Army chief tapped to head grains agency
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has offered the position of National Food Authority (NFA) administrator to the retiring commanding general of the Philippine Army.
Duterte announced in a news briefing in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan on Sunday that he had offered the post to Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista.
“Rolly ( Bautista), is a good guy. In the meantime, while I
cannot place you in the central bank, you may work in the NFA, to rationalize the idiotic... so you can plan, make it structural,” Duterte said.
“There’s the problem, because there’s a dearth of a substantial knowledge of where the rice is, that’s why I need somebody I can trust and who I can tell to fix that,” Duterte added. “We have to help the country to rationalize everything.”
Bautista is set to step down as army chief on October 15, when he hits the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Duterte’s pronouncement came just days after he announced that Jason Aquino wanted to vacate his position as NFA administrator.
In last week’s tete-a-tete with Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacañang, Duterte said Aquino, a retired
from his post because he was “tired.”
“He cannot cope with the play there inside, which is always ordinary, happening in the government because we cannot be in agreement all the time,” Duterte said.
Aquino is on leave until October 12, NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan earlier said that it was not enough for Aquino to resign from his post; charges should be filed against him.
Aquino’s resignation came amid a rice supply problem in the country. Due to a delay in rice shipments, the NFA’s inventory wore thin, resulting in a spike in prices.
Complaints of weevil- infested rice and rice hoarding also hounded the NFA and the Department of Agriculture.
Duterte earlier said that he would not sack Aquino and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol amid the rice crisis. Instead, laws should be strengthened, the President said.
“Maybe the laws are weak or unenforceable. All we have to do is to improve on those laws, not
told the media before going to Israel and Jordan two weeks ago.
“I do not see any serious offense there. We have not really lost anything except that there is an aberration in the market,” Duterte added.
Army chief Rolando Baustista