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Explain ‘missing’ rice, NFA told

Amid snowballing call for the resignation of National Food Authority (NFA) officials, an opposition senator yesterday said they still have one issue to explain — the matter of the “missing” NFA rice.

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan noted that in recent Senate hearing, last February 27, he asked NFA officials about the availability of affordable government-subsidized rice, given their claims that they’re lacking in supply for those often bought by low-income Filipinos.
“The NFA was not able to answer our questions in the last Senate hearing. Where is NFA rice? What happened to the 245 percent increase in the distribution of NFA rice in January?” he asked.
“Where did the rice go? Why are rice prices in the market still high? Why is the buffer stock only for two days when NFA is mandated to have 15 days’ worth of stock during regular days?” Pangilinan further asked.
The NFA is required to have rice stock equivalent to 30 days during lean months.
But during the said Senate hearing, senators learned that some NFA rice were allegedly being sold illegally to some unscrupulous traders who would then rep-pack it and resell it as commercial rice at P42 to P45, or between 55 to 66 percent higher than the required NFA selling price of P27 to P32.
“For the ordinary Filipino family, instead of buying one-and-a-half kilo, it will only buy one kilo. So if a family of five consumes one-and-a-half kilo a day, it’s either everyone eats less or the mother would, which is usually the case,” Pangilinan said.
At the same Senate hearing, Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla of the National Economic Development Authority revealed the 245 percent increase in distribution or market penetration in January.
Pangilinan, who headed the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization from May 2014 to October 2015, said food is a basic human right. This means that the government as duty-bearer is obliged to make food affordable, accessible and available to its people.
“Rice is a regular staple at the Filipino dining table, even if partnered only with salt. The government, through the NFA, is there to ensure food security, or at least rice security, for all Filipinos,” he said.
Government data show that one in three farmers or 34.3 percent in 2015 and fisher folk or 34 percent, or the food producers, is poor.

1 comment

  • ghjk

    The NFA officials are just like any government staff, politicians and judiciary - all liars, how can one expect them to own up or confess to their crimes?

    So don't just ask, take active measures to catch them! move ass.

    What the government should do, to stop this problem is to catch and prosecute NFA and the businessmen who are partners here, or better ejk them.

    But it is not going to happen because the hoarders' protectors are the politicians and government officials themselves.

    The monkey-businessmen still rule - look what happened to DENR-boracay issue up to now, for example!

    That senate investigation is for show, in aid of re-election, lip service, nothing else.

    ghjk Monday, 05 March 2018 11:00 Comment Link

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