The rice packs allocated by the Capitol for tourism industry workers in Loboc, which were earlier alleged to be foul-smelling, emitted the “normal” odor of the rice variant of the National Food Authority (NFA), a social services officer of the town said Thursday.
According to Loboc Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) chief Analou Luayon, NFA rice may seem to smell “off” to those not used to consuming the cheaper rice variant.
“Tinuod g’yud na naay smell. Kay kahibaw man ta na kanang NFA baho man jud na…Kung mo ingon ta og ‘baho’ normal ra siya na baho kay NFA man gud,” she said.
The same findings were brought up by rice technicians who inspected the rice along with officials from the Capitol, Municipal Health Office and Agriculture Office.
“Mao man puy giingon sa mga rice technician na normal to na baho,” she added.
Luayon said that the recipients of the rice aid may have not known that they received an NFA variant since it was repacked and placed in a blue sack.
The beneficiaries may have expected the rice to be of premium quality, Luayon added.
“Mao siguro to ang sipyat na ngano gisulod og blue na sack na dili NFA,” she said.
According to Luayon, the complaint on the odor was an issue on preference as some may have perceived the NFA rice to be foul-smelling while it may have been acceptable in terms of quality for others.
Rhea Damalerio of the Provincial SWDO had earlier noted that the rice smelled “normal” upon its delivery to Loboc in mid-October.
Both Damalerio and Luayon have assured that the rice was still safe for consumption.
The several hundreds of rice sacks still remained at the tourism complex in Loboc but these were set to be picked up by the PSWDO and will no longer be replaced.
It was found out that only 19 supposed beneficiaries of the rice aid have not received their allocation. Authorities have not been able to contact them, Luayon said.
According to Luayon, most of the remaining packs were excess supplies as the PSWDO sent 1,070 sacks of rice but Loboc has only 600 registered displaced tourism workers.
On November 23, Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan alleged that some of the rice packs delivered by the PSWDO to the town had started to emit foul odor.
Some of the rice aid’s supposed beneficiaries no longer claimed these due to the bad smell.
Meanwhile, Gov. Art Yap said that the rice relief aid from the Capitol was delivered to the Loboc local government unit (LGU) on October 16, 2020 and should have already been distributed to the beneficiaries.
He said that the prolonged storage may have caused the rice to spoil.
The distribution of rice in Loboc was part of the provincial government’s assistance to the thousands of workers in the tourism industry across the province who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The Capitol allocated P8.9 million for the program and purchased the rice through the NFA. (A. Dodyora)