MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday confirmed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has removed Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. as chairman of the inter-agency National Food Authority Council (NFAC).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this after releasing a statement that the National Food Authority (NFA), as well as the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA), will return to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The NFA, PCA, FPA were placed under the Office of the President (OP) during the term of former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
Because the NFA is now under the DA anew, CabSec Leoncio Evasco will no longer be part of the NFA Council, Roque said in a press briefing in Boracay.
Agriculture Secretary Manny PiAol, in a separate statement, said that he would take over as NFAC chairman since the NFA is now under his agency.
Roque said Evasco's removal is a matter of course since the NFA, which would be an attached agency of the DA, would not need an official from the Office of the President to be in the council.
Evasco's removal, however, comes after his clash with NFA Administrator Jason Aquino over rice importation.
Roque, meanwhile, said it would be best to wait for the executive order (EO) that would return the NFA and two other agencies to the DA.
All I know for now is an EO will be issued attaching the NFA to DA. I do not know what will happen after the EO. I will first announce if the EO has already been issued, Roque said.
The NFA is also going through reorganization, with council member Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) requesting to be relieved from the NFA Council as its membership is redundant since the LandBank is already in the organization.
Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would take the place of DBP.
Evasco, in a statement read by Roque, said he was thankful and respects the President's decision to remove him from his post following the return of the NFA to the DA.
I would like to thank President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for designating me and giving me the opportunity to chair the NFA council, as well as the other members of the NFA Council, for the one-and-a-half year governance work in the National Food Authority, Evasco said in a statement read by Roque.
I have full respect with the decision of the President given the encompassing nature and impact of the National Food Authority on the Filipino people and the farmers, he added.
Evasco, meanwhile, called on PiAol to take advantage of what has been started and continue the systems transformation so that it can take root in the NFA.
He said that in his more than 20 years in public service, he has never been charged with malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of his work.
The former NFAC chairman said he could never break the trust given to him by Duterte.
He admitted that it was a challenge to be part of the reform in the NFA with the effort of some quarters to discredit his name and that of the council.
However, Evasco said that making sure that the reforms were implemented during his watch was worth the effort. (With reports from Elijah D. Mendoza,OJT/PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency