CABINET Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco will no longer head the policy setting National Food Authority (NFA) Council.
Evasco used to supervise the NFA on the strength of Executive Order 1 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.
The Cabinet Secretary also has supervision over 11 other government agencies.
In a statement, Evasco said he respected the President’s decision and thanked him for giving him the opportunity to lead the council, which decides on rice importation matters.
“I have full respect for the decision of the President given the encompassing nature and impact of the National Food Authority on the Filipino people and the farmers,” Evasco said.
“We have put in place several policy guidelines that have provided a more transparent, competitive, inclusive and accountable system of procurement and distribution of NFA rice as a result of more than 20 Council Meetings since my designation by the President as NFA Council Chair.”
Evasco urged the new NFA Council chairperson, which is reportedly Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, “to take advantage of what we have started and continue the systems transformation so that it can take root in NFA.”
Evasco, meanwhile, declared that he has never been investigated nor charged for any wrongdoing.
“I can never break the good relationship I have with the President, a relationship we have built through the years with the people we work and serve with,” he said.
Evasco is a former rebel priest who served as the aide of then-Davao City Mayor Duterte. He became the mayor of Maribojoc, Bohol and later served as Duterte’s national campaign manager in the May 2016 elections.
NFA back under DA
President Duterte has returned the supervision of the NFA back to the Department of Agriculture (DA), Malacañang announced yesterday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said the NFA Council would not be dissolved contrary to the earlier claim of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol that the President wanted its abolition.
“The NFA, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) will be made attached agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA),” Roque explained in a statement.
Roque said Duterte made the directive during the NFA Council meeting in Malacañang on Monday.
The NFA Council is an 18-member policy-making body of the NFA headed by Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr.
“The NFA Council will not be abolished,” Roque said.
According to Roque, NFA Council member Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) however has requested to be relieved from the council, so that it may focus on its other projects. The request was approved.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Roque said, would take the place of DBP in the NFA Council.
Moreover, Roque said that President Duterte gave NFA the authority “to import 250,000 MT through government to government (G2G) mode to replenish the rice inventory.”
Around 250,000 metric tons of imported rice is expected to arrive in May to replenish the NFA’s buffer stock.
Subsequent rice importation will be done under a government-to-private sector scheme, and the auction and importation will be implemented and supervised by the Executive Council Committee headed by the Office of the President, Roque said.