NFA readies rice supply as ‘Mangkhut’ nears

MANILA — The National Food Authority (NFA) has assured that the agency has a ready supply of rice for any emergency and relief operation requirements, as the country is expected to be hit by Typhoon Mangkhut.

NFA Administrator Jason Aquino said the NFA has at least 750,000 bags stored strategically in its warehouses in Luzon, including the National Capital Region for distribution through accredited retailers and for relief operations during calamities.

“While we are hoping that the typhoon would not reach our country, or not be as devastating as projected, we (have) already instructed our field office, especially in Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), 3 (Central Luzon), and 5 (Bicol) that are projected to bear the brunt of Typhoon Mangkhut, to protect our stocks, activate their operation centers, and be ready for possible relief operations during and after the typhoon,” Aquino said in a news release issued Tuesday.

The NFA has more than 2.2 million bags in all of its warehouses nationwide. About 4.1 million bags of imported rice are also being unloaded in various ports.

In its 11 a.m. tropical cyclone advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the eye of the typhoon was last observed at 1,845 km. east of southern Luzon as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.

It packs maximum sustained winds of 170 km. per hour (kph) near the center, and gusts of 210 kph, and is moving west slowly at 25 kph. It is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday evening and will be called “Ompong”.

Aquino also said he has already instructed NFA offices that will be affected by the typhoon to coordinate with local government units, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Philippine National Red Cross, and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for quick response to rice needs for calamity victims.

“The NFA has standing memoranda of agreement with relief agencies like DSWD, OCD, as well as LGUs (local government units), allowing them to withdraw rice on credit from the food agency for their relief operation anytime during calamities and emergencies,” he said.

NFA offices in areas affected by the typhoon, and those threatened by other upcoming storms will remain operational even during weekends and holidays.

NFA through its Operations Center (OPCEN) will be monitoring updates during the typhoon, and all relief operations. During calamities, NFA OPCEN is operational 24 hours a day to provide quick response to queries and accommodate rice purchases. (NFA PR)