Villar on PH rice problems: Is this bad luck or plain NFA incompetence?
Was it just “bad luck” or plain incompetence on the part of the of National Food Authority (NFA)?
The country’s rice problems got Senator Cynthia Villar into thinking as she was asked to comment on the twin issues hounding the agency — rice shortage and rice stock infested with “bukbok” or weevil.
On the issue of rice shortage, Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, believes the NFA was to blame for its failure to do its mandate.
“Kasi sa Philippines talaga, ang NFA is mandated to buy from the farmers at P17 para hindi at the mercy of traders and farmers, para mai-insure natin na palay can be bought at P17 per kilo…(In the Philippines, the NFA is mandated to buy rice from farmers at P17 per kilo so they would not be at the mercy of traders and farmers),” she explained in a press briefing in the Senate on Tuesday,
The rice will then be sold in the market at P32 per kilo, she said.
But the Senator said the problem started when the NFA itself admitted its failure to have a buffer stock of rice, which unscrupulous rice traders reportedly took advantage of.
“So in a way, the NFA failed in its mandate. That’s why we are suffering like this,” she said.
Asked to comment on some rice stock being sold in the market infested with “bukbok” or weevil and the NFA’s assurance that it’s still safe for consumption as long as it is fumigated, Villar said: “Bakit sila bibili ng may bukbok? Masyado naman. Ang daming rice, may bukbok pa ang bibilhin (Why would they buy rice infested with weevil? That is too much. There’s a lot of rice, and you’d buy rice with weevil? ),” she asked.
“Sila ang bumili ng may bukbok. Sila ang kumain. Kasi bakit ka naman bibili ng rice, may bukbok pa (Why don’t they buy rice infested with weevil? They should eat it. Why would you buy rice with weevil?” she added.
“Bakit naman lahat ng kamalasan sila ang gumagawa? Do you think it’s kamalasan or may diperensya talaga (Why is this bad luck happening? Do you think it’s just bad luck or there is really something wrong)?” the senator further asked.
Asked again if it’s now time for NFA Administrator Jason Aquino to leave his post, the senator said: “Hindi naman siya nagre-resign. Ano ang gagawin natin (He is not resigning, so what can we do)?” she said. /ee
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