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Business as usual: NFA services continue despite Jason Aquino’s relief

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MANILA — The National Food Authority (NFA) management assures the public that the delivery of its services will continue even as administrator Jason Aquino has requested to be relieved from his post.

In a statement, the NFA said Aquino, who is currently on leave, shall remain head of the food agency until a replacement is appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The NFA said there will be no disruption in its intensified rice distribution and other services, even if the administrator is on leave, as the agency’s systems and operational procedures are in place and management follows a hierarchy of leadership.

During a meeting with NFA Regional Directors last September 5, Aquino had instructed them to further intensify rice distribution activities, to reach 15-20 percent market participation, so that more consumers, especially those living in remote barangays, island-provinces, the poor and marginalized in highly populated urban areas, are able to benefit from the government’s low-priced good quality rice at PHP27 and PHP32 per kilogram.

Aside from heightened rice distribution, Aquino has instructed NFA officials in the regions that may be affected by the forecast super typhoon “Mangkhut” to get ready, safeguard NFA stocks, and activate their respective operations centers to monitor the situation and provide quick response to any rice needs for relief operations of concerned agencies and local government units.

He also directed a more aggressive and pro-active stance in palay procurement and think of innovative ways to encourage farmers to sell their produce to the agency despite its low procurement price compared with prices offered by private traders.

As early as the second week of September, Aquino has assured farmers that NFA is ready to buy their produce. Procurement funds and palay buying logistics are available in strategic locations across the country.

Aquino has assured farmers the agency is not pro importation and would be very happy to buy as much of their local produce for government’s buffer stocking.

“But we are happier now that farmers are enjoying much higher income from their harvest because that is the very essence of NFA’s intervention — to make farmers earn a good income from their produce,” Aquino earlier said.

Among the reforms Aquino introduced at NFA are: good housekeeping, facility modernization, standardization of contracts, and a more empowered citizenry through a feedback mechanism called NFA Kontra Abuso, to address complaints against all forms of abuses in rice trading. (NFA PR)