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september 5.2011_House to probe “systematic” corruption in NFA

september 5.2011_House to probe “systematic” corruption in NFA

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Published by: pribhor2 on Sep 07, 2011
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5, 2011

NR # 2517

House to probe “systematic” corruption in NFA
A lawmaker has called for a full-blown investigation on the reported massive and systematic corruption in the National Food Authority (NFA), which allegedly serves as “trade facilitator” and “importer” to the detriment of the Filipino farmers and consumers. In filing House Resolution 1396, Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) also urged the House Committee on Food Security to come up with urgent countermeasures to address the alleged anomalies at the NFA. Castelo pushed for the no nonsense probe as he cited reports that NFA’s Inter Agency Council projects a higher rice deficit so that those involved in the import transactions get a high share from every metric ton of overpriced rice. Castelo also said that there are allegations that certain banks that lent more money to NFA to finance higher volume of importation benefit greatly in the process and some quarters unduly benefit each time the Philippine government offers a tender for 1.5 metric tons of rice as in the case of the May 2008 rice importation. “It behooves upon the NFA to align with the government’s current thrusts to expand or simply lay the social ground for the poor to benefit from subsidized rice and of such desired quality,” Castelo said. According to Castelo, it is the responsibility of the NFA to provide better access to affordable and quality rice to the poor through a sound system of stocking, inventory, and mitigation of wastage for its ideal or prescribed buffer stock in rice. The NFA, Castelo added, ought to be knowledgeable as it should likewise be accountable in making an accurate estimate of the rice import requirements at every start of the year insuring that no anomalies whatsoever are attendant to its transactions. “It is unconscionable to know that thousand of bags of rice in NFA warehouses rot, that there is utter lack of transparency, and that NFA has transformed (itself) as a trade facilitator and importer to the extent that it incurs huge costs for government while traders and financial institutions benefit,” Castelo said. Late last year, a report said tons of imported rice were rotting in several warehouses across the country due to an oversupply. (30) sb

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