The Aquino government wants to reorganize the heavily indebted National Food Authority
in order to arrest the agency’s ballooning debt, improve the delivery of services and to fast
track the administration’s goal of lowering rice importation in order for the country to be rice
sufficient in two years.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Bill reorganizing
the NFA was discussed during President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first Legislative Executive
Development Advisory Council meeting in Malacañang on Monday.
The LEDAC was created through Republic Act 7640 approved by then President Fidel V.
Ramos on December 9, 1992 which mandated that LEDAC shall serve as a consultative and
advisory body to the President as the head of the national economic and planning agency for
further consultations and advice on certain programs and policies essential to the realization
of the goals of the national economy.
The President discussed why the NFA needed to be reformed and give way to a National
Food Corporation (NFC), primarily mandated to maintain and manage a national strategic
and government rice buffer stock by July of each year, Lacierda said.
The NFC, Lacierda added, will not take over NFA’s debts and obligations pegged at P161-
billion (down from P177-billion) and would start on “a clean slate basis.”
“All assets and liabilities of NFA not transferred shall be retained and administered, disposed
of and liquidated by the NFA,” Lacierda said.
Together with the creation of the NFC, Lacierda said, the Bill would also propose increasing
the penalties of rice smuggling “which shall be considered as economic sabotage and deem
the offense as non-bailable.”
Aside from the NFC, a Food Development and Regulatory Administration (FDRA) would be
created to “carry out regulatory, scientific and developmental functions for strengthening the
efficiency of the food supply chain in order to increase the value of the farmers’ produce as a
component of food products for export.” (PCOO/PIA)