rice,” the chief of NFA said.
(During that time, GRECON had a meeting and they asked about the supply of rice, and it just happened to be media there so I just told the truth that NFA has a depleting supply of rice.)
However, Villar did not buy the explanation of Aquino and further scolded him.
“Hindi ba dapat mapahiya ka dun na wala kang rice? Manahimik ka nalang at gawan mo ng paraan na magkaroon ka ng rice,” Villar said.
(Shouldn’t you be ashamed that the rice supply is depleting? Just keep quiet and find a way to get more rice.)
“Why do you have to make that press release? Pinagpanic mo ang mga tao eh (You made everyone panic),” she added.
Aquino tried to escape the hot seat by asking if he could proceed with his presentation, but Senator Grace Poe backed up the statements of Villar.
“Oo nga, tama naman yung pagiging transparent mo, na sinasabi mo, pero sana pagsabi mo niyan meron ka ng solusyon na mailalagay kasi parang meron ngang kakulangan sa inyong ginagawang trabaho,” Poe said.
(Yes, being transparent is good, but you should have had a solution in place when you said that because now it seems as if you’re not doing your job right.)
Poe then advised Aquino that he has to very cautious in balancing transparency and offering an alternative at the same time.
Aquino once again tried to defend the agency saying that they have done their job prior to the statement made.
Villar immediately fired back at the NFA administrator that caused him not to finish his sentence.
“What job did you do? You didn’t have any buffer stock, that’s your job, that’s your mandate.” /cbb, je
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.