MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Friday came to the defense of newly appointed National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Orland Calayag.
Responding to claims that Calayag cannot hold public office since he is reportedly a US citizen, Alcala said: "Kung US citizen man siya dati, pagka ikaw ay mag-public office ay mag-a-apply ka po para sa ng citizenship sa pagka-Pilipino at ginawa niya iyon."
Alcala also vouched for Calayag's capacity in running NFA's top post.
"Ang kwalipikasyon po, I don't know kung bakit nila kukwestyunin…Siya naman ay college graduate at saka may management skills," he told dzMM.
Calayag, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and US mortgage broker, took his oath before Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala last January 21.
He used to be the executive director of the Progressive Community and Ecological Services Organization, a non-governmental organization giving aid to farmers and fishermen.
Upon assuming office, Calayag said his agency would beef up its local procurement program to encourage more production in order to attain self-sufficiency.
The government expects to achieve rice self-sufficiency this year despite devastating typhoons that struck the country in 2012.
Calayag replaced Angelito Banayo, who resigned and filed his certificate of candidacy for congressman of Agusan del Norte. Banayo has since withdrawn from the race.