By Freddie Velez
CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — The National Food Authority (NFA) started distributing cheap rice at P27 per kilo in selected authorized retail outlets in this province.
NFA Bulacan manager Elvira Obana, said that several accredited retailers have made violations in their contract to sell the subsidized rice in the market.
A rice inspection conducted in Malolos and Calumpit public markets by Obana and NFA inspectors, showed several violations committed by some accredited rice retailers.
Among them was Anatalia Valentin, president of the Malolos Grains Retailers Association who has two NFA accredited stores. One of her outlets had no NFA rice stock in its designated box and did not have the NFA tarpaulin indicating the sale of subsidized rice in the store.
Some rice dealers such as Marites Jimenez were also found to have expired grain licenses while Felix Paguiligan had posted an NFA control number in front of his store but it was registered to other individuals.
The violators were given stern warnings by Obana and were summoned to the NFA office in Malolos to explain their violations and were ordered to pay corresponding fines.
Non-renewal of licenses carries a penalty of 30 percent per month since the expiration of their licenses is based on their capitalization, Obana explained.
Meanwhile, Obana said the grains agency in Bulacan has an allocation of 100,000 sacks of 25 percent and 15 percent broken grains rice in the province until July..
The infusion of the government-subsidized rice to the local market is expected to put a halt to the spiraling prices of commercial rice that is being felt by the consumers.
Obana said the initial rice stock reached Bulacan last Friday, comprising of 3,000 sacks of 25 percent broken rice and 13,000 sacks of 15 percent broken rice. The rest of the 85,000 sacks is to be delivered as soon as good weather allows for the downloading of the rice stocks from the ships docked in Subic Bay.
In the meantime, the grains agency in Bulacan has pilot tested allocating 10 cavans per week to the accredited NFA retailers.
She said that more than 300 rice retailers were accredited by NFA in Bulacan to sell its subsidized rice, but in the meantime only 49 of them were initially allocated with 10 sacks of 25 percent broken rice to be sold to the public.
Obana added that her office initially distributed to the accredited retailers only the 25 percent broken grain to prevent unscrupulous traders from switching the 15 percent broken grain as a commercial rice, which is strictly prohibited. Violators face stiff fines and penalties.