Duterte brings back NFA under DA amid rice supply woes

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2018 06:27 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has officially brought back the management of the National Food Authority (NFA) under the Department of Agriculture.

Amid rice supply woes, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 62 on Sept. 17 transferring the management of the NFA, Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority under the DA, led by Secretary Manny Piñol.

The three agencies were previously under the Office of the President (OP) and then the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.

The agencies were placed by former president Benigno Aquino III under the OP through EO No. 165 in 2014 and by Duterte under the Office of the Cabinet Secretary through EO No. 1 in 2016. 

EO No. 62 also reorganizes the NFA Council, making the DA Secretary its chairman. The inter-agency council was previously headed by Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco.

“There is a need to reorganize the NFA Council for the effective formulation and coordination of a comprehensive program for the development and promotion of efficiency and productivity in the food industry,” the EO reads.

Duterte signed the EO just as the NFA struggled to meet rice supply demands in the country.

NFA Administrator Jason Aquino recently offered to resign amid allegations of incompetence.

Rice, the main driver of food prices, saw inflation of 7.1 percent in August, while the headline rate accelerated to 6.4 percent.

The government has set measures to tame rice prices, including pushing for tariffs in place of import quotas.