MANILA, Philippines – Through an executive order (EO), President Rodrigo Duterte made Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol the new National Food Authority Council (NFAC) chairman and transferred the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to the Office of the President.
EO No. 62, signed on Monday, September 17, changed the NFAC composition, replacing its former head, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr, with Piñol.
Evasco had locked horns with NFA Administrator Jason Aquino. The NFA administrator serves as the NFAC vice chairperson.
Piñol's new role comes after trade department officials and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told Duterte in Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) situation briefings that there was a need to put someone in charge of decisions on NFA rice after Aquino was relieved and no one had replaced Evasco as NFAC chairman.
EO No. 62 also states that the agriculture secretary can choose to delegate the role of NFAC chairman to an undersecretary of their choice.
The same EO formalized Duterte's order last April to return the NFA, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
During the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, these 3 agencies, plus the National Irrigation Administration, were put under the newly created Office of the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization amid allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the DA under Proceso Alcala.
Come Duterte's presidency, his first EO transferred the NFA, PCA, and 10 other agencies to Evasco's office, as he wanted the Cabinet secretary to be in charge of all poverty alleviation efforts.
One of these agencies was HUDCC.
Thus, with Duterte's latest EO, Evasco loses jurisdiction over 3 offices – the NFA, PCA, and HUDCC.
HUDCC, headed by housing czar Eduardo del Rosario, will now be directly under Duterte's office.
The transfers are meant to "ensure efficiency and coordination in the performance of their respective mandates," according to the new EO.
Evasco's office now supervises only 9 offices:
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