MANILA To shore up its rice inventory, MalacaAang on Monday said that the National Food Authority (NFA) may resell 1,359 metric tons of smuggled rice seized by naval forces off Zamboanga Sibugay over the weekend.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that although it was standard operating procure (SOP) to dispose off the smuggled goods, it could increase the stockpile of NFA.
Now, kung hindi nga lang po bigas iyan (if that were not only rice), that should be up for destruction, Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque pointed out that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has made it clear that he is against smuggled goods even leading the wrecking of PHP61 million smuggled imported luxury cars at the Bureau of Customs (BoC) in Manila last February.
However, he said that because the rice could be added to the NFA stockpile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) made the suggestion to resell them for a cheaper price.
Pero dahil makakain naman ng taumbayan, ang sinabi sa akin ng Department of Agriculture ay pupuwede po iyang ibenta as NFA rice, iyong cheap rice 'no para ma-increase iyong stockpile ng NFA (But because it can be consumed by our citizens, the Department of Agriculture told me that it can be sold as NFA rice, cheap rice so that its stockpile can increase), he added.
Roque, meanwhile, said that the President is scheduled to meet with the NFA and NFA Council (NFAC) on Thursday to discuss the status of the country's rice supply.
There was confusion that arose on whether Duterte will pursue his plan to abolish the NFAC or not.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Manny PiAol claimed that Duterte has ordered the abolition of NFA Council and put NFA under DA.
Roque said that the NFA and the NFA Council would not be abolished, but Duterte wanted to place the NFA under the Office of the President.
The spokesperson stressed that it was best for Duterte to clarify the matter himself.
Lilinawin kay Presidente. Kasi ang nangyari po, nagdeklara siya tapos nagkaroon ng usapan sa entablado mismo (We have to clarify it with the President. Because what happened as, when he made the declaration, there was a talk in the stage itself), Roque said in a previous radio interview. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency