AUGUST 23, 2018- RICE CRISIS IN ZAMBOANGA CITY : CITY NOW UNDER STATE OF CALAMITY-NFA ASKED TO PROBE SITUATION
GETTING SCARCE – A vendor in Paco Market in Manila checks her rice supply. The NFA blamed the current rice shortage on bad weather but other officials suspect price manipulation. (Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Zamboanga City has been placed under state of calamity due to rice shortage triggered by unabated increase in prices of commercial rice sold in public markets. Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said the measure will help the city government address the rice shortage and will help mitigate the unabated price increase of basic staple. The price of commercial rice sold at the main public market here is now as high as P68 per kilo and a low of P55 per kilo, a price that many poor people here are now passing difficulty in buying for a kilo of rice for their meal. The city government is also contemplating on imposing a P45 per kilo price ceiling on commercial ricefor three months. It also plans to ask National Food Authority (NFA) to augment the supply of rice in Zamboanga City. NFA Assistant Director Ruben Manatad revealed that the agency only has 40,000 bags of government rice inside its warehouse in the city – a supply that can only last for one week based on a daily consumption of 6,400 sacks a day. With the rice crisis, Zamboanga City 1st District Rep CelsoLobregat is pushingtoinstitutionalize the food security program of the city. He noted that the local production of rice cannot meet the demand of the growing population in Zamboanga City and has to source rice supply outside the city.