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Reinstated NFA employees to receive backpay

MANILA, Philippines —  Employees of the National Food Authority whose suspension over the anomalous sale of the country’s rice buffer stock has been lifted by the Office of the Ombudsman will receive backpay upon their reinstatement, according to the NFA.

NFA acting administrator Larry Lacson yesterday said the computation of backpay of the 72 reinstated employees would start from the date of effectivity of their suspension.

“We are happy and thankful to the ombudsman for lifting the suspension,” Lacson told The STAR yesterday.

In a 23-page order dated May 10, the ombudsman said the primary purpose of a preventive suspension is to preserve documents and pieces of evidence, which may be under the control or custody of the respondents.

“The submission by the NFA management of all documents to the ombudsman helped in the immediate lifting of the suspension,” Lacson said.

Reinstated employees will receive their salaries and other benefits starting from April 15, he said.

Lacson expressed hope the suspension of other NFA employees, who are not part of the controversy, would also be lifted.

“We want (other suspended) employees to return to  work, especially if they are innocent,” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said the ombudsman’s decision would allow the NFA to open warehouses that remain padlocked and help procure additional palay supply.

Tiu Laurel said the agency’s own investigation into the sale of buffer stocks should be completed soon, and the results would be submitted to the ombudsman.