Palace to NFA execs: Shape up or step out

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2018 09:28 AM | Updated as of Feb 28 2018 10:15 AM

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and NFA administrator Jason Aquino. Composite/File Photo

MANILA - Officials of the National Food Authority should quit government service if they are having difficulty serving the public, President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson said Wednesday, as the agency grappled with a shortage in its buffer stock of cheap grain.

"Nand'yan po tayo para manilbihan sa taumbayan at kung nahihirapan po tayong manilbihan, siguro po pupuwede nang ikonsidera ang isang karera sa pribadong sektor," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a DZMM interview.

(We are there to serve the public and if we are finding that difficult, perhaps we should consider a career in the private sector.)

Senator Cynthia Villar, in a Senate hearing on Tuesday, scolded NFA officials for releasing a press statement about the rice shortage, which led to higher grain prices.

The press released failed to clarify that only NFA's buffer stock of state-subsidized grain has been depleted and not the country’s entire rice supply, she said.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, brought up reports that NFA Administrator Jason Aquino allegedly used 2 employees to carry out questionable orders, which he denied.

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"'Pag nalaman ni Presidente na mayroong kababalaghan, kahit gaano kang kalapit, sibak ka. Sa akin lang ho, kung talagang gusto n'yo pang manilbihan sa gobyerno, gawin n'yo po ang tama at ang Presidente, huwag n'yo pong i-underestimate," Roque told NFA officials.

(If the President learns of anomalies, no matter how close you are to him, you will be fired. If you really want to serve in the government, do what is right and don't underestimate the President.)

"Lahat po iyan nakakarating sa kaniya. Lahat po iyan ay pinag-aaralan... Huwag n'yo na pong hintayin na ma-anunsyo ko na kayo ang susunod na sisibakin," he added.

(Everything reaches him and undergoes study. Don't wait for me to announce that you're the next to be axed.)