National Food Authority (NFA) Provincial Manager Peng Evasco said all the rice supplied for the HEAT IT Caravan in Loon were good contrary to some claims that there were recipients who got rice infested with weevils (bukbok).
Volunteer groups that repacked several hundreds of bags of cheap government rice before these were distributed in the caravan on Thursday said the rice was all indeed of good quality.
Still, Gov. Edgar Chatto ordered an immediate inquiry on the bukbok rice issue as soon as it came out on the social media.
He directed Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Carmelita Tecson and Provincial Legal Officer John Mitchel Boiser to investigate.
Chatto asked the NFA chief to shed light on the issue.
In a DYRD interview, Evasco asserted that the NFA stocks bought by the provincial government and municipality of Loon for the service caravan were new and good.
The governor still directed the PSWDO to ensure that if indeed there were food relief packs containing bukbok rice being distributed regardless of source, the same must be replaced.
Many service caravan recipients were openly thankful, though, for receiving good quality NFA rice.
Government and volunteer caravan workers said they do not care if the known rabid critics intensified their “malicious shame campaign” against capitol and the province’s development team of Chatto.
They said these “notorious, harsh detractors have not been helping the province anyway.”
THE WEEVIL EXPERIENCE
Meanwhile, in a video uploaded on facebook, Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol demonstrated in Luzon how to prepare and cook weevil-infested. He ate the cooked rice with galunggong (round scad).
Specifically, in the Bicol region, a shipload of lately imported NFA rice had been found out being weevil-affected but later said to be already safe for human consumption after the huge stock was fumigated.
The delayed importation of cheap rice amid inflation that saw commercial rice prices rising had been said to be one of the causes why Pres. Rodrigo Duterte abolished the NFA Council.
The council then under Cabsec Leoncio Evasco was incompetent, which angered the president, according to national media reports.
Netizens noted that the social media accounts attacking or negating the service caravan activities in Loon allegedly belong to the group of Evasco (the Cabsec, not the Evasco who manages NFA-Bohol.)
The group even ridiculed on social media the free haircut services during the caravan.
NFA HEAD CORRECTS
In a DYRD interview Thursday night, Evasco, the NFA-Bohol head, “corrected” to confirm that the rice distributed in the caravan in Loon on the same day were all of “good quality.”
She said the province bought and withdrew 1,040 bags of NFA rice just a day before the caravan, for which activity the LGU of Loon also purchased 115 bags.
“The quality of the rice is the same as those of the stocks distributed to all our accredited outlets” province-wide, Evasco said.
The NFA provincial chief further said that the rice distributed in Loon were of “Thailand variety, a new stock, and had no weevil infestation.”
Mediaman Jun Gutierrez, also head of the Bayan Bantay sa Kalinaw ug Kalikopan, said he and his members could attest to the “good quality” of the NFA rice which they repacked for the caravan.
Esterlita Galon, secretary of the Bantay Bayan Crime Watch, Tagbilaran City Chapter, asserted the same. She is also an army reservist corporal.
Both their groups were among the volunteers who repacked the over a thousand bags of NFA rice for distribution to Loon constituents. ( with reports from Ven rebo Arigo)