Duterte returns NFA to DA; reorganizes NFA Council
MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has returned the National Food Authority (NFA) and two other agencies to the Department of Agriculture (DA) after floating the idea last April.

Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, signed Executive Order No. 62 which transfers the NFA, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) to the DA last Sept. 17. The EO released to the media on Wednesday.

Four years ago during the administration of then president Benigno Aquino III, the NFA, PCA and the FPA were placed under the Office of the President (OP).

Under the EO, the OP also continues to exercise immediate and control over the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

“The transfer of the NFA, PCA, and PCA to the DA and the supervision over the HUDCC by the OP will ensure efficiency and coordination in the performance of their respective mandates, consistent with the efforts to streamline the operations of government,” the EO read.

The EO also reorganizes the NFA Council by designating the DA Secretary as Chairman of the council, the NFA Administrator as Vice Chairman, and a representative from the OP, Secretaries of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry, and Social Welfare and Development as members of the council.

The NFA Council is the NFA’s policy-making body.

Other members of the council include the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority, Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, President of the Land Bank of the Philippines, and a representative from the farmers’ sector.

“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 said.

Last Sept. 11, Duterte said he is considering recommending the abolition of the NFA Council, noting that it “has not done any purpose and it only hinders the operation.”

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque hoped that allowing the importation of rice and other crops will compensate for the agriculture losses brought about by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut).

“We hope to compensate the loss because of `Ompong` through importation,” Roque said.

He is also counting on the government’s institutional steps, such as simplifying and streamlining the licensing procedures for rice imports to address food supply issues and bring inflation down. (PNA)