NFA Council not employees to blame | Inquirer Opinion

NFA Council not employees to blame

/ 02:23 AM May 30, 2011

THIS IS a rejoinder to the editorial “Where were they?” (Inquirer, 5/21/11)

Since 1986, the NFA Employees’ Association (NFAEA) already knew of the erroneous rice policies of the National Food Authority and the various anomalies in the agency. The union has consistently fought for genuine policy and organizational reforms inside the agency by, among other acts, exposing irregularities (one of which led to the forced resignation of NFA administrator Romeo David in 1995); filing charges against officials for corruption, abuse of authority, sexual harassment, etc.; and promoting the Code of Conduct among union members.


NFAEA’s longstanding policy is to encourage its members to expose corruption and to assist them in the filing of appropriate charges against erring officials. The filing of anti-corruption cases in court, however, and its eventual success—despite mounting evidence—are two different things that, by and large, depend on the political will of who is in power.

The powers-that-be usually end up as the usual suspects and it behooves an important publication like the Inquirer to ask not where we were but to instead raise the following pertinent questions:


Of the reported P100-billion NFA losses in 10 years, how did 40 percent of these end up secured by Land Bank, Philippine National Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines—whose presidents are sitting members of the NFA Council, the agency’s highest policymaking body?
How did the presidents of these three major banks, along with the finance secretary and the Central Bank governor—purportedly finance experts and members of the economic team of the past and present administrations—manage to steer the NFA into deep, rotten debt woes?
Why does the NFA Council resort to imprudent bank loans instead of just petitioning Malacañang or Congress to allocate directly interest-free funding support to NFA?

If the NFA is in the red by the billions, why hasn’t the Commission on Audit disallowed the billions of money spent by the NFA starting in 2001? Why does COA report a presumption of regularity on such expenditures?

Further, are the recommendations of USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the proposal of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad “for the government to remove NFA subsidy and privatize” a mere coincidence?

Where we are is where the union stands on the issue of NFA’s outright abolition—along with its task to ensure the availability and price stability of the country’s main food staple—and our call for honest-to-goodness fiscal reforms, and to institute policies relevant to long-term self-sufficiency in rice.
Finally, policies on imports, fund borrowings, support prices for palay and release prices of rice and other operational matters are decided by the eight-man NFA Council and members of the economic team of the Office of the President. Ordinary NFA employees should not be blamed for the agency’s losses.

national president,
National Food Authority
Employees’ Association

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TAGS: Graft & Corruption, National Food Authority (NFA), rice, rice cartel
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