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NFA, DWSD start accepting access cards for NFA rice

Posted by Abi Kwok on September 1, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 12:42:00 09/01/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) has begun accepting family access cards from the “poorest of the poor” to purchase cheap, government subsidized rice for P18.25 a kilo, an official said on Monday.

In a phone interview, Pacita Sarino, DSWD officer-in-charge and assistant to the director, said the more than 260,000 beneficiaries have been given family access cards and could now purchase NFA rice for P18.25 a kilo.

In a separate interview, spokesman Rex Estoperez also clarified reports that the agency conducted a one-time pull-out of NFA rice this Monday to concentrate distribution to accredited NFA stores across the National Capital Region (NCR). Rather, he said that the agency has pulled out the P18.25 NFA rice in the past.

“Matagal na yung wala sa market yung P18.25 [The P18.25 has been long gone from the market],” he said.

The NFA currently sells three kinds of rice: NFA rice for P18.25 a kilo, NFA commercial rice for P25 a kilo, and premium NFA rice for P30 a kilo. Both the NFA commercial and premium rice can be bought by everyone.

Estoperez said that the government subsidy and the decreasing prices of commercial rice in the market brought by increased harvest would be beneficial to consumers.

“Ang laki na ng subsidy, bumaba na rin yung presyo ng [The subsidy is big and there is a already a reduction in the price of] commercial rice so it will be better to refocus [NFA rice] to the poorest of poor and the intended beneficiaries,” he added.

Consumers with family access cards can purchase NFA rice to accredited NFA stores in their respective villages. The local government is in charge of the distribution and monitoring, Sarino said.

There are more than 1,500 NFA stores selling cheap NFA rice across the region, Estoperez said.

“In partnership with the NFA, we have to ensure na walang P18.25 na binebenta sa mga [that there are no P18.25s being sold in the] market,” Sarino said.

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