Philippines’ National Food Authority (NFA) said it will make sure that there is enough rice in Marawi City, a conflict area in Mindanao wherein gun battles between the government and extremist groups are in progress. “We assure all residents of Marawi and the rest of Mindanao that we have enough rice in NFA warehouses in the area. We are ready to issue rice to relief-giving agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and local government units anytime they would need it to distribute to the affected residents,” NFA administrator Jason Laureano Aquino said in a statement. “We have instructed our field personnel to be ready to respond to any need for rice stocks for the victims,” Aquino further said. “Our warehouse in Marawi has been padlocked with reinforced security personnel inside to guard the stocks. We also have enough personnel to release them when needed, and we have coordinated with the local police and military for the safety of our stocks and personnel,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao due to the fighting in Marawi. A data showed that the government’s rice stocks for the entire Mindanao, which has been placed under Martial Law, currently stands at 1.5 million bags. NFA said it is now ready to add to the buffer stocks in Mindanao to effectively meet the residents’ rice requirements during the 60-day implementation of Martial Law in the area. “We shall continue to augment and replenish our rice stocks in Mindanao to ensure that we can meet any need for the staple food during the duration of this man-made calamity,” Aquino concluded.