The "incompetent" senior officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) must be fired to escalate the rice scarcity in Zamboanga City, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Thursday.
In the same way, Pangilinan also called for an investigation by the Senate into the crisis, in which he wondered how a rice cutter escalated in the land of plenty & # 39; under the first president of Mindanao, Rodrigo Duterte.
In Zamboanga City a state of disaster was declared, because rice stocks became scarce, with prices rising to about P70 per kilogram in some villages in the southern Philippine city.
"First the first things: ignite the top management of NFA," Pangilinan said in a statement, adding that the crisis was a combination of both corruption and incompetence by top officials in cahoots with rich private players in the rice industry, using rising prices. to profit profitably. "
"Powerful and influential forces both inside and outside the government make a killing in manipulating both the availability of NFA rice stocks in particular, and the rice import and procurement processes in general," he said.
The senator regretted that the crisis had become a manifestation that "the reforms we have implemented from 2014 to 2016 have been overthrown by greed, incompetence and corruption."
In order to ensure that the NFA rice stock remains of good quality and affordable, Pangilinan said the next NFA administration would be the & # 39; bureaucracy & # 39; and unscrupulous traders must keep to account for their actions.
"We have filed cases against both NFA managers in Bicol, Pampanga, Iloilo, Surigao and private rice traders to stop the diversion, and we have increased the supply of NFA rice by 78 percent within NCR within a period of two weeks. private traders to keep prices up to par, "Pangilinan said.
An "open, transparent and discretionary free" government-to-government rice import process should also be set up by an NFA council, the senator said.
"With this, the NFA Council first saw bid offers in its 40-year history and saved the government an average of $ 120 per tonne between 2014 and 2016 compared to 2010 to 2014," he explained.
Pangilinan said the NFA should buy low and plan well.
"The average annual import to meet the local production shortage is between 1.2 and 1.7 million tons, and buying low also means buying the rest of the market low, preventing higher retail prices." Take ten steps forward, "said Pangilinan.
"By buying in advance, we were able to avoid being dictated by the market forces and purchasing took place 3 to 6 months before the intended delivery date when the rice prices on the international market were lower," he added.
Similarly, Pangilinan pleads for an investigation by the Senate into the first state of calamity proclaimed in Zamboanga City.
"How can a rice cutter happen in the land of plenty under the first president of Mindanaoan? To shoot prices up to more than 70 pesos per kilo, is the deficit real? Is it hoarding? How did the rice situation in Zamboanga City reach calamity?" Pangilinan.
"Who are responsible? What can be done to resolve the deficit?" These are just some of the questions we want to answer in a Senate investigation into this gut problem that threatens to hit every Filipino, "he said. / Jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download from 4 hours and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
Contact us for feedback, complaints or questions.