- Senator Cynthia Villar said there’s no rice shortage in the Philippines
- She filed a Senate resolution to probe the rice supply in the country
- DA Secretary Manny Piñol said the country has an oversupply of rice
Senator and chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food Cynthia Villar said there is no rice shortage but the National Food Authority (NFA) failed to fulfill its mandate.
“Hindi nagkukulang ang suplay ng bigas, ang National Food Authority ang nagkukulang,” she told Super Radyo dzBB as per a GMA News story posted on February 11.
The lady senator earlier filed a Senate resolution to probe the status of rice supply and make an inquiry on the agency’s mandate on buffer stocking for food security and stabilization.
The agency’s failure to fulfill its mandates, which reportedly took place twice in 2017, she said, is the “problem.”
Villar added, NFA should have gone to provinces, as the price of rice there are cheaper, to solve the problem.
GMA News quoted her saying, “Kaya nga dapat ang NFA pupunta siya sa mga lugar na mura ang bigas kasi hindi naman lahat ng bigas sa buong Pilipinas ay mahal, kasi may mga lugar na mura like sinasabi nga sa Antique daw P10 to P12 lang per kilo, sa Bicol daw P14, sa Palawan daw P13, so ang mandate ng NFA hanapin niya kung saan mura ang palay at doon siya mamili para tulungan niya yung mga magsasaka na maipagbili at P17 yung kanilang palay.
“Kaya nga po maghi-hearing tayo dito para tanungin natin sila once and for all, and at the same time kailangan din namin sila makausap kasi we will be transitioning from quantitative restriction ng rice to tariffication.”
[That is why NFA needs to go to areas where the price of rice is cheap because not all rice in the Philippines is expensive. The NFA’s mandate is to find where rice is cheap and buy there — to help the farmers sell. We will conduct a hearing to ask and we need to talk because we will be transitioning from quantitative restriction of rice to tarrification.]
The Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council requires the agency to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and 30 days at the onset of the lean months of July to September. However, it was reported that the current buffer stock can only last for two days.
The NFA decided to temporarily stop supplying rice retailers due to low supply to prioritize calamity victims and stockpile for islands at greater risk of natural disasters.
Manny Piñol, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, earlier belied the reports of rice shortage and said the country is facing an oversupply of rice.
“Sobra-sobra ang ating bigas ngayon,” he said via dzMM as per Inquirer.
The Secretary said things were misinterpreted — there’s a shortage to their own buffer stock but not the rice stock of the Philippines