Senator Chiz Escudero disagreed with plans to abolish the National Food Authority (NFA) as a way of addressing anomalies in the agency stemming from the excessive rice importation by the previous administration.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said they were weighing the possibility of shutting down the NFA and transfer three of its key functions after the agency disclosed that it was saddled with P177 billion debt due to the excessive rice importation.
“That the present administrators of the NFA found malfeasance in rice importation from the previous does not deserve a knee-jerk reaction,” Escudero said. “The NFA still serves a purpose and should not be abolished although I agree that its mandate and processes should be reviewed at the very least.”
While the senator believes that the NFA’s system has long been plagued with inefficiency and corruption, he explained that this was not yet the proper time to abolish it.
“The NFA needs a policy overhaul and it must be made more relevant and in tune with the times and its flaws and shortcomings corrected,” Escudero explained.
To address the flaws in the system, Escudero proposed to economic managers to prioritize this, tap resources that could help stabilize market prices and aid the agricultural sector to make it self-sufficient.
“Every people’s need right now is food on their table. The poorest of the Filipino families belong to the agricultural sector. Forty percent of our labor force is directly dependent on agriculture. Boosting agricultural sufficiency will lower the cost of doing business in the country and will create a more stable business climate,” he said.