DA chief sees nothing irregular in rice infested with weevils | Inquirer News
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DA chief sees nothing irregular in rice infested with weevils

/ 05:49 PM September 03, 2018

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol has dispelled fears that rice infested with “bukbok” or weevils is not safe to eat.

“Pinanganak akong mahirap, at (I know) kasama ng bigas ang bukbok (I was born poor and I’ve always known that weevils are part of rice). Sabi ko nga (As I’ve said), weevils are to grain as black ants are to fruits,” Piñol said in an ambush interview on Monday.

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The secretary was reacting to allegations which surfaced on social media that he has encouraged the consumption of rice infested with weevils.

According to the DA chief, the issue highlights the social divide between the rich, who have been accustomed to eating high-grade rice, and the poor, who have settled for National Food Authority (NFA) provisions.

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“Now I see the great social and cultural divide in this country […] You know, some people who have not even eaten NFA rice in all of their lives were so scandalized by it, na nagsasabi na nagpo-promote ako na kumain ng rice na may bukbok (and they were saying that I am promoting rice infested with weevils),” Piñol said.

“No, ang sinasabi ko, ‘wag ninyong itapon, ‘yong bigas na may bukbok kasi unang proposal nila, itapon daw eh […] pinalabas ko ‘yon para ipakita sa kanila na ‘look, this is how you clean the rice with bukbok (What I am saying is thi: don’t throw that away. I asked for that to show people how to clean rice infested with weevils),” he added.

However, when he was asked how to clean or fumigate the affected rice stocks, he referred the question to the NFA.

“Ask NFA, that’s not my job,” Piñol said.

Recently, it was revealed that 133,000 sacks of rice stored a ship docked in Subic, and 177,000  in Albay were infested with weevils; hence, the need for fumigation to remove the insects.

Piñol and Health Secretary Francisco Duque II both assured the public that fumigated rice is still safe to eat.

READ: Removing ‘bokbok’ from sacks of rice might delay deliveries — NFA

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READ: Rice infested with ‘bukbok’ safe to eat, says health secretary

Piñol stressed that he is saddened by the reactions of “rich people” who had no prior knowledge of the issue.

“Pero nakakalungkot lang dahil iyong mga mayayaman, parang naiskandalo na para bang na-shock sila na pwede palang kainin, hinahalintulad pa sa uod iyong bukbok (It is sad that they were scandalized and shocked that rice infested with weevils can be eaten. They even compared the weevils to worms),” he noted.

“Excuse me, hindi uod ‘yon. Hinahalintulad ba ‘yong bokbok ng kahoy sa bukbok ng bigas, iba ‘yon (Excuse me, weevils are not worms. They are different),” he stressed.

There is a clamor for his and NFA Administrator Jason Aquino’s resignation for allegedly mismanaging the rice supply of the country. However, Piñol and President Rodrigo Duterte said that there is no rice crisis, and food supply has increased. /ee

READ:  DA chief echoes Duterte’s statement: No rice shortage in PH

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TAGS: bukbok, Department of Agriculture, House of Representatives, Manny Piñol, National Food Authority, NFA, Philippine news updates, rice, rice shortage
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