By LITO RULONA
Cagayan de Oro City Price Control Council (CPCC) led by Councilor George Goking, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Trade, Commerce and Industry is set to track down wholesalers reportedly reselling re-packed rice coming from the National Food Authority and mixed it to commercial rice in the market.
Goking on Monday told reporters that they are now coordinating with the National Food Authority – 10 (NFA-10), Department of Trade and Industry – 10 (DTI-10) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regional office – 10 to conduct tracking down of some alleged anomalies involving the allocation and distribution of National Food Authority (NFA) rice supply.
“We have enough rice according to NFA but usa lang ang problema nga migawas tungod kay daghan re-packed rice nga gikan sa NFA unya reportedly gina-mixed karon sa commercial rice and was sold in the market,” he said.
He said illegal re-packing of NFA rice and sold in the market is already considered as major issues and filing of appropriate charges should be imposed against unscrupulous rice traders.
Goking said initial reports they received is that those NFA rice sold from their bodegas and outlets in the market were being bought individually by unscrupulous rice traders and was reportedly mixed with commercial rice that was bought in the farmlands.
“Gikan sa P27 pesos ibutang sa lain nga brand unya gibaligya na dayun to more than P50 in the market. So we will be setting-up local legislative ordinance penalizing those unscrupulous rice traders and individuals on the re-selling of NFA rice,” he added.
He said there were two ways of re-packing made by NFA, one is for the distribution as calamity aide and the other one is being retailed by NFA bodegas and market outlets in the city.
“CDO is lucky enough because we were given enough supply of rice as augmentation products but was reportedly prone to some abuses,” he pointed out.
NFA -10 Hazel Belacho said that they were surprised upon learning on the so called “re-packed issues” considering that they were the one who distributed rice supply not only in the market but also including hinterland barangay areas.
“Kami raba gyd dayun ang madudahan. We welcome the investigation conducted so that all concerning issues would answer directly. One of the concerning issues is the price tag and we have already requested GRECON to work on it,” she said.
She said they can no longer monitor after selling of NFA rice through NFA-Bigasan and rolling store to the market because they were undermanned.
Belacho said the NFA-10 employees lamented the unfair publicity as coming out in mainstream media, that the rice situation now is due to the agency’s failure to address promptly the impending problem of a rice crisis.
She said they implored that NFA should be judged by the factual chronology of events that led to this current situation, appealing for fairness and sobriety about the whole issue, adding, “Abolition of the office will lead to more serious problem for our country. Food security is national security, situation may get worse if NFA is prevented from performing its functions”.