Philippines: Head of grains agency quits amid rice woes
Manila: The head of the primary government agency in charge of Philippines’ food security has quit amid concerns over the supply of rice.
Jason Aquino, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in October 2016 to head the National Food Authority (NFA), has resigned from his post.
The move comes amid a controversy that been hounding the official since he assumed his post. He was earlier with the Bureau of Customs.
A report by the online news agency, Rappler, implicates Aquino in corruption at the NFA, although other reports said reforms he initiated at the agency led to the sacking of certain officials.
Duterte said in a televised interview with Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo that Aquino “has already requested that he be relieved”.
“He said he is tired and he cannot cope with the what’s going on inside the NFA, because we cannot be in agreement all the time,” he said.
Duterte said he will soon look for Aquino’s replacement.
In a statement, the NFA said Aquino, who is currently on leave, shall remain head of the food agency until a replacement is appointed by the president.
Duterte had earlier said the shortage of rice was “artificially driven” by traders to jack up the price of the commodity.
He had warned hoarders that their warehouses would be raided by the government.
On September 11, agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service together with police, cracked down on rice hoarders and raided several warehouses in Marilao, Bulacan, after receiving information that large quantities of smuggled rice are stashed inside.