MAKABAYAN, ANAKPAWIS FILE HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2107 ON NFA IMPORTED “BUKBOK” RICE, DELAYED DISTRIBUTION AND FUMIGATION

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2107 ON NFA IMPORTED "BUKBOK" RICE, DELAYED DISTRIBUTION AND FUMIGATION

Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS

Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2107

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INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES

ARIEL B. CASILAO,

CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, EMMI A. DE JESUS, ANTONIO L. TINIO,

ARLENE D. BROSAS, FRANCE L. CASTRO, AND SARAH JANE I. ELAGO

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RESOLUTION

DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FOOD

TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION,

ON THE ISSUE OF NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY’S IMPORTATION OF 330,000 BAGS OF RICE INFESTED WITH RICE WEEVIL (“BUKBOK”) THAT LANDED ON THE SUBIC BAY FREEPORT AND TABACO CITY PORT, ALBAY, ITS DELAYED DISTRIBUTION AND SUPPLEMENTARY OPERATION OF FUMIGATION

WHEREAS, on August 22, 2018, it was reported that the 130,000-bag shipment of rice imported by the National Food Authority (NFA) from Thailand, that arrived on Subic Bay Freeport on August 2, was infested with rice weevils or “bukbok.” Weeks later, the 200,000 bags of imported rice set to be unloaded in Tabaco City, Albay province, were also discovered to be infested with rice weevils;

WHEREAS, the imported rice at Subic Bay Freeport landed on August 2 but its unloading was delayed for a week, due to heavy rains, according to NFA officials, while the arrival of the shipment in Albay was not explicitly pronounced but the discovery of the infestation was reported on August 21. The next shipment of 160,000 bag is expected to arrive in Subic Bay Freeport around end of August, as completion of the contracted 500,000 bags or 250,000 metric tons;

WHEREAS, as counter-measure, the NFA fumigated the infested rice stock and pronounced a 12-day quarantine, expected to be finished around end of August or early September;

WHEREAS, upon pronouncement, people’s organizations such as Bantay Bigas rice watch group, Amihan peasant women federation, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) led by former Anakpawis Party-list Representative and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano and Pamalakaya-Pilipinas fisherfolk group led by former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, have denounced the issue and blamed it on the continuing reliance of the NFA to importation, instead of fulfilling its mandate to procure local palay from Filipino farmers;

WHEREAS, the groups asserted the infestation was brought about by long delay of its unloading, as it usually occurs when rice is stocked for a long period of time, the carrying out of fumigation is a threat to public health, and the quality of rice is already downgraded, as rice kernel on where the rice weevil incubates its offspring and serve as food, naturally crumbles and becomes powdery;

WHEREAS, it is of the people’s interest to know how much taxpayers’ money were spent for the infested rice, of public health on how much chemicals were used in fumigation, the determination of the end quality of the infested stock, and NFA’s plan of the infested stock, such as would it still be retailed by the NFA at the price of P27 or P32 per kilogram;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Agriculture and Food, to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the issue of NFA’s importation of 330,000 bags of rice infested with “bukbok” in Subic Bay Freeport and Tabaco City Port, Albay, its delayed distribution and supplementary operation of fumigation.

Adopted,

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