Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. described the administration of the National Food Authority as riddled with corruption in handling its operations amid the controversy raging over the importation of rice.
The statement of Sec. Evasco came after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte abolished the council of which he was asked to head for one and a half year.
The trusted man of Pres. Duterte said in his press statement that with the President´s decision to transfer the governance to the next Council chair, he believes the “NFA can continue moving forward towards ensuring that corrupt, exclusive and debt-ridden practices during the past administrations will not reign in the next transactions to pass.”
During an interview with the Chronicle, the Cabinet secretary admitted that it was a challenge to initiate reforms in the NFA.
The orchestrated move to discredit him and the NFA council was obviously a reaction of the reforms he initiated within, Evasco stressed.
Pressed to name names of his detractors, Evasco declined.
However, he was confident to say he will be vindicated at the end.
As he ended his duties as chair of the NFA council, Sec. Evasco thanked the President for designating him while giving him the opportunity to chair the National Food Authority (NFA) Council. He likewise thanked the other members of the NFA Council he has worked with for more than a year.
The Boholano Cabinet member of the Duterte administration called on the next chairperson to take advantage of what the council have started and continue the systems transformation so that it can take root in the NFA.
“This critical juncture is the best time for NFA to move towards being a true partner of the farmers in delivering better quality services, a true partner of the Filipino consumers in providing affordable and quality rice to the public, and a true partner of the nation in ensuring food security, especially during calamities and disasters,” Sec. Evasco said.
The Cabinet secretary said he has full respect to the President for the decision has given the encompassing nature and impact of the NFA to the Filipino people and the farmers.
The secretary said that during his watch of the council, he placed several policy guidelines that have provided a more transparent, competitive, inclusive, and accountable system of procurement and distribution of NFA rice as a result of more than 20 Council meetings since his designation by the President as NFA Council Chair.
Evasco cited that the importation of close to 805, 200 metric tons of MAV rice without a cent spent by Government is also an attempt by the council and this administration to not add to the liabilities it has incurred since its creation through Presidential Decree no. 1770.
In defending the decisions of the council, Sec. Evasco stressed that he made sure that decisions of the Council were collegial in nature and brought together the critical and evidence-based reports and inputs coming from DOF, DTI, NEDA, and BSP, including the banking institutions in the board, namely the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
He clarified that the reports issued by the council were provided by NFA management and not invented by the council.
The statement of Sec. Evasco followed after the public noticed of a “demolition job” being implemented against the Boholano Cabinet secretary who was the then city administrator of Davao when the President was still the city mayor.
Evasco told the President that in his more than 20 years in public service including three terms as mayor of the Municipality of Maribojoc in Bohol, he was never charged with malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in the exercise of his office.
He was proud to inform the President that he has never been investigated by any office on any misdealing, nor has he been left alone I have never been charged before the Ombudsman / Sandiganbayan for any corrupt practices.
Being loyal to the President, Evasco said he can never break the good relationship with the President.
Evasco reminded his detractors that he did not ask for the position given him by the President and that he wholeheartedly accepted the post in order to help him (Duterte) govern the country and at the same time make the Duterte administration responsive to the needs of our people.
The abolition of the council is a presidential prerogative which he respected.
The “lessons, learnings, and insights he will treasure and nurture as I continue to move toward better, cleaner and effective government service to the people.” Sec. Evasco concluded.