Duterte orders abolition of NFA’s policy-making body
With the impending shortage of subsidized rice in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the abolition of the policy-making body of the National Food Authority (NFA) to fast-track the agency’s importation of rice.
The verbal order was made by the President during a meeting with industry stakeholders on Thursday, which Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco said was meant to seek the help of traders and retailers in maintaining the country’s rice supply.
James Magbanua, national president of the Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (GRECON) who was present at the meeting, said the President explained that the move was to do away with the rigors of bureaucracy.
“Ayaw ko ng maraming pasikot-sikot… Basta walang abuse, walang corruption, walang pasobra, walang pakulang, I will be there to support,” the President was quoted as saying.
According to Magbanua, President Duterte wanted the imported rice to arrive as early as next month, as opposed to the shipment’s original time frame to arrive in June.
The NFA Council is an 18-member advisory body that is tasked to evaluate proposals coming from the agency’s management team, which is led by NFA administrator Jason Aquino.
In a media briefing by Evasco, who also heads the NFA Council, he revealed that members of the policy-making body have not agreed on the terms of reference (TOR) for the rice importation yet. The TOR indicates the volume and mode of procurement for the importation, among other details. /jpv
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