Senator Bam Aquino urges NFA to replenish its buffer stock

Published April 13, 2018, 5:48 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Hannah Torregoza

Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV has urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to replenish its buffer stock to eliminate perception it is disinterested to find solutions to the NFA rice shortage hounding the country.

Senator Bam Aquino answers questions from members of the media during the breakfast forum, 'Kapihan sa Senado' at the Office of the Senate in Pasay City on Thursday. Senator Bam Aquino along with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were recently tagged by DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that they were involved with the Maute in Marawi Siege. (JAY GANZON)

“Maraming pwedeng solution. Mag-restock sila, at maraming paraan iyan. Importation is one, pero ang isa, hanapan nila ng paraan na bumili sa ating mga magsasakang Pilipino (There are many solutions. They should restock and they have many options to do that. Importation is one, but the best thing to do is to find a way to buy from local Filipino farmers),” Aquino said in a recent interview.

Aquino made the call after holding a consultation on the effect of the government’s tax reform program on the prices of goods and services in Quezon City Friday.

Aquino noted that the NFA have subsidy programs that they are able to sustain especially in the provinces.

“Kaya hindi ko maisip, isang taon na, wala pa rin silang solusyon dito. At iyon mismo ang trabaho nila, (That’s why I can’t understand why, after one year, they still can’t find a solution to this problem. And that is supposed to be part of their job),” Aquino said.

“Kaya maraming nagsasabi, siguro may ibang interes (sila) kung bakit hindi nila nagagawa ang trabaho nila (that’s why some people are saying, they have another interest that is why they cannot do their job),” he pointed out.

Aquino said that since the lack of NFA rice is driving up the prices of commercial rice, it is imperative that the NFA immediately work to maintain a 15-day buffer stock.

“Maraming bigas, pero napakamahal naman nito. Mabigat na po siya sa ating mga kababayan (We have plenty of rice, but it’s expensive. The public is feeling the burden),” he noted.

“They need to do their jobs. Kailangan po mapunuan ang 15-day stocking na iyon (they need to fill up that 15-day stocking),” he said.

Aquino earlier joined other senators in calling for the resignation of NFA chief Jason Aquino saying he failed to do his job in securing the agency’s buffer stock of NFA rice.

He also agreed that reforms within the NFA is needed to rid the agency of corruption but he opposed President Duterte’s decision to abolish the NFA Council saying doing so would only remove the corruption safeguards within the NFA.