SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- The National Food Authority (NFA) has started unloading imported rice from Thailand and Vietnam via the Subic Bay Freeport to reach intended destinations in Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley.
NFA administrator Jason Aquino said in meeting here with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Wilma Eisma that a total of 340,000 bags of premium rice arrived at the Port of Subic on board the cargo ship MV Tay Son 2 on June 5.
However, the transfer was delayed due to bad weather, according to Aquino.
Another shipment consisting of 160,000 bags is expected to arrive here next week to complete the 500,000 bags or 250,000 metric tons scheduled for unloading via Subic Freeport.
Aquino said that 100,000 bags will be distributed in Cagayan Valley, while 400,000 bags will be distributed in Central Luzon.
The NFA official added that with the arrival of the long-awaited rice shipments, the NFA is expecting a drop from P1 to P2 in the price of commercial rice.
But the official clarified that only marginalized sectors, indigenous people, and NFA-accredited retailers endorsed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can avail of the imported rice at P27 per kilo.
Aquino also said that the rice importation was coursed through the government to government (G2G) procurement scheme in line with the call of President Duterte to fast-track the importation of rice to maintain food security in the country.
He noted that more than one million bags of imported rice intended for Metro Manila has already arrived but could not be unloaded because of over-crowding at the Port of Manila.
Eisma urged the NFA to use the Port of Subic which is less congested compared to other ports in the country.
The Freeport is strategically positioned to serve as unloading point for goods destined to various points in Luzon, she said.
Eisma expressed appreciation to NFA officials for making Subic an NFA discharge port for its rice importation program.
Aquino, accompanied by NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez and other NFA Zambales provincial officials, called on Eisma at the SBMA office on Wednesday morning before proceeding to inspect the rice shipment at Subic’s NSD Pier. (Ric Sapnu)