As the National Food Authority (NFA) intensifies market monitoring, along with the distribution of its low-priced rice back in the markets, the agency is banking on public support in ensuring that the government-subsidized NFA rice at P27 and P32/kilogram goes direct to its intended beneficiaries: the marginalized sector.
“We will not tolerate any vicious activities like diversion or adulteration of NFA rice for greater profit. That’s why we are calling on the public to help us monitor any wrongdoing such as alleged re-bagging of NFA rice, mislabeling NFA rice as commercial rice, or mixing NFA rice with commercial rice for bigger profits,” NFA administrator Jason Aquino said.
Aquino led NFA-NCR and marketing officials during a market inspection and monitoring yesterday at the Commonwealth, Munoz, Kamuning and Nepa Q-Mart as the agency started distributing NFA rice in Metro Manila markets.
NFA rice at P27 and P32/kg was earlier distributed in Central Luzon, Bicol, Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
To get the public more involved as watchdog over government rice, the NFA said the public may air their concerns via Hotline 8888, based in Malacanang, where all complaints related to rice and NFA are acted upon by concerned NFA offices and personnel within a 72-hour timeframe.
“While we are religiously conducting daily monitoring at the markets, we also have limited personnel to handle that job. That’s why we are calling on all concerned citizens to help us spot and immediately resolve problems in the sale of NFA rice as we do our best to distribute it to as many areas at the soonest possible time,” Aquino said.
Aquino said priority distribution centers for NFA rice are areas with high poverty incidence such as highly-populated urban centers, remote areas, calamity-prone areas and island provinces.
The NFA acknowledges that the public will play a big role in making sure that the cheap NFA rice will always be present in the market. “Public participation is important. They will serve as our eyes and ears on the ground,” Aquino said.
He explained that NFA’s 22,660 accredited rice retailers nationwide are constantly reminded of their duties and responsibilities as government’s partners and ultimate link to rice consumers. NFA field offices regularly hold “Ugnayan” sessions with them to discuss rice trading rules and regulations and thresh out issues, problems and concerns.