Fabian House committee tackles bills on NFA fate PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 March 2012 14:32

JARO, Iloilo City – The House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization led by its chairman, Zamboanga City District 2 Congressman Erbie A. Fabian started here this week the first of a series of national consultations on the fate of strengthening the National Food Authority (NFA) in terms of its present status and condition.

Fabian said that two house bills were referred to his comiitee by the other committees in Congress like the Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by Cong. Agapito Guanlao and the Special Committee on Food Security chaired by Cong. Joselito Andrew Mendoza, all proposing to amend the charter of the National Food Authority or NFA in the hope that the proposed amendments will make the NFA more efficient and effective without losing its social
objectives.

Earlier, a joint meeting was held by the three committees and a technical working group committee. It was organized to harmonize the conflicting provisions of the bills with Rep. Pryde Henry Teves as chairman. It was followed by the recommendations to Fabian’s committee to act accordingly to the said proposition.

Upon arrival in Jaro, Iloilo, Fabian and other solons were welcomed by Rep. Arthur Defensor of the 3rd District of Iloilo as well as the officials of the NFA Region 6 Western Visayas Regional Office and Iloilo Provincial Office.

The combined committees in Congress headed by the Zamboanga solon immediately conducted an ocular visit of the NFA regional and provincial offices and received a briefing from NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina with regards to the present status of the NFA office in the Visayas and in the entire country.

Multiple stakeholders from the marginalized sectors of Iloilo City like the farmers group, consumer groups, rice traders and importers as well as representatives from the department of Agriculture and the Regional and Provincial NFA offices in Ilo-Ilo City attended the said public hearing wherein they were given the chance to listen and interact with the solons with regards to their opinions and positions relative to the government’s proposition to further enhance the management and operations of the NFA.

During the public hearing, discussions were focused on on House Bill 160,  proposing to amend the NFA charter which was referred to the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, Committee on Agriculture and Food and Special Committee on Food Security as well.

House Bill 160,  “An act strengthening and redefining the powers and functions of the National Food Authority, amending for the purpose presidential
decree nos. 4 & 1770, as amended, respectively known as the National grains Authority Act and the National Food Authority Act, appropriating fund therefore and for other purposes, is the main issue which is being discussed and elaborated for public view and opinions.

Rep. Fabian said that after Iloilo, his committee as well as other sub-commitees will also conduct similar public hearings in Luzon and here in Mindanao to get the national sentiments about this matter and determined from the Filipinos their objective propositions and stand with regards to the move of the present administration to re-organize and uplift the services of the NFA.

It is the strong recommendation of the Fabian committee for the NFA to maintain and manage throughout the year a strategic Rice Reserve equivalent to a t least 15 days national rice consumption or may be determined by the Department of Agriculture, undertake stabilization function when commissioned by the DA and be paid for such service, provide rice for the DSWD pro-poor programs and be paid for such service, maintain and operate post harvest facilities and many others.

The committee also endorsed the NFA’s mandate to stabilize the price and supply of food grains as well as to ensure food security. Exercise regulatory and proprietary functions, and offer commodities at affordable prices even when purchased at high prices when resulted to operating losses. — Bhong Simbajon