Quezon City court stops bidding on ricePhilippine Daily Inquirer
A Quezon City judge on Tuesday temporarily stopped the National Food Authority (NFA) from implementing the bidding rules for rice imports that could cause four farmer cooperatives to lose more than P86 million.
Judge Alexander Balut of Branch 76 of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court also directed the NFA and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, head of the NFA Food Council, not to penalize the cooperatives until the court could decide on the petitioners’ request for an injunction.
The petitioners—Kabalikat Multi-Purpose Cooperative, based in San Juan, La Union; Bubog Farmers Cooperative and the Samahang Bagong Anyo Development Cooperative, both in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, and Pinaod Central Multi-Purpose Cooperative, based in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, claimed that they won in an NFA auction the right to import 1,075 metric tons of rice from Vietnam under the Private Sector-Financed Importation Program.
They were supposed to deliver the rice to the NFA on July 20 but the Vietnamese dealer “unilaterally changed the terms” of the importation agreement. It was not clear what changes the dealer made, but the cooperatives submitted the shipping documents to the NFA on Aug. 8.
For that delay, the NFA, enforcing its bidding rules, imposed penalties on the cooperatives and allegedly withheld paperwork for the release of the rice, which came in 21,500 bags. Jeannette I. Andrade