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Palace official suggests reselling of smuggled rice seized in Zamboanga, Sibugay

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

SMUGGLED RICE: Over 27, 000 sacks of Vietnam rice were seized by the Philippine Navy from a foreign cargo vessel in the waters of Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday, April 14. (Photo Courtesy: Philippine Navy)

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority is urged to resell the 27,180 sacks of smuggled rice seized from a foreign vessel off the waters of Zamboanga Sibugay last Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque suggested that the NFA may offer the rice shipment to markets at a cheaper price.

“Kung hindi nga lang po bigas iyan, that should be up for destruction din. Pero dahil makakain naman ng taumbayan, ang sinabi sa akin ng Department of Agriculture ay pupuwede po iyang ibenta as NFA rice, iyong cheap rice para ma-increase iyong stockpile ng NFA.” the Palace official said.

(Had it not been rice, it should have been up for destruction also. But because it is suitable for public consumption, the Department of Agriculture has told me it can be sold as NFA rice, the cheap rice, to increase the NFA’s stockpile.)

The NFA is still awaiting the replenishment of its rice buffer stock of 250,000 imported rice which is set to arrive in May.

The seized shipment on board MV Diamond 8 is valued at P68 million pesos. — Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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NFA Administrator Aquino asked to be relieved – Duterte

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino

President Rodrigo Duterte said that National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Aquino has asked to be relieved from his post.

“Jason Aquino has requested that he be relieved already. He says that he’s tired, and he cannot cope up with the laro diyan sa inside which is already a happening in government because we cannot be in agreement all the time,” said Duterte in his one-on-one interview in Malacanang Tuesday with his chief presidential legal counsel, Atty. Salvador Panelo.

The Chief Executive did not provide any further details on the resignation of the official but added that he is already looking for a replacement.

The opposition has been calling on the resignation of Aquino for allegedly failing to address the rice crisis.

The high price of rice is one of the drivers of the 6.4 percent headline inflation rate in August.

Duterte also said that he will propose continuous rice importation to his economic managers; particularly the procurement of rice from Sabah.

He will also recommend to Congress the abolition of the NFA council because he said it has not done its purpose.

“It only hinders the operation kasi it should just be handled by one man with the best interest of the nation. You need not four or five — isang tao lang,” Duterte said.

The Chief Executive once again reiterated the proposed rice tariffication. — Rosalie Coz

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Opposition calls for NFA’s Aquino to quit, suggests ways to solve rice woes

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2018

FILE PHOTO: National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino

 

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo made rounds in different parts of the country to hear the sides of the people especially regarding the issue on rice.

According to Robredo, she has since received a lot of complaints about the high prices of basic commodities particularly the country’s staple.

“Ang bigas ngayon ay umaabot na sa P46.00 hanggang P80.00 pesos kada kilo. Ang galunggong, nasa P170.00 pesos. Ang pasahe sa Jeep umaabot na sa P9.00 sa ilang parte ng bansa”

Opposition officials have recommended a number of ways to solve the crisis, particularly an overhaul in the management system of the National Food Authority (NFA) as the main agency mandated to oversee the flow of rice supply in the country.

They reiterate that the situation will be rectified primarily with the resignation of NFA Administrator Jayson Aquino citing poor leadership and inaction over rice problems in the country.

“March pa lang of this year naghe-hearing na kami sa Senado. Pinagbibitiw na namin si Jason Aquino. Matagal na naming pinagbibitiw ang NFA administrator. N predict na rin natin na magkakaroon ng problema ditto. Hindi talaga maganda ang management ng NFA,” said opposition Senator Bam Aquino.

They also call for the suspension of the first package of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which they claim, is one of the main reasons why prices of basic goods are skyrocketing.

Robredo said the administration should adhere with the observation of economic leaders regarding the negative effects of TRAIN Law. One of which is the rising inflation which experts predict to double in January 2019 and will rise further come January 2020.

This concerns the opposition which Robredo believes, if not immediately addressed, the livelihood of majority of Filipinos will surely suffer.

 “Sa simula pa lang ng taon ramdan na ng ating mamamayan ang pagtaas ng presyo. Inamin Din naman ng DOF na hindi nila inaasahan ang ganito ka laking pagtaas ng inflation,” she explained.

The Vice President also suggests the widening of coverage of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); the restructuring of the programs of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS), the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Crop Insurance Incorporated — agencies that Filipinos are supposed to get immediate assistance from in times of crisis.

The opposition also hopes that the government will consider Senator Bam Aquino’s Bawas Presyo Bill which primarily aims to address the impact of rising inflation. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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Duterte not dismissing Piñol, NFA officials over rice woes

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

PASAY CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (September 2) said he is not firing Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Aquino over rice woes in the country.

During his speech before departure to Israel, the President said he does not see any reason to dismiss them from office amid criticisms over rice issues.

 “Maybe the laws are weak or unenforceable. All we have to do is to improve on those laws, not necessarily fire people. I don’t see any serious offense there. We have really not lost anything except that there’s aberration in the market,” Duterte said.

Calls for Piñol and Aquino’s resignation are mounting for their alleged incompetence in handling the rice crisis that includes insufficient supply, high prices and weevil infestation on imported rice.

In a statement, Secretary Piñol thanked the President for his continued trust and confidence.”

“I promise to do my best to live up to his and the Filipino’s expectations,” Piñol said.

During his speech, the President mistakenly referred to Piñol as Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who he said would pursue a bid in the 2019 senatorial race.

“Hintayin na lang ninyo because October, I think, Bello is going to run for senator. There’s no need to fire him,” the President said.

In reaction to this, Piñol said that if it was him, he believes that it was just one of the President’s jokes.

“I don’t know if the President was referring to me when he said ‘Bello’ will run for senator. If it was me, I know the President was just joking,” he said.

“The President is aware that I neither have plans nor desire to run for the Senate as I have intimated this to him in previous conversations,” the Secretary added. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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