NFA rice stocks in Batanes run low as Mangkhut churns closer


Posted at Sep 11 2018 12:01 PM

Typhoon also threatens rice harvest - governor

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MANILA - The supply of government subsidized rice is running low in Batanes, its governor said Tuesday as the country's northernmost province braced for the onslaught of potential super typhoon Mangkhut.

Typhoon Mangkhut, which is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Wednesday, could make landfall over the Batanes-Cagayan area later this week, bringing intense rains, state weather bureau PAGASA earlier said.

Batanes only has 1,700 sacks of National Food Authority (NFA) rice, which could last until September 27, Governor Marilou Cayco told radio DZMM.

If Mangkhut prevents ships from delivering additional stocks to Batanes, residents will have to buy commercial rice retailing for around P70 per kilo in the province, she said.

"'Pag ganyan ang presyo, medyo mahihirapan po kami," she lamented.

(If the price is like that, we will suffer.)

Cayco also expressed fear that rains may damage rice fields in Itbayat island that are due for harvest.

"'Pag nadaanan iyan ng malakas na bagyo, hindi na namin pakikinabangan iyun," she said.

(If a strong typhoon passes through, we will no longer be able to harvest that.)

The governor said she has directed the provincial agriculture office to secure food production gardens, while trade officers monitor the price of goods.
She said she may also ask the national disaster agency to use military planes to deliver NFA rice to Batanes.

Barangay officials, meanwhile, have been ordered to help residents reinforce the roofs of their homes with government-supplied nylon ropes, said Cayco.

Relief packs and hygiene kits have also been prepositioned across Batanes, she said.

The provincial government is also providing accommodations to some tourists who were stranded by the cancellation of flights to and from the province since Friday, added the governor.

Mangkhut was 1,820 kilometers east of Southern Luzon at 4 a.m., packing maximum sustained winds of up to 160 kilometers per hour and 195 kph gusts, PAGASA said in an advisory.

PAGASA categorizes a weather system with top sustained winds of 220 kph as a super typhoon, but Mangkhut can carry winds of up to 250 kph as it approaches extreme northern Luzon and before it leave the Philippine area, said ABS-CBN resident weather specialist Nilo Millanes.

Visit the ABS-CBN Weather Center for the latest weather updates.