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House probe sought on importation of rice bags with ‘bukbok’

Progressive lawmakers from the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the importation of 330,000 sacks of rice found infested with rice weevils or "bukbok."

In House Resolution 2107, the seven-member Makabayan Bloc directed the Committee on Agriculture and Food to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation into the incident.

The rice bags infested with "bukbok" were discovered at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

National Food Authority spokesperson Rex Estoperez explained that the rice weevils emerged due to the warm temperature in warehouses where the sacks of rice are stored.

An infestation of "bukbok" results in rice clumps and crushed grains.

The Bureau of Plant Industry, meanwhile, said the weevils were possibly caused by improper fumigation.

With this incident, the NFA fumigated the infested rice stock and announced a 12-day quarantine.

But Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said there is nothing wrong with eating rice infested with "bukbok," as it only needed to be washed.

"It is of the people's interest to know how much taxpayer's money were spent for the infested rice, of public health on how much chemicals were used in fumigation, the determination of the end quality of the infested stock, and NFA's plan of the infested stock," the resolution said as reasons for the investigation.

Several lawmakers have also already called for the resignation of NFA administrator Jason Aquino over rice issues. — BM, GMA News