By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Francis Pangilinan expressed concern on Friday on whether the weevil (bukbuk)-ridden 330,000 bags of rice imported and fumigated by the National Food Authority (NFA) is safe for human consumption.
This, among others, sits on a pile of questions the nation wanted answered by the NFA following the existence of a calamity-level rice supply situation in Zamboanga, Pangilinan said.
‘’The NFA cited inclement weather as the reason for the infestation. Is it another issue of lack of planning? Or did the imported rice arrive already infested? If the rice arrived in June, what are the reasons for the delay in unloading?’’ he asked.
‘’Even as we reiterate our call for the NFA administration to resign, we also want to know: Who is in charge? Who will be held accountable for these continuing crises?’’ he added.
Pangilinan is president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP). He was the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization during the latter part of the Aquino administration.
‘’Like the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team in yesterday’s win against Hong Kong, we will be as relentless in getting to the bottom of the issues surrounding our rice supply,’’ he said.
‘’It is important to be hyper-vigilant about our rice supply now, more than ever, as we enter our lean months. Back in February, the government assured us that we have enough rice supply and that the imported rice that was to arrive in June will be used as buffer stock. Over the past several months, many have challenged this claim. We are yet to regain our confidence with the government’s ability to feed its people,’’ he stressed.