Authorities on Wednesday discovered over 100,000 sacks of rice infested with rice weevils (bukbok) in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, amid reports of dwindling rice supply in other cities.
According to the National Food Authority, at least 133,000 sacks of rice were affected by the pest.
The sacks of rice were imported from Thailand and arrived in Subic Bay last August 2.
After discovering the infestation, authorities had to fumigate all the sacks of rice in the ships.
It will take 7 to 12 days to kill the rice weevils.
NFA said it was natural for rice to be infested with rice weevils but the pests have to be killed first before the sacks can be transported to their warehouses.
The sacks of rice are still under the custody of the supplier, which will also shoulder the fumigation expenses.
NFA also said the rainy weather will further stall the unloading of the goods.
"Maaapektuhan siya kasi made-delay na naman iyong unloading kasi magfu-fumigate ka sa buong vessel," NFA spokesperson Director Rex Estoperez said.
(The unloading will be further delayed because the whole vessel would have to fumigated.)
"Magagamit siya pero for now for fumigation siya, hindi mo muna pwede buksan kasi nga may treatment na so pag-okay na, after 7-12 days. Eh di 12 days na naman delay mo," he added.
(The rice can still be used but it has to undergo fumigation first. We cannot open it yet. The treatment will take around 7 to 12 days. So unloading will be delayed by 12 days.)
According to NFA, they are ready to augment the stocks in Region 2 and Region 3.
- report from Kori Quintos, ABS-CBN News