• Palace reviews appointment of NFA chief

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    MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said it will review the appointment of National Food Authority (NFA) chief Orlan Calayag, who is reportedly an American citizen.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the Palace will review Calayag’s appointment, which went through the usual screening process.

    “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,” Coloma explained.

    Calayag’s appointment paper was reportedly “fixed” so that his appointment, when signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, would not fall under the period of election ban on political appointments.

    But Coloma said there was “no antedating of the appointment.”

    Quoting from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Coloma said that Calayag was first appointed on January 17, 2013, to serve the unexpired term of then NFA Administrator Angelito Banayo, who resigned from his post to run for Congress in Agusan del Norte during the May 2013 elections. Banayo’s term ended on June 30, 2013.

    “The text of the appointment only refers to the original term of office of Mr. Banayo, who Mr. Calayag was appointed to replace,” Coloma said.

    “This means his appointment covers only the unexpired term of Banayo, beginning from the date of appointment, 17 January to June 2013. He was reappointed on 12 July 2013. All of these are in accordance with Republic Act (RA) 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011,” he added.

    Calayag, a former chief of staff of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala when he was still a congressman of Quezon, is reportedly an American citizen.

    Reports showed that Calayag came back from the United States on December 19, 2011 with US Passport No. 462971672.

    He has since acquired dual citizenship, having regained his Filipino citizenship on January 7, 2013 or six months after his appointment as NFA administrator.

    However, lawyer Argee Guevarra says that Calayag remains an American citizen and therefore should not remain as NFA head.

    The NFA charter states that its administrator must be a natural-born Filipino.

    The food agency had the biggest share of government subsidy from among 54 government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCCs) from 2010 to 2012.

    According to the Commission on Audit (COA), the NFA received a total of P61.17 billion–P38.42 billion in 2010, P9.21 billion in 2011 and P13.54 billion in 2012.

    COA said the grants were “in the form of tax subsidy, equity contributions and other subsidies.”

    For 2012 alone, out of the P70.4 billion subsidy for the 54 GOCCs, COA said that P31.79 billion was used for tax subsidy, conversion of advances and offsetting of guarantee fee.

    The Philippine Health and Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) was second with P24.19 billion (P3.5 billion in 2010, P6.63 billion in 2011 and P14.06 billion in 2012) while the National Housing Authority with P22.09 billion (  P3.5 billion  in 2010, P16.19 billion in 2011, and P2.39 billion in 2012).

    The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) was fourth with P16.54 billion followed by National Power Corporation with P14.09 billion.

    In 2012, the top five recipients of government subsidy were  Psalm, NFA, National Electrification Administration and  Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation.

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