By MANLY M UGALDE
TABACO CITY: Ordinary folks here are crying out loud why NFA rice, the main staple for poor families because of its low price, have disappeared in stores and the local market for almost two weeks now, leaving them with no choice but to buy the higher-priced commercial rice, if they have the money.
Triycle driver TelesforoBegilsaid he used to buy NFA rice at P27 per kilo. He complained that the cheapest commercial rice available at P30/kilo is even of poorer quality than the cheaper NFA rice.
Early last week, City Mayor Marie Demetriou, through her city administrator retired police officer Elizir Bron, said the police was monitoring reports about the missing NFA rice in the market.
The public market here is only 50 meters away from the city hall and the city executives seemed not aware of the rice shortage while other nearby cities and towns have no problem with their supplies in their own market, the complaining local residents here claimed.
A production report by Dr. Elena Delos Santos, regional technical director for operations of the Department of Agriculture regional office in Pili, Camarines Sur assured there was no artificial shortage of rice supply in Bicol, stressing that this year’s palay production was so far higher compared to the production realized during the same period last year.
But concerned residents, including Mayor Jose Arcangel of neighboring Jovellar town, said certain officials of the National Food Authority in the city and province may be in cahoots with unscrupulous traders to take advantage of the jacked up price of commercial rice for several weeks now.
A radio station here assailed the alleged ineptness of local NFA officials, especially amidst reports that some NFA rice have been introduced, or repackaged, by unscrupulous traders as commercial rice at a jacked up price of P35 a kilo.
These commercial rice, sometimes pegged to as much as P38/kilo, look and smell like the NFA rice they used to buy at P27 per kilo, a complaining resident said. – Bicol Mail