Zamboanga City under state of calamity due to rice shortage
ZAMBOANGA CITY—A rice shortage prompted the local council on Monday to place this city under a state of calamity to enable the local government to control prices of the staple and to buy buffer stocks using a P15-million calamity fund.
Supplies began dwindling last week and rice prices climbed to P65 to P70 a kilogram in remote villages like Pamucutan and Manalipa, according to Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar.
Supply for Jolo
Because of a recent fire at Jolo town in Sulu province, jasmine rice grown there was distributed to residents before it was shipped to Zamboanga, one of the reasons for the scarcity, Salazar said.
She also blamed the “closure of the Malaysian border,” through which rice is traded, as well as the lean months for harvesting palay.
“We are expecting harvest this September from our neighbors in the Zamboanga Peninsula,” the mayor added.
The state of calamity declaration would allow the city government to buy rice, which would be sold exclusively at local markets, she said.
The city received 40,000 bags of rice from the National Food Authority (NFA), which, Salazar said, were not enough to feed almost a million residents.
Councilor Josephine Pareja said the resolution on the calamity state also required an investigation of reports that the city’s rice supplies were being hoarded.
“This is the case. We have supplies priced at P60 a kg, but no supplies priced at P40 a kg. Supplies only turn up when consumers agree to buy at P60,” she said. —JULIE ALIPALA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.