NFA Exec: There is nothing to panic about

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Sunday, July 13, 2014


AN OFFICIAL of the National Food Authority (NFA) Davao Region assured consumers on Sunday that there are sufficient stocks of rice and enough rice outlets in the city.

“The situation is normal, there is nothing to be panicky about,” Edgar Bentulan, NFA-Davao director, told reporters at the Kapihan sa PIA Sunday, adding that there is no shortage of NFA rice or rice outlets in the city.

NFA-Davao, which also covers Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), has 56 accredited outlets both in the city and Igacos, 66 outlets in different barangays, and 11 rice outlets in chapels.

Bentulan said of the 800,000 bags of rice allocated to Region 11 (Davao) for the year, and 600,000 are allocated to Davao City.

Virgilio Alerta, Provincial Manager of NFA-Davao City, said they are flooding the market with NFA rice and allocating 100-300 bags to rice outlets weekly.

Alerta said this is to serve the needs of consumers who look for cheaper options and cannot afford commercial rice, as well as to prevent the increase of commercial rice prices.

Asked about the possibility of adding rice outlets, Alerta said they still have to evaluate the situation in the barangay before putting up an outlet. He said they will put up additional outlets in barangays should the need arise.

Bentulan also said they are welcoming the resolution of the City Council on putting up rice outlets in the barangays in the city.

On Tuesday, the 17th Davao City Council approved a resolution urging the NFA to allow the opening of rice outlets in every barangay in the city.

The resolution was proposed by Councilor Bernard Al-ag, saying that it would allow NFA rice to become more accessible to the public who are relying “on the availability of the NFA rice considering that it is affordable and best fits the family's budget.”

Moreover, during his privilege speech, Al-ag also cited the suspicion of instances of NFA rice hoarding in warehouses, where NFA rice is mixed with commercial rice and is sold as commercial rice.

Asked about the issue, Bentulan said there have been so far no instances of rice hoarding in the region.

He added that there have only been instances of illegal possession of NFA rice, citing a case resolved in Compostela Valley on Wednesday.

“We are now actively inspecting our warehouses regularly in joint effort with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG),” Bentulan said. (Brent Harvey S. Jimenez, AdDU Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 14, 2014.

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