Strengthen food agency
President Duterte said that he is looking for a new National Food Authority (NFA) administrator to implement the policies of the economic managers.
The stark reality is, we are now in these uncertain times due to the actions of these economic managers. They merely look at the NFA’s profitability, not the stability of the price and supply of rice.
The Zambasulta rice crisis is the best argument that the country’s food security should not be entrusted to free market forces.
With no stocks in its possession, the government was virtually rendered inutile in stabilizing the rice market. The timely arrival of the NFA’s rice imports effectively arrested the crisis.
The food relief efforts for thousands of victims of Typhoon “Ompong” would have been for naught if not for the prepositioning of NFA rice; more so if there were no adequate buffer stock to replenish depleted stocks in the calamity areas.
Because of the policies of the economic managers, the Filipino people are now mired deeper in hardships. The peso continues to depreciate and the 6.4-percent inflation rate in August is the highest in nine years.
The explosive combination of hungry and angry people due to the continued erosion of their purchasing power could lead to dire consequences for the country.
There is no substitute for a strong government food agency that is on top of the rice situation in the country.
It would be costly for the government to tinker once more with a proven effective structure that ensures strong state intervention on rice.
The government should not surrender the food security of its people to profiteers and greedy speculators.
CHARLES G. ALINGOD,
National President, National Food Authority Employees Association-Confederation of Unity of Recognition and Advancement for Government Employees
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