Two top officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) have stepped down from their posts, days after President Benigno Aquino 3rd named former senator Francis Pangilinan Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
Orlan Calayag, Administrator of the National Food Authority (NFA), and Euclides Forbes, chief of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), confirmed on Monday that they have submitted their respective resignation letters to the Office of the President.
With his appointment as food and agriculture czar, Pangilinan took control of four DA-attached agencies – NFA, PCA, National Irrigation Authority (NIA) and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).
“With your permission and to allow Secretary Pangilinan greater latitude in performing his mandate, I am tendering my resignation as NFA Administrator. I am also relinquishing positions that I hold ex oficio,” Calayag said in his letter to Aquino.
Under Calayag’s term, the NFA institutionalized key reforms in operations to improve the quality of food stocks. The agency also stabilized the farm gate prices to support small farmers.
The NFA chief said they reformed the procedures on rice importation to thwart dummy organizations.
Forbes said the PCA is continuing efforts to help coconut farmers affected by super typhoon Yolanda. The agency is also beefing up its massive salt fertilization program to increase coconut production.
But NIA Administrator Claro Maranan said he has no plans to resign because his term will end on June 30 this year.
“My term is only for one year and will end in June 2014. This may be expedited once my replacement has been appointed by the President. I will wait for it,” Maranan added.
He admitted that majority of the NIA board and irrigator associations were endorsing him for an extension.
“During my term, I have accomplished quite a lot,” Maranan said.
“We have been instructed by Secretary [Proceso] Alcala to support Mr. Pangilinan. In NIA, we have done everything we can to improve the irrigation in the country,” he added.
Alcala is the Agriculture secretary.
FPA executive director Norlito Gicana did not say if he will also quit, but said his agency has a different set-up compared to NFA, NIA and PCA.
“FPA is a regulatory agency, while those other agencies are corporations,” Gicana noted.