Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Philippines’ NFA set to downsize its scope

Philippines’ NFA set to downsize its scope

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer works in a rice field near the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna, south of Manila. NOEL CELIS/AFP

Philippines’ NFA set to downsize its scope

THE Philippine National Food Authority (NFA) is already preparing for the eventual downsizing of its functions and scope as a grains agency following the passage of the Rice Import Liberalization Act.

Under the law, the NFA will be limited to procuring local paddy rice and maintaining the country’s buffer stock, thereby stripping it of its power to regulate, license, market and monitor activities related to the staple.

According to the first draft of the law’s implementing rules and regulations written by officials of the National Economic and Development Authority, the NFA will be given 10 million pesos ($192,234) to ensure its smooth and timely transition to a new rice trade regime.

The amount does not include the compensation packages that would be given to employees who would be affected by the restructuring plan.

NFA employees association president Maxie Torda said that while most retirees were already opting to take the package, some employees still preferred continuing to work for the agency. Records showed the NFA has 4,136 employees nationwide.

According to NFA acting administrator Tomas Escarez, about 1,000 employees may lose their jobs from the restructuring plan, but this is a conservative estimate given the agency’s major function is linked to managing imports.

Members of the employees’ group are fearing a gradual phase-out starting with the removal of employees related to the agency’s regulatory and enforcement functions. Workers whose tasks are related to imports were seen to be terminated once the agency’s imports are depleted sometime in August.

In a Facebook post, Escarez said “it is still business as usual at NFA”, adding the agency would continue to aggressively buy paddy rice from farmers and distribute cheap rice in the markets. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials