Philippines’ National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino has instructed his field officials to issue only the best quality NFA rice for emergency and calamity relief operations. He also reminded all NFA offices nationwide to ensure that they have already signed memoranda of agreement (MOA) with local government units (LGUs) for the immediate release of rice during emergencies. Mr. Aquino assured, “While the NFA ensures that all its rice stocks are well-maintained and of good quality, we want to give emphasis on giving only the best of what we have for the victims of calamities or emergencies. It’s our way of making them feel better at an unfortunate time in their lives.”
Under the MOA, partner LGUs may withdraw the rice on credit on or before the onset of an emergency or calamity for the speedy disbursement.
The victims of typhoons, the El Nino dry spell and flooding incidents across the country were provided a total of 895,527 bags of rice for relief operations in 2016 by the NFA. All NFA offices nationwide, as a part of its disaster preparedness program, operated a 24-hour Operation Center (OPCEN) to monitor the situation on the ground and to ensure quick response to any need for rice for relief operations. All NFA regional directors were instructed to ensure the presence of good quality NFA rice, in all public markets, readily available for the low-income and poor sections of society. He also told them to prioritize the rice requirements of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), LGUs and other relief-giving institutions.