By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – City Mayor Joseph Evangelista has acknowledged that there were bags of rice distributed as food aid that were considered of poor quality because of rough texture and foul smell.
He explained that the city government had purchased last week at least 5,000 bags of rice, many of which came from the National Food Authority (NFA), for its first phase of food aid to 43,000 poor households.
“Nalusutan tayo. Remember, ang binili natin ay 5,000 bags of rice. Sa sobrang dami ng ni-repack, nakaligtaang tingnan ang quality ng bigas na ipinamahagi,” said Evangelista.
Evangelista has tasked a number of LGU employees to do the repacking of goods for at least 43,000 poor households as relief aid while the city is under modified community quarantine.
In his privilege speech he delivered during special session of the city council on Monday, City councilor Carlo Agamon said that he had the food packs checked, and found that, indeed, the rice that was distributed was of poor quality.
“The complaint highlighted on the alleged poor quality of rice. It had an ‘offensive’ odor, brownish in color, and was ‘broken’. They also found ‘bukbok’ or weevils and some stone-grits mixed on it,” Agamon said.
The residents that received such kilos of rice with poor quality were from Barangay Paco, the councilor added.
Agamon said he went to Barangay Paco to confirm the complaint.
“In layman’s eyes, di gyud ka malipay sa klase sa bugas. I saw ‘bukbuk’ and stone grits. It was already adulterated,” he explained.
Agamon expressed his frustration knowing that council members had unanimously approved the release of P15.5 million for food aid.
On Thursday, the council also granted Evangelista authority to use P29.1 million from the Economic Development Fund (EDF) as additional relief aid.
Yet, there were only few households that received the food ration, he said.
“I requested during our regular session last Thursday that all households should receive the food aid as everyone has been placed under strict home quarantine. But from the looks of it, only few were given the aid,” he stressed.
For his part, City Vice-Mayor Jivy Roe ‘Jiv-Jiv’ Bombeo said that they intend to make those responsible persons for the foul food aid accountable.
“They must be held accountable and I, together with the rest of the council will never rest to ensure that this incident will not happen again,” said Bombeo.
Evangelista, in an interview, said that he has already assured residents that the next food ration would include good quality of rice.
Under the program, a poor household in the city is set to receive six kilos of rice, five cans of sardines, one whole frozen dressed chicken, and vegetables.