The National Food Authority has prepared supplies of rice to be given to relief agencies and local government units, in order to address the needs of various flooded areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila. Storm-enhanced monsoon rains hit the region heavily the past week, in a phenomenon locally termed “habagat”.
The intense rainfall seen over the weekend caused heavy flooding in many low-lying areas in Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Occidental Mindoro, and Oriental Mindoro. Thousands of families have been displaced and are now in evacuation centers.
In response, NFA field offices in affected areas have received instructions to be on alert status and reactivate their operations centers (OPCEN) in order to accommodate the needs of LGUs or relief agencies. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) are anticipated to need to withdraw rice from NFA supplies for their relief operations.
This directive comes from NFA Administrator Jason LY Aquino, who has also assured stakeholders that the NFA has enough stocks strategically distributed in warehouses nationwide to address disaster concerns. Calamity-prone areas and island provinces are also given special consideration.
“We have a standing memorandum of agreement with relief agencies and LGUs, so they can withdraw their rice requirements anytime during calamities and emergencies,” Aquino said in a statement on Wednesday.
So far, Region I’s NFA local offices have seen the release of 2,422 bags of rice for distribution in Western Pangasinan (with 1,455 bags going to LGU’s and Red Cross), La Union (375 bags to DSWD), Eastern Pangasinan (220 to LGU), Benguet (252 bags to a combination of LGU and DSWD), Abra (50 bags to LGU), and Ilocos Norte (30 bags to LGU).
In Region IV, the NFA has released a total of 1,799 bags to Palawan, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, and Oriental Mindoro.
In the National Capital Region, 100 bags have been issued to the GMA Foundation and 840 bags to LGUs in Rizal.
The total count of released bags of rice by August 13 was 311,114. These include the rice issued by the NFA to various LGUs and relief agencies, and those needed for DSWD’s relief operations.
Monitoring teams have also been deployed to continually assess the supply of rice and the price situation in markets, as a measure to ensure that NFA-accredited outlets maintain prices for NFA rice at the government-prescribed amounts.