From rice czar to agri secretary
- Ramon Ma. Epino () - August 8, 2004 - 12:00am
National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Arthur C. Yap — at a young age of 37 years – has taken more responsibilites in a wider vista. Next week, he will assume the job of agriculture secretary through an appointment by President Arroyo, his Management and Economics professor at the Ateneo de Manila in 1982.

The new secretary inherits an economic sector that has recorded the highest growth in 15 years: 8.2 percent. The challenge is greater still to maintain and improve the perennial strong contribution of agriculture to the GNP (gross national products). Judging from past performances, he can be trusted to take up the challenge and execute well.

No less than current Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr., who has been named chairman of Land Bank and Quedancor, recommended Yap to the post.

Yap began his government career as president of Philippine International Trading Corp. (PTIC), an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), from August 2001 to October 2002. During his watch he notched a big income for the PTIC for the first time since 1993. In October 2002 came the offer of his mentor, President Arroyo, to head the NFA as administrator. By the time Yap left PITC, the agency had found its bearing. It realized for the first time in 10 years tremendous income from operations. Bonuses were up and employee morale was so high they sent the President a manifesto asking that Yap be retained.

Under his administration, NFA procurement of local rice steadily increased from 240,000 metric tons (MT) in 2002 to 300,000 MT in 2003. In 2004 he will oversee the deployment of more than 550 buying stations nationwide with concentration in key production areas targeting 400,000 MT of local palay production.

NFA warehouses these days are stocked with ample supplies of rice and the public has ample supply of quality rice. Farmers’ incomes have risen through the efficient implementation of the President’s domestic buying policy. Most of all, in the last two years, rice prices have been stable, contributing to the President’s strong marks on food as a hallmark of her governance in her first term in office.

While pusuing his law studies, Yap was vice chairman of the Ateneo Society of International Law in 1989; a contributing writer to the Ateneo Law Journal and member of the American Society of International Law. He was also chairman of the Philippine delegation to the Jessup International Moot Court in Washington D in 1989 and 1990. In 1992, he was admitted to the Philippine Bar. He was co-founder of the Yap, Jacinto, and Jacob Law Office; managing partner and co-founder of the Ejercito, Yap and Butiong Law Office. He engaged in the general practice of law from 1993 to 1995.

ADMINISTRATOR ARTHUR C AGRICULTURE SECRETARY LUIS LORENZO JR. AMERICAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW ATENEO LAW JOURNAL ATENEO SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY IN OCTOBER JACOB LAW OFFICE JESSUP INTERNATIONAL MOOT COURT PRESIDENT ARROYO YAP
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