Lawmaker wants DA, NFA probed over rice supply-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A PARTY-LIST lawmaker wants officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) summoned in Congress to explain the state of the country's rice supply.
In House Resolution 261, Abakada party-list Representative Jonathan De la Cruz sought a committee investigation "on the real state of the country's rice supply amid the rising cost of rice in the market, the widespread report of rice shortage nationwide and in light of claims of underreporting and overpricing of the government's rice importation."
The lawmaker explained that the aim of the resolution is to craft legislation that will make rice accessible and affordable for Filipinos.
"The price increment of the lowest commercial grade rice variety rose from P27 per kilo a few months ago to P34 per kilo recently, and the nearest next priced stocks of a more edible quality is now at P41 per kilo," De la Cruz noted.
"The NFA, despite its legal mandate and resources, has apparently failed to bring down and stabilize the price of rice to a level that is affordable and accessible for our countrymen," he said.
This week, there were newspaper reports that at least P457 million in public funds were lost to corruption from the importation of rice from Vietnam in April.
The supposedly anomalous importation deal was exposed by Tonike Padilla of the Ang Gawad Pinoy Consumers Cooperative.
Aside from Padilla's revelations, De la Cruz said that there were reports that a certain "Buddy R", who acted as a "bagman" for the group behind the questionable deal met with NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag, and three others on April Fools' Day to "cement the deal." (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)