Filtered By: Topstories

House to probe 'improper' sale of NFA rice stocks

The House Committee on Agriculture and Food is set to conduct on Thursday an investigation into the alleged improper sale of rice stocks of the National Food Authority (NFA) to certain rice traders.

The investigation in aid of legislation comes after the committee’s chairperson, Quezon Representative Mark Enverga, and  ABONO party-list Representative Robert Raymund Estrella filed House Resolution 1611 on February 27, 2024.

The two lawmakers said an estimated 75,000 bags of “aging and deteriorating” rice that were sold to rice traders were later found to be fit for human consumption.

Enverga and Estrella mentioned in their resolution that the sale was done “without proper bidding and notices where the buyers were pre-selected, bereft of proper authorization from the NFA Council, [and] violates the rules and guidelines on the proper disposition of NFA stocks.”

They also said that “the selected rice traders who bought the said stocks at a price much lower than the prevailing price of P1,250 per bag, have allegedly re-bagged said stocks and sold the same at very much higher prices.”

The inquiry will look into the possible liabilities of those involved in the transaction and 
review existing policies and laws.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. announced the suspension of 139 NFA officials and employees by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged irregular sale.

Laurel, who will temporarily take over the NFA, earlier established a panel to look into allegations that certain officials authorized the sale of milled rice stored in the agency’s warehouse for P25 a kilogram without bidding, and after purchasing the grains in palay (unmilled rice) form at P23 per kilogram.

In the Senate, Senator Imee Marcos has already filed a resolution seeking probe on the same issue. —KBK, GMA Integrated News