MANILA - Sen. Cynthia Villar on Wednesday claimed that the National Food Authority (NFA) campaigned against her in the recent senatorial polls, which she topped.
Villar, head of the Senate agriculture panel, led deliberations on the Rice Tariffication Law, which liberalized rice importation to address the soaring inflation and rice supply shortage.
The law also took away NFA’s commercial and regulatory functions.
In a Senate hearing on the implementation of the law, Villar said the NFA had been remiss of its duties because it knew it does not need the votes of the people.
“Ang NFA ‘di nagpapaboto kaya wala itong pakialam kung magalit ang lahat ng tao dito,” Villar said.
(The NFA does not need votes that's why it does not care whether the public gets mad.)
“Nung ako ay kumandidatong senador, sinisiraan ako n'yan ng NFA na huwag daw akong iboto kasi ako daw may kasalanan ng lahat ng ito. Tingnan mo ang dami kong boto, walang nakinig sa inyo kasi galit sa inyo ang mga tao.”
(When I ran for senator, the NFA campaigned against me saying people should not vote for me because this was all my fault. But look at the votes I got, nobody listened to you, people are mad at you.)
Villar got more than 25 million votes in the May elections.
She also said some farmers told her that the NFA refuses to buy their palay because of their supposedly high moisture content. This then leaves farmers no choice but to sell their palay directly to traders which impose prices on their products.
Villar believes farmers must be given alternatives to the NFA, which she said has been insensitive to the plight of poor farmers.
“Nagkukulang sila ng pagmamahal sa ating farmers kaya naghahanap tayo ng ibang magmamahal sa ating farmers,” Villar said.
(They lack love for the farmers that's why we are looking for alternatives.)
“Kinukumbinsi namin ang mga local government units, bigyan sila ng puhunan, sila na ang mamili.”
(We are convincing local government units, give them capital so they could buy directly from the farmers.)
During the hearing, NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal asked the public to give the agency a chance under the leadership of new Agriculture Secretary William Dar.