NFA: Only best quality rice for calamity victims

MANILA-- The National Food Authority (NFA) on Monday reiterated that, as a matter of policy, the agency issues only the best quality rice for calamity victims.

The food agency issued this clarification in view of news reports that some evacuees from Marawi City experienced stomach pain after eating what they claim as spoiled rice included in the relief goods distributed to them in Iligan City.

The NFA is an advocate of food safety as well as good warehouse-keeping practices. It will never issue spoiled rice to calamity victims because I have this standing instruction among all our field offices to issue only the best quality rice for relief operations, NFA administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino said.

Aquino immediately ordered the NFA regional director in Region 10, or Northern Mindanao, to conduct an initial investigation on the matter. He also formed a team from the agency's Central Office to go to Lanao Del Norte to look into this report.

The team is composed of key personnel from the NFA's Technical Research and Services Department (TRSD), Security Services and Investigation Department (SSID) and Internal Audit Services Department (IASD).

The NFA investigation team has been instructed to find out if it was indeed NFA rice that caused health problems among the alleged victims, or whether they ingested other food, even water, together with the NFA rice that may have caused the illness, Aquino explained.

He also assured that there is enough rice in the areas affected by the Marawi conflict. At present, the NFA has a total of 56,836 bags of rice in Lanao De Norte and 226,400 bags in the whole of Region 10.

Source: Philippines News Agency