NFA, 2 gov't agencies back under Agriculture Dept.

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 17) Three government agencies including the National Food Authority are now back under  the Department of Agriculture (DA), according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

In an interview on CNN Philippines' Balitaan, Roque said the NFA, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) will be DA's attached agencies. All three were once under the Office of the President.

The decisions were made during President Rodrigo Duterte's meeting with the NFA Council on Monday evening.

Roque also clarified in a statement that the NFA will not be abolished.

He said later Tuesday that Cabinet Secretary Leoncio "Jun" Evasco has been removed as head of the NFA Council.

READ: Evasco out of NFA Council

Evasco led the Council after an Executive Order issued in June 2016 gave him the power to supervise 12 government agencies, including the NFA. But Evasco has been at odds with NFA Administrator Jason Aquino, who wanted to import 250,000 metric tons of rice from private traders as early as October to address a shortage in NFA rice.

The Council was created under Presidential Decree No. 1770. It is the policy-making body that deals with food and rice security, including the supply of affordable rice in the country.

Roque added the President has given the go-signal to import 250,000 metric tons of rice through government-to-government procurement to replenish the country's supply.  The imported rice is set to arrive "soon," he added.

"Subsequent importation is to be done by G2P (government to private sector) or auction and importation will be implemented / supervised by the Executive Council Committee headed by the Office of the President," Roque explained.

The two other transferred agencies, the PCA and the FPA, were placed under the Office of the President by then President Benigno Aquino through Executive Order 165.