Puerto Princesa Councilor Victor Oliveros expressed dismay with the local National Food Authority (NFA) office as thousands of sacks of rice that were distributed to the poor residents of the city were found to have mold.
Oliveros, chairman of the committee on appropriations, said that he had been receiving negative feedback from the poor residents in the city as the rice given by the city government already had mold.
He said they were considering returning to the warehouse of the NFA in Puerto Princesa City.
“Can we return the rice to the NFA? They should give the appropriate quality of rice,” Oliveros said.
Oliveros said the city government should not be blamed by the poor residents as it should be entirely the fault of the NFA, whom Oliveros said did not even want to release their stocks of rice on credit terms to the city government.
“They do not want to give rice to us if we have no actual payment, yet, there is mold on their rice. We demand they should change it,” Oliveros said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lucilo Bayron requested members of the City Council to authorize him to use the P75 million quick response fund, P220 million unutilized appropriated fund of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) and the P189 fund for 2020 of the CDRRMO to be used in procuring the rice for distribution.
Tribune sources said that Bayron, after acquiring some 7,000 sacks of rice from the NFA warehouse, began to initially distribute the sacks of rice to augment the needs of the poor residents which were 62,000 households in the 66 barangays of the city.
“When the city government was about to acquire another tranche of rice supply, the NFA officials refused to open their warehouse to release the rice because they want a complete payment,” the Tribune source said.
Oliveros had checked on how much had already spent on the budget of the calamity fund.
Corazon Abayari, head of the city treasurer’s office, said that on the appropriated budget for the QRF, Bayron had already spent P30 million.
“There is nothing (vouchers) yet that has passed in our office,” Abayari said.
Abayari said that on the trust fund, there was a remaining P387 million in the vault.
“We just withdrew P84 million from it, so we have still some P300 million remaining,” Abayari said.
Residents of Barangay San Pedro, which is the largest barangay in the downtown Puerto Princesa, have received a plastic bag containing at least five kilos of rice, two rice noodles, two cans of sardines, a can of corn beef, bath soap, and a plastic bottle of chlorox.
Bayron had also promised to give P1,500 to each household but still had not completed the distribution.