NFA to supply rice in flooded areas

MANILA — The National Food Authority is ready to supply rice needed by local government units (LGUs) and relief agencies in various flooded areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila, heavily affected by storm-enhanced monsoon rains locally called “habagat.”

Intense rainfall over the weekend caused heavy flooding in low-laying areas in Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Oriental Mindoro, and Occidental Mindoro, affecting thousands of families, mostly are now in evacuation centers.

NFA Administrator Jason LY. Aquino has instructed the agency’s field offices in affected areas to be on alert status and reactivate their operations center (OPCEN), so they could readily respond to local government units and relief operations agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and others needing to withdraw rice for their relief operation activities.

Aquino assured the NFA has sufficient stocks strategically positioned in its warehouses nationwide, especially in island provinces and calamity-prone areas.

“We have a standing memorandum of agreement with relief agencies and LGUs, so they can withdraw their rice requirements anytime during calamities and emergencies,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

NFA’s local offices in Region I have so far issued a total of 2,422 bags for distribution in Western Pangasinan (1,445 bags to LGU and Red Cross), La Union (375 bags to DSWD), Eastern Pangasinan (220 to LGU), Benguet (252 bags to LGU and DSWD), Abra (50 bags to LGU), and Ilocos Norte (30 bags to LGU).

NFA’s Region IV has initially released a total of 1,799 bags broken down as follows: Palawan – 825 bags to LGU; Mamburao – 712 bags to PDRRMC, LGU and NGO; Occidental Mindoro – 208 bags to DSWD, PDRRMC, LGU, and NGO; Oriental Mindoro – 54 bags to LGU.

The agency’s National Capital Region has issued 100 bags to GMA Foundation and 840 bags to the LGUs of Rizal.

As of Aug. 13, a total of 311,114 bags were already issued by the NFA to various LGUs and relief agencies, including those issued to DSWD’s relief operations.

Meanwhile, monitoring teams were deployed immediately to assess the rice supply and price situation in the market and ensure that NFA-accredited outlets are selling NFA rice at government-prescribed prices.

As of Aug. 10, a total of 228,400 metric tons or 4,568,000 bags of rice have already been delivered to various NFA warehouses out of the 250,000 MT government-to-government rice importation with Vietnam and Thailand.

Meanwhile, rice imported under the open tender scheme has started arriving. But due to bad weather, arrivals and unloading of imported stocks have been delayed. (PR)