By Ryan Ponce Pacpaco – People’s Insight
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed yesterday to work on the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council as desired by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.
“Well, if he asks for it, then we will work on it,” Arroyo told reporters in an ambush interview after President Duterte aired his intention to abolish the NFA Council.
The council is being blamed behind the country’s rice crisis that further complicated the inflation problem.
“Remember when I was in Pampanga I was asked, I’m neither here nor there. It can be abolished, it can be retained,” said Arroyo. “[But] if it’s a President’s policy call, we will work on it,”
The NFA Council comprises at least 11 government agencies, including the NFA, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), the Office of the President (OP), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), among others.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has thrown his full support behind the Duterte’s administration’s programs to uplift the plight of consumers reeling from the surge in the prices of rice and other food stuff as well as the poor telecom services.
Villafuerte called on the Senate to pass the Rice Tariffication bill, which the House had passed on third and final reading to clear the way for more rice imports into the country and pull down the retail cost of the staple by as much as P7 per kilo.
“Decisive leadership is what we need right now and what President Duterte has shown us,”said Villafuerte.
Earlier, the House minority bloc demanded the resignation of top food security officials of the government following the country’s rice crisis, importation of agricultural products instead of protecting local farmers and fishermen, and pushing the legalization of rice smuggling in some parts of Mindanao.
Senior Minority Leader and Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza asked Agriculture Sec. Manny Piñol, members of NFA Council led by cabinet Sec. Leoncio Evasco and others to resign.