Read more →
By: Julliane Love De Jesus, Louie Garcia
MANILA, Philippines – A consumer group expressed dismay Thursday with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) officials who were blaming each other over the alleged overpricing and shortage of commercial rice.
Ang Gawad Pinoy Consumers Cooperative convenor Lawyer Tonike Padilla said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and NFA administrator Orly Calayag should quit blaming each other in the alleged “monopolized” rice importation, Radyo Inquirer 990 AM reported.
Padilla said Alcala and Calayag should instead come up with a solution to end the spike in commercial rice prices resulting from the alleged “overpricing and corruption” in the importation from Vietnam.
He said it was apparent that the NFA and DA were just “cleaning their hands when they pointed to the rice millers allegedly hoarding rice supplies.”
Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the consumer group head claimed that over P450 million have been lost due to corruption in the importation of rice from Vietnam in April.
The groups insisted that the NFA, which is the primary agency handling rice imports, has done “nothing to address the problem.”
But Calayag on Wednesday said in a statement that the NFA had launched an investigating team to search for the warehouses holding commercial rice stocks.
The NFA administrator also said the team would be tasked to build up cases of hoarding against those responsible, the Inquirer reported.