The bags of rice turned over by the provincial government to the Loboc Municipal Hall were in “good condition” when these were delivered over a month ago, a Capitol social services official said on Tuesday in response to allegations from the recipient town’s mayor that the relief aid emitted foul odor.
According to Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO) Carmelita Tecson, her office did the repacking of the rice which were allocated for displaced workers in the tourism industry and they had not noticed any off-smelling odor.
“Natinga ta og nanimaho pero maayo g’yud ang kondisyon adto sa paghatod kay October 16, 2020 ga distribute mi didto sa LGU Loboc tourism complex,” she said.
The Loboc government did not raise any complaint on the rice’s odor or quality upon delivery, she added.
“Karon na mi nasayod, after a month and seven days, mao natinga mi nga maayo man to pag distribute,” she said.
The distribution of rice in Loboc was part of the provincial government’s assistance to the thousands of workers in the tourism industry who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The Capitol allocated P8.9 million for the program and purchased the rice through the National Food Authority.
On Monday, Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan told the media that he received complaints regarding the odor of the town’s allocation of the rice subsidy and confirmed that this was true upon checking.
Calipusan said that the PSWDO should have checked the quality of the rice supplies first before sending these to local government units (LGU).
“Wa na kunoy mo kuha kay baho man lagi kuno,” he said.
He however noted that 700 packs have already been distributed while the remaining 300 with the LGU were the ones that were foul-smelling. He said that he has also yet to check with those who have already received the rice aid if their allocations also smelled.
The town chief executive asked for the PSWDO to either replace or pull out the undistributed rice packs.
According to Tecson, they will “try” to replace the remaining stocks if these are confirmed to really be foul-smelling.
“Among paninkamutan na mailisan na kung tinuod na baho kay wa pa man pud mi kita,” she said.
Tecson said that it is the LGUs responsibility to distribute the rice considering that they were the ones who came up with the list of beneficiaries.
The rice aid should have been immediately distributed and these may have not been properly stored causing the quality deterioration,” she added. (A. Doydora)