MANILA, Philippines – Around 890,000 sacks of National Food Authority (NFA) rice on Monday arrived at the Manila Harbor Center from Vietnam to augment the supply of rice in the country.
Despite allegations of extortion hounding him, NFA administrator Arthur Juan joined Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Kiko Pangilinan in inspecting the unloading of the NFA rice which totaled 44,500 metric tons.
The sacks were then loaded in trucks which will deliver it to various NFA warehouses.
According to Pangilinan, the newly delivered sacks will help the supply of rice during August which they consider as a "lean month" since harvest would only begin this September.
According to Pangilinan, they are taking advantage of the good weather for deliveries.
"Ngayong maganda ang weather, madali ang loading mas mabilis. ‘Di kasi pwede magload ng bigas kapag maulan kasi maapektuhan ang kalidad ng bigas,” he said.
Afterwards, Pangilinan also inspected the market price of NFA rice in Trabajo Market. NFA rice were sold at P27-32 per kilo while commercial rice were sold at P42-45.
"Nanatiling steady ‘yung commercial rice. Ang nawawala sa merkado ‘yung P41 at P42 [per kilo] dahil nagiging manipis ang kanyang availability. Pero yung P43-44 [per kilo] nanatiling as is. Hindi tumataas ang presyo per se. 'Yung availability ng mas murang bigas ‘yun ang medyo nagkakaroon ng kakulangan sa supply,” he said.
Meanwhile, Juan said he is focused on his work with Pangilinan and that he is leaving the investigation up to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Juan said he is also mulling filing charges against rice dealer Jojo Soliman who earlier accused him of trying to extort P15 million in exchange for reopening Soliman's warehouse, which was raided last July for alleged hoarding.