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NFA chief qualified – Ochoa

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - There are no more questions on the appointment of National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Orlan Calayag on allegations that he is an American citizen.

Based on an assessment of the documents provided by Calayag, he has “met all the qualifications necessary to hold his current position,” Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said.

President Aquino approved the nomination of Calayag as administrator of the NFA for the term beginning July 1 and ending on June 30, 2014.

Ochoa’s office transmitted the letter on Calayag’s appointment to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on July 12.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. earlier said there was an ongoing review and verification process to address other issues pertinent to Calayag’s appointment.

Calayag said he renounced his US citizenship shortly after gaining dual citizenship last January.

Lawyer Argee Guevarra earlier raised questions about Calayag’s dual citizenship, noting the NFA charter allowed only natural-born Filipinos to lead the agency.

Calayag did not go into details, but said he followed the process set by the US government in renouncing US citizenship that he gained in 2009.

Calayag was supposed to serve only the unexpired term of his predecessor Angelito Banayo, who resigned to run for congressman of the first district of Agusan del Norte in the 2013 midterm elections, or until June 30.

Coloma said Calayag’s reappointment was in accordance with Republic Act No. 10149 or the Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) Governance Act of 2011.

“There are hundreds of appointments being made that go to the Office of the President, and each one of those appointments goes through a vetting and screening process. So that is what was done in this case and in all other appointments,” he said.

Prior to his appointment to the NFA, Calayag was executive director of the Progressive Community and Ecological Services Organization, a non-government organization helping farmers, fisherfolk, the youth, women, and other sectors in the areas of livelihood, job generation and environmental protection.

Militant groups, however, are demanding the resignation of Calayag amid complaints and issues haunting the NFA.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Calayag was appointed by President Aquino through Alcala as head of NFA.

“There is no other way but to demand Calayag’s resignation as his office continues to be a pool for corruption. The peasantry and the Filipino people are not bent on believing that the NFA is handling the rice smuggling fiasco just fine,” KMP secretary-general Antonio Flores said.

Flores pointed out the NFA has been linked to several issues in the past months like the Vietnam rice scam and the overpricing of rice imports to P472 million.

“We condemn the lack of sanctions from the Department of Agriculture and the Palace. In fact, Calayag remains to be untouchable and hasn’t been held accountable in the rice scams. We want him liable for his actions and we want him out,” he said. –  With Rhodina Villanueva

               

 

 

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA

ANGELITO BANAYO

ANTONIO FLORES

CALAYAG

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THE PALACE

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA JR.

GOVERNANCE ACT

NFA

PRESIDENT AQUINO

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