New NFA chief lists plans amid rice price hike


Posted at Jun 25 2014 02:03 PM | Updated as of Jun 25 2014 10:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Arthur Juan said the price of NFA-supplied rice will not change amid the rising prices of commercial rice.

Juan assured consumers that there is enough supply of NFA rice, which will be made more available in the market in an effort to bring commercial rice prices down.

“Kapag tumataas ang commercial rice, we will make the NFA rice more available in larger quantity and we want to ensure na ‘yung NFA rice na yan ay talagang mapupunta sa tao na nangangailangan,” Juan told dzMM on Wednesday.

“We will not run out of NFA rice, we will not change the price of NFA rice, and we will go around and police the market, marami kasing violations,” he added.

Juan, who officially took his oath on Monday, said his focus is on maintaining the balance between serving the needs of Filipino farmers and the needs of consumers.

“Pagpasok natin medyo may crisis nga sa commercial rice, ang role ng NFA doon is to make the NFA rice available at a quantity and price that will affect itong commercial rice,” he said.

The NFA has started increasing the rice supply in Metro Manila as commercial rice prices went up by around P3 per kilo. Rice millers have warned that prices may further increase in the coming weeks.

Juan said that the Alliance of Filipino Farmers and Rice Retailers Association (AFFRRA) has committed to reduce the prices of “Sinandomeng” and “Angelica” to P39 from the current P41 in eight major markets south of Metro Manila, namely Muntinlupa, Pateros, Mandaluyong, Taguig, Paranaque, Pasay, Las Pinas and Makati.

“I’m happy that this associated has cooperated with us and I’m hoping that several associations will follow suit and follow the call of the President and Secretary Pangilinan to lower the price of commercial rice,” said Juan.

NFA rice is being sold at P27 per kilo (regular milled) and P32 (well milled).

Rice importation

The new NFA head said he is also looking to boost transparency in rice importation to curb smuggling.

“Everything should be done in a very transparent manner in cooperation with all our agencies that audit the transaction,” he said.

Juan added that in a recent NFA council meeting, he already made recommendations of the selection process.

“Based sa akin experience, doon sa ginagawa namin sa dati kong employer, ‘yun ang gagawin natin sa NFA,” he said.

Before he was appointed as NFA administrator, Juan served in the private sector for 26 years and held the position of president of San Miguel Foods Inc.

He was a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy class of '68 and served in the Philippine Air Force before working in the private sector.

Juan said he was appointed without any “political backing.”

“Walang political backing, hindi ako nag-apply, hindi ako nag-volunteer, I was selected by a panel of committee and was recommended to [Presidential Assistant for Food Security] Secretary Francis Pangilinan,” said Juan.

“I took on this mission to serve the people and I would like to commit to the people that I will not enrich myself in office,” he added.

Juan replaced Orlan Calayag, who resigned in May to give Pangilinan the leeway to perform his duties.