‘Bukbok’ rice given to Bohol town residents replaced
LOON, Bohol- The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) has replaced the packs of rice infested with “bukbok” (weevils) that were given to some residents in Loon town.
Mita Tecson, chief of PSWDO, said that they had replaced the rice packs on Monday afternoon.
She said 119 rice packs were replaced in Barangay Moto Norte, the village where most residents received the infested rice.
“I hope that (replacement of the rice packs) would finally close the issue,” she said.
Tecson, however, said she could not say where the infested rice came from.
On Aug. 30, some residents in Loon town complained that the rice packs they received from the provincial government of Bohol through its HEAT (Health and Sanitation, Education and Technology, Agriculture and Food Security, and Tourism and Livelihood) Caravan were infested with weevils.
Aside from weevils, the rice was also smelly and had dark grains, the residents complained.
The HEAT Caravan, which is held alternately every two months in different towns, is the flagship program of Bohol Governor Chatto in his advocacy to reduce poverty in Bohol.
Loon Mayor Elvi Peter Relampagos that infested rice issue should have been addressed properly.
Loon, with a population of 43,000 in 67 barangays, is Bohol’s biggest municipality.
It was among the hardest hit towns in the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol in 2013.
“Why make a big issue out of it that the rice could easily be replaced?” said Relampagos.
Rice that had been in storage for more than one month was prone to weevils, he added.
Relampagos said the best thing to do was just to replace the rice rather than turn it into an issue. Relampagos said the HEAT Caravan had good intentions.
Volunteers who repacked the 8,563 rice packs at Camp Bernido said that the rice was of good quality.
One pack, according to Jun Gutierrez of Bayan Bantay sa Krimen at Kalikasan Inc- Bohol chapter, also contained four cans of sardines and four cans of beef loaves.
Barangay Moto Norte Captain Willou Tan, 43, said his barangay received 294 rice packs that contained 4.5 kilos of rice, four cans of sardines and four cans of beef loaves.
Tan, however, clarified that not all residents received the bad rice. He said there were at least 10 households that received rice with good quality.
He also reacted when some people accused him of sabotage since he was positively identified as opposition village chief.
When news broke out, Tan said personnel of PSWDO went to his barangay on Aug. 31 to get the infested rice. Tan clarified that instead of 6 kilos it was only 4.5 kilos when they weighed the pack.
Tan said residents were surprised when they opened their packs to find out the rice was in bad quality.
Some residents in Canhangdon Occidental, Tontonan, Basak, Ticugan, Catagbacan Norte also reported having received rice infested with weevils.
Meanwhile, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto had ordered an investigation into the issue.
National Food Authority(NFA)-Bohol manager Maria Fe Evasco denied that the rice infested with weevils came from their warehouse.
She said the provincial government bought 1,040 (not 40,000 as reported earlier) sacks of rice from their office, while the local government of Loon also purchased 112 sacks of rice.
Evasco said the rice distributed in the caravan in Loon town were all of good quality and were of the Thailand variety which were free of weevils.
“The variety and quality of rice is the same as those of the stocks distributed to all our accredited retailers,” said Evasco. /muf
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