House Appropriations Committee Chairperson Rep. Karlo “Ang Probinsyano” Nograles urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to focus on the entry of Typhoon Ompong and ensure the propositioning of rice stocks in areas in the path of the storm that entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday afternoon.
“I know the President’s recent announcement regarding the relief of NFA Administrator Jason Aquino may cause some uncertainty and could be a distraction for the agency,” said Nograles.
“But the threat posed by this storm requires everyone of us in government to really focus on helping our countrymen cope with the effects of this typhoon,” stressed the solon from Davao.
According to PAGASA, Typhoon Ompong is expected to reach a peak intensity of around 220-270 kph, a range that means that it is likely to reach the super typhoon category.
The bureau said that Luzon will most likely bear the brunt of the effects of the typhoon, with Metro Manila expected to experience heavy rains.
The legislator from Mindanao said that it was imperative that the NFA preposition rice stocks in warehouses in or around areas most likely to suffer the most from the storm, as damage to roads and flooding could make these inaccessible and prone to food shortages.
“What we want to prevent is the kind of food and rice shortages that occur when whole areas become inaccessible because roads are impassable. The NFA has had experience in dealing with these kinds of emergencies before, and I hope they apply it in the coming days so that our kapwa probinsyano will not go hungry because of this potential natural calamity.”
The NFA has assured the public that it has a ready supply of rice for emergencies and relief operations. The grains agency revealed that it has at least 750,000 bags in its different warehouses in Luzon, and a total of 2.2 million bags in warehouses in the whole country. An estimated 4.1 million bags of imported rice are also being unloaded in different ports.
“What we want to prevent is the kind of food and rice shortages that occur when whole areas become inaccessible because roads are impassable.”