NFA buffer stock good for 2 days only; House seeks probe

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2018 12:33 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2018 11:55 AM

A rice vendor tends to his stall at the Quinta Market in Quiapo area in Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A party-list lawmaker on Tuesday urged the House of Representatives to investigate a shortage in government-subsidized rice.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano sought the probe through House Resolution 1648 after the National Food Authority (NFA) admitted that its buffer stock of rice is only good for 2 days, far from the 15-day buffer stock requirement at any given time.

"This, along with the steep price of rice in the current market, displays severe inefficiency on the part of the NFA. Further, this betrays their mandate of ensuring food security and stable rice supply in the country," Alejano said in a statement.

The NFA cannot control the prices of commercial rice, which costs about P36 to P41 per kilo, but it offers more affordable rice at P27 to P32 per kilo.

Relief operations for victims of unrest and typhoons last year, however, depleted the NFA buffer stock, said agency spokesperson Becky Olarte told ABS-CBN News.

The NFA proposed to import 250,000 metric tons of grain to replenish their supply in November 2017, but an inter-agency council has yet to approve the request, she said.

Senator Cynthia Villar had said she will call for a separate Senate investigation into the issue.