MANILA –National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino has instructed NFA field officials to issue only the best quality NFA rice for emergency and calamity relief operations.
“While the NFA ensures that all its rice stocks are well-maintained and of good quality, we want to give emphasis on giving only the best of what we have for the victims of calamities or emergencies. It’s our way of making them feel better at an unfortunate time in their lives,” Aquino said.
Aquino also reminded all NFA offices nationwide to ensure that they have already signed memoranda of agreement (MOA) with local government units (LGUs) for the immediate release of rice during emergencies.
Under the MOA, partner LGUs may withdraw the rice on credit on or before the onset of an emergency or calamity.
The NFA issued a total of 895,527 bags of rice for relief operations in 2016. The rice was distributed through LGUs and other relief agencies for victims of typhoons, the El Nino dry spell and flooding incidents across the country.
From January 1 to February 10 this year, the NFA had already issued 23,059 bags of rice for the victims of typhoon Auring (680 bags), flooding incidents (22,179 bags) and the earthquake in Surigao (200 bags).
As part of its disaster preparedness program, all NFA offices nationwide operate a 24-hour Operation Center (OPCEN) to monitor the situation on the ground and to ensure quick response to any need for rice for relief operations.
“Whatever happens, the NFA will always be there to provide our people’s most basic food, rice. Walang NFA rice kung walang NFA,” Aquino said.
Aquino has instructed NFA regional directors to ensure the presence of NFA rice in all public markets to make low-priced good quality rice available at all times for the low-income and poor sectors of society.
He also told them to prioritize the rice requirements of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), LGUs and other relief-giving institutions.