Evasco out as NFA Council chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2018 03:47 PM

AKLAN, Philippines - Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco will no longer head the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, an inter-agency policy making body of the state grains agency, his spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Evasco’s departure was a result of the President’s decision to bring back the management of the NFA to the Department of Agriculture.

Roque said Duterte decided to place the management of the NFA under the DA since he wants to lighten the workload of the Office of the President.

In a statement read by Roque, Evasco thanked Duterte for entrusting the NFA Council to him. He also touted his achievements in the inter-agency body despite “efforts to discredit my name.”

The NFA, Philippine Coconut Authority, National Irrigation Authority, and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority were all transferred under the OP during the time of former president Benigno Aquino III.

Evasco’s departure from the NFA council is a major development in the power struggle between Evasco and NFA Administrator Jason Aquino. The two have been at odds over whether the government should import rice.

Evasco has preferred rice importation through the government-to-private mode, saying this is less prone to corruption. Aquino, however, is pushing for a government-to-government importation.

The decision to remove Evasco also comes as the President made changes to the composition of the NFA Council.

Roque said the Development Bank of the Philippines has requested to be relieved from the council. The Department of Social Welfare and Development will take its place.

Roque also said in an earlier statement that the importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice through government-to-government mode to boost rice stocks has been approved.

"Subsequent importation is to be done by G2P or auction and importation will be implemented / supervised by the Executive Council Committee headed by the Office of the President," he added.