By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Wednesday renewed his call for the removal of the National Food Authority (NFA) administrator, saying such move is key to resolving the rice shortage crisis.
Aquino insisted that the root cause of the rice crisis is gross mismanagement of the NFA. This developed after the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed that the cost of rice in the provinces of Zamboanga and nearby Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have shot to P70-per kilo.
“While the bill calling for the removal of the excise tax on fuel can help bring down the prices of basic commodities, including rice, the root cause of the rice crisis is still the NFA’s inefficiency,” Aquino said.
“It is high time that the President removes the NFA administrator due to his ineptitude,” added the senator.
Aquino and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 868 to investigate the rice crisis in Zamboanga City.
The senator said he can only hope that NFA administrator Jason Aquino would take the initiative to just resign from his post so that the NFA’s operations would return to normal.
Aquino further slammed the NFA’s failure to provide poor Filipinos with enough supply of affordable rice despite the importation of around 500,000 metric tons of rice.
“Until now, the people cannot feel the positive effects of the NFA’s promise that there would be sufficient supply of affordable rice in the market,” he pointed out.
The NFA also has yet to fulfill its promise that importation will lower the price of commercial rice in the market, stressing that the price of rice has increased for the eighth straight month, per a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“If they cannot perform their duties, they have no right to remain in that position even for one second,” he said.