Cebu City – Amidst the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Cebu, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino assures the public that there is enough rice supply in the entire Central Visayas region.
This is to ease panic buying based on rumors that Cebu is suffering from rice shortage.
Grains Retailers Confederation (GRECON) Cebu President Teresita “Nene” Alegado said that there is an abundant supply of rice from the private suppliers since they are no longer under the quota formerly imposed by the government.
Under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, any supplier who is willing to pay the tariff can import rice.
“Dili lang gyud ta mahadlok no, kay first and foremost si Governor Gwen (nagkanayon nga) ang supply walay problema ang entry, so as long as wala ta’y problema sa entry sa supply, naa ta’y kakuhaan gyud nga supply,” said Alegado.
She added that the current supply of rice is more than double compared to what it was from the same period last year.
“Continuous man ta, kaning mga importers considering nga mao ning sitwasyon, mo-order na pud na sila, di sila maghuwat mahurot na.”
Alegado revealed that rice coming in Cebu comes from Vietnam and Thailand.
“Ato bayang market karon dili mamalit og baratuhong bugas, mangita gyud’s mahalon, mas maayo among retailing sa mahal og presyo, kanang 5% (broken) kaysa adto ordinary rice,” Alegado explained.
She also asked the public to refrain from spreading the news of rice shortage because there is ample supply.
National Food Authority (NFA) Central Visayas currently has a buffer stock of 139,939 sacks of rice for the region.
NFA 7 regional director Rocky Valdez said that the daily consumption of the region is at 36,420 sacks per day.
But basing on the current supply of NFA 7, and with the daily average sales of the NFA rice which is at 1,849 sacks, Valdez said that it will still be enough for 76 days.
Valdez also instructed all his provincial offices in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, and Negros Oriental to prioritize LGUs, DSWD, and government agencies in availing of NFA rice.
He added that authorized retailers are only allowed to purchase 15 to 30 sacks of NFA rice per week.
The director also revealed that majority of the public opts to buy high end and expensive quality of rice. NFA rice is priced at P27/kilo.
Sec. Dino also warned all retailers not to take advantage of the current situation, as he will make sure all available sanctions will be imposed upon violators.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has imposed a price freeze for all basic goods stating that violators will face fines from P5,000 to P1 million, and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years. /PR