A QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF THE NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY, REGIONAL OFFICE I, SAN JUAN, LA UNION August 2013
NFA’s “middle price rice” cautioned spike in rice prices San Juan, La Union – The National Food Authority’s distribution and sell of “middle price rice” helped in keeping the price of rice stable in the markets. Dir. Carlito G. Co said that the said “middle price rice” was approved by the NFA Council to be sold to caution any escalation in the prices of the commodity in the market which usually occurs during the lean month season from JulySeptember and to give the consumers good quality of rice at affordable price. During the lean months, he said, it is expected that there is movement in the price of the commodity as farmers has yet to start their harvest. He however added that the availability of the said rice is initially confined in the cities of Manila, Cebu, Davao and Baguio. Dir. Co said that the “middle price rice” is being sold at P32.00 per kilogram and has the same quality as that of the well-milled commercial rice which are being sold at P34.00P36.00 per kilogram. “With the sale of our “middle price rice”, we are giving the consumers a choice of a low-cost well-milled rice which is at par in terms of quality to those expensive commercial rice with the same quality”, he added. Co, however, was quick to debunk reports of hiking rice prices in the region adding that the NFA’s Palengke Watch Team has been reactivated to monitor the supply of rice in the market and the availability of the low-cost NFA rice to the public. The Regional Director
said that as of this date prices of rice in the market remained stable. Dir. Co also clarified that the NFA still sells the P27.00 per kilogram regular milled NFA rice and the P28.00 per kilogram well milled rice in the markets. “As I have said, the P32.00 per kilogram variety is being sold only in selected areas. Here in our region, it is only available in Baguio City. Its sale also does not mean that our cheaper regular milled rice sold at P27.00 per kilogram and our well-milled rice of P28.00 per kilogram is no longer available. These are still being sold in the market, we are just giving the public a wider choice in buying their supply of rice”, the Director explained.
Meanwhile, Dir. Co said that the availability of the P32.00 per kilogram rice in the Baguio City market has helped stabilized the prices of commercial rice in the city. “Before the release of the NFA “middle price rice”, grains businessmen are projecting that price of commercial rice will have an upward trend and might go as high as P1,850.00 per 50 kilogram bag or higher. We started releasing the “middle price rice” mid-July and we are glad that with its release, it was noted that there were no further increases in the prices of commercial rice. The middle price rice “softened” the prices of commercial rice in the area”, he said.
The NFA Palengke Watch Team headed by Regional Supvg. Enforcement and Investigation Officer Manuel C. Calaowa inspects various markets in La Union to ensure that there is enough supply of rice and price stability of rice in the market.
EDITORIAL NFA Management
Disaster and the Lean Months They come hand in hand—disaster and the lean months—as if conspiring to make life difficult to the population. Disaster by striking at the most unopportune time, when it is least expected, and lean months when production is at its low. Disasters come in the form of calamities that usually ushers in the rainy season. It is a frivolous occurrence that we least expect but bravely face when it hits us. Time and again, we are told to be prepared yet when typhoons come, our preparedness is overcome by our fear of the unleashed power of the weather disturbance. More than the effects or aftereffects of the disaster or calamity, what it brings to us is a dilemma of where to go and what would happen to us thereafter. The fear of depleting supplies of basic commodities and the dwindling relief operations as the flood waters subside. But mostly, we get the shock of our lives when commodities prices skyrocket to unmanageable levels. This is when the so called lean months comes in. Armed with high demands of commodities because more and more of the affected families are in need, and the dwindling supply of agricultural products destroyed by the calamity, the purchasing power of the peso tumbles. Worst, there is no peso to be spent which give rise to the phrase, “gawat pati bulsa” (hardship even with the pocket). Lean months is characterized by rise in the prices of the basic commodities triggered by the imbalance of supply and
demand of the most basic commodities in the market. It is a temporary difficulty felt by the population as farmers are still tending their farms in time for the harvest season but made more difficult at times by the unannounced weather disturbances. Disaster and lean months aside, the government is always prepared. That is the reason there is the disaster preparedness plan of every institution in the government. It is the reason why the National Food Authority (NFA) builds up its buffer stocks during the harvest season. As early as the last quarter of each calendar year, the NFA starts building its buffer stocks through its procurement of our farmers harvest during the main cropping season. This is spilled over until the summer when the agency buys from farmers their produce from the summer cropping season. Year in and year out, the food agency has to be prepared. When disaster strikes, food is primary to the survival of the population. It has to be made available readily to give relief to the crumbling stomachs of the victims of calamities. With its buffer stocking activities, the NFA sees to it that rice is adequate, accessible and affordable to the population.
CARLITO G.CO Regional Manager II ENGR. MA. ELVIRA M. MARTINEZ Asst. Regional Manager Provincial Managers ALEXANDER C. GALVEZ Abra CECILIA A. CONCUBIERTA Benguet BEVERLYN P. PERALTA, PhD Ilocos Norte ENGR. FORTUNATO B. BULAO Ilocos Sur NICANOR S. ROSARIO, CPA La Union ENGR. RAMON B. CUARESMA Eastern Pangasinan ROLANDO S. RUFO Western Pangasinan EDITORIAL STAFF CARLITO G. CO ENGR. MA. ELVIRA M. MARTINEZ Editorial Consultants Frederick B. Dulay Editor Nelly B. Ramos Jennifer C. Paraton Diana Marie G. Agustin Elizabeth T. Kai Annabelle Coloma Mil Joy Melendez Chona DG Maramba Contributors
Time and again, disaster and the lean months would come by to us, like a thief in the night that strikes when least expected. But experience of years past has made us prepared of any eventualities that would challenge our resolve to give the population the most basic food staple which is rice. As long as we are forthright in our mission and continue to work hard to maintain a safe buffer stock for the population, no amount of rain, disaster, calamity or lean months could stop us from providing our people their rice staple.
My first two months in the region was marked by my visit to the provinces under our jurisdiction to meet with employees and to inspect facilities. In between, I’ve got to also meet some of our stakeholders which are our ardent partners in the achievement of our goals. It is very important for me to touch DIbase with our people and to look personally at how our opCARLITO G. CO, Regional Director erations in the field is doing, to know what needs to be done “Each one of us has a and where emphasis should be role to do to achieve given. I have already given my instructions to the concerned our goal” Sections and provinces on the areas that needs improvement. want them to come to sell to us but because they are the very As September comes to our people that we ought to serve. fold, the more important work that we face is the coming of As I have mentioned, we enthe procurement season. For ter the procurement season the information of everybody, with a daunting task of procurwe are primed to procure ing 1.4 million bags of palay. I around 1.4 million bags of am pretty sure that there is palay from our farmers for this wariness in everybody’s mind main cropping season. A about achieving it, especially daunting task I might say, but I that the region has been batam confident that we could tered by Typhoon Labuyo and achieve it if we give all our best the “habagat”. Nonetheless, to attain this. there was no reported heavy This early, we are in thick preparations to make sure that we could cover all aspects of the procurement. The logistics, manpower and especially the financial aspect of our procurement program, are being put in place to ensure that the program or activity will go smoothly. We put premium on our farmers, who should be our foremost beneficiaries in our procurement. We could not build up our buffer stocks without the farmers. So we must serve them with utmost courtesy and promptness not because we
damage on crops in the provinces, hence, we have every reason to be upbeat. While procurement is mainly an activity of our men and women in the field, I urge everybody to be proactive about it. Each one of us have a role to do to achieve our goal. Suffice it to say that a team works better and achieves more than an individual. It is also the same with us, if we work together, if we talk the same language and if we walk the talk, there is no way that we can not achieve our target. This is a team effort. The achievement of one should be an achieve
ment for everybody but of course we give credit where credit is due. We have been here for the longest time, that failure is not written in our vocabulary. We are trained to be at our best even at the worst of times. I am banking at our resilience to reach our target and make our region one of the best. We have to remember that we have to be self-reliant with our own production to build our buffer stocks and serve the needs of the region. I have confidence in your procurement plans because you are the ones who know very well of the behavior of your respective areas. Do not hesitate to become aggressive but make sure that both the agency and our stakeholders, especially the farmers are equally benefited. No one should be short-handed. Everybody should be included. In a few days time, we are also to celebrate our 41st Year Anniversary as an Agency. Like everybody else, I am also upbeat about this celebration not only because it is my first time to celebrate it with you but because there are more reasons now that we have to celebrate. Who knows what the future might bring us? Talks about the change in the landscape of the Agency continues but we are pretty sure that all of this will be geared towards the betterment of our Agency. We continue to be at the forefront in providing the most basic needs of our people as we continue also to be a partner of our farmers in making their lives better.
ACROSS THE REGION
Ilocos Norte joins 39th Nutrition Month Celebration by: Diana Marie G. Agustin
Spearheaded by the Provincial Nutrition Action Council, a Stakeholders’ Nutri-Forum Cum Media Conference was conducted in celebration of the 39th Nutrition Month at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol Auditorium on July 30, 2013. This one-day activity commenced with a Media Conference followed by a Nutrition Forum wherein the National Food Authority (NFA) was tasked to present its Iron Fortified Rice (i-rice). Agencies such as the Provincial Health Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Agriculture Office, and the Department of Education – Ilocos Norte Schools Division Office participated in the culminating program which was also attended by Barangay Nutrition Scholars, Barangay Nutrition Councils, Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, and Municipal Nutrition Councils from different municipalities in the province. Apart from presentations of the different agencies, a pledge of commitment by stakeholders (tarpaulin signing) was also conducted. The culminating program was highlighted by the awarding of the Outstanding Municipal Nutrition Action Officer, Outstanding Municipal Nutrition Council, Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholar and Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Council.
Ilocos Norte Provincial Administrative Officer Imelda Valdez talks about the iron-fortified rice (i-rice) during the Nutrition Forum conducted at the Provincial Auditorium, Provincial Capitol, Ilocos Norte in celebration of the 39th Nutrition Month. (Diana Marie G. Agustin).
“Gutom at malnutrisyon, sama – sama nating wakasan!” was the theme for this year’s nutrition month celebration. The celebration was aimed at increasing awareness on hunger issues and actions to miti-
gate hunger and malnutrition, encourage stakeholders to contribute to addressing hunger issues and advocate for stronger political action to end hunger.
NFA all set for National Year of Rice The National Food Authority (NFA) Eastern Pangasinan Provincial Office has shifted full gear in its support to the Rice Self – Sufficiency Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) via aggressive pursuit of its direct and indirect marketing assistance and technology support services to highlight the National Year of Rice (NYR). The National Year of Rice (NYR) is part of government’s bid to achieve rice self-sufficiency beginning 2013. It is a social marketing and advocacy campaign that aims to promote responsible rice consumption for better health and less rice wastage and productive farming through the promotion of efficient rice technologies and inspiring farmers to do better.
With the theme, Sapat na Bigas, Kaya ng Pinas, NFA aims to enjoin producers, consumers and policymakers to help increase rice productivity and reduce rice wastage. Manager Cuaresma stressed that Rice Self-Sufficiency Program could be achieved through massive palay procurement to build up buffer stock to be able to sustain the country’s Food Security requirements. With no importation of rice for the coming years, he said that the province will rely on its own production to serve the food requirement of its population. Turn to page 8
ACROSS THE REGION
Stock Accountable Officers given Orientation/ReOrientation/Re-orientation Seminar
Participants to the Orientation/Re-Orientation Seminar for NFA Stock Accountable Officers listen intently as Resource Persons took their turns in discussing issues concerning good warehousekeeping.
To enable employees holding sensitive positions/functions to stay focused on good warehouse keeping and on their stock accountabilities as well as integrating moral commitment to the vision/mission of the agency was the rationale behind the Orientation/Re-Orientation Seminar for Stock Accountable Officers and prospective Warehouse Supervisors of NFA Region I on June 20-21, 2013 at NFA Staff House and Training Center in Baguio City. Speakers from the Regional Office, COA and guest lecturers took time in instilling the importance of a sound warehouse keeping to the participants. RD Piolito C. Santos led the speakers from the Regional Office where he gave emphasis on the agency’s vision, mission and mandates. The Regional Director also discussed food security as well as some topics on the programs and operations of the agency. On hand to support the Regional Director were: RAO Prudencia B. Roberonta who presented the guidelines in the selection of Warehouse Supervisors/Acting Warehouse Supervisors and Team Leaders; ROO Erlinda E. Balderas who gave an overview on the Existing Guidelines on Warehouse Stocks and MTS Documentation and Reporting System and Warehouse Transactions; RACCT Lolita O. Sanedrin
who presented the Computerized Stock Examination and Tolerable Allowance (TOLA) and Computation of Stock Accountabilities; RSQAO Engr. Eleonor A. Andres who spoke on Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Other Related Concerns; RSEIO Manuel C. Calaowa who presented the Guidelines on the Filing of Criminal and Administrative Cases Against NFA Accountable Officers with Final Shortages. ROO Balderas and RSQAO Andres also talked on Quality and Inventory Management. Commission on Audit (COA) State Auditor IV Remedios G. Movida presented “ARaL” of Stock Accountable Officers while Asst. Regional Director Ma. Elvira M. Martinez handled Other Issues and Concerns on Warehouse Related Operations and Maintenance. Also present as guest lecturer was Internal Auditor Pio Villaces from NFA Central Office.
PHF Operation and Management Training Conducted In support to the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Project Phase III of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), a 3-day Post-Harvest Facility Operations and Management Program was conducted by the National Food Authority Ilocos Norte Branch on July 16-18, 2013 at Brgy. San Guillermo, San Nicolas Ilocos Norte. The training program was attended by officers and members of the Catuguing MPC, San Nicolas Ilocos Norte. It commenced with the presentation of the NFA Thrust and Programs and the operational activities of the Branch by Provincial Manager Beverlyn P. Peralta. Purchasing and Marketing Practices for Palay; Drying Practices; Milling Practices; Records Keeping; Grains Marketing Assurance; Philippine Grains Standardization Program (PGSP); Rice Fortification Program; Parts of Moisture Meter; and Pest Control Administration were the topics discussed. NFA employees were tapped as resource speakers to include: PISO Juan S. Padre, Engineer III Ernesto A. Taylan, Mechanical Plant Supervisor II Edward Leo E. Pascua, Accountant II Jennifer C. Bungubung, Provincial Standard and Quality Assurance Officer Ferdinand S. Macusi, and Pest Control Officer Erwin A. Pascua. Laboratory Hands-on and analyses of palay and rice were also elaborated and explained to the participants to give them the technical know-how of specifications of their palay produce they are delivering to the NFA. The 15 participants expressed their gratitude on the government’s move towards empowering farmers. (Diana Marie G. Agustin) Around 40 participants coming from the Regional Office and the seven (7) Provincial Offices in the Region participated in the training which was a timely undertaking not only for those already fielded as Warehouse Supervisors but also to employees who have the potential to become Warehouse Supervisors/Team Leaders for them to acquire knowledge or be re-oriented on proper storage/warehousing principles and procedures.
ACROSS THE REGION
Western Pangasinan intensifies rice distribution program Western Pangasinan Provincial Manager Rolando S. Rufo announced that the branch has intensified its Rice Distribution Program these lean month season to provide the public a quality but low priced staple. The government rice being distributed to the accredited NFA outlets and sold to the public are newly milled with a price of P 27.00 per kilogram and P 28.00 per kilogram for regular milled rice and well milled rice respectively. Rufo said that there are at least four (4) up to seven (7) NFA outlets accredited in every public market in addition to the community based outlets strategically located in the most populated areas where low income families reside. In relation to this, the Provincial and Monitoring Team is active and vigilant in the price and supply monitoring of both NFA and commercial rice. The team, he said, is tasked to validate the stocks being sold, issued, and withdrawn from NFA warehouses to particular market outlets and to check the quality of NFA rice if it conforms with the kind of variety issued. Rufo also assured the public that the availability and accessibility of good quality rice in the province is sufficient even when calamity occurs.
Provincial Manager Cecilia A. Concubierta of Benguet Provincial Office talks with Hon. Jack I. Dulnuan, Board Member of the Province of Benguet, on the latterâ€™s resolution seeking for the establishment of a new NFA warehouse in La Trinidad, Benguet. (Jennifer C. Paraton).
Benguet Dad seeks establishment of a new warehouse in La Trinidad A newly elected Board Member of the Province of Benguet seeks to establish an NFA warehouse to cater to the thirteen towns of the province. Board Member Jack I. Dulnuan, in a meeting with Provincial Manager Cecilia A. Concubierta, said that the establishment of a warehouse in the province will help reduce the costs of transportation and handling by the retailers. He said that it is the clamor of the constituents to have an NFA warehouse in the locality to ensure accessibility of NFA rice. Dulnuan added that he has filed a resolution in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for the said project. PM Concubierta on her part said that the move is a FOOD FOCUS
welcome development for the NFA who she said has been scouting for a possible area to build a warehouse in Benguet since 2005. She, however said that the plan did not materialized due to non-conformity to the required specifications and terms by either NFA or the owner of the lot. Concubierta asked BM Dulnuan to assist the NFA to scout for a possible area to build an NFA warehouse and gave assurance that the agency would work with the LGU to achieve said goal. At present, Benguet province is being served by two (2) NFA warehouses located in Baguio City catering to the thirteen municipalities and the City of Baguio. August 2013
ACROSS THE REGION
Changing of Guard. Dir. Piolito C. Santos (left) and Dir. Carlito G. Co shake hands after the former formally turned-over the stewardship of NFA Region I to Dir. Co on July 10, 2013. Dir. Carlito G. Co explains to officers and members of PFAC Eastern Pangasinan the guidelines in the issuance of FAIR allocation as the latter sought an audience with him to clarify issues regarding the program.
La Union Provincial Office employees led by Provincial Manager Nicanor S. Rosario listens as Dir. Violeta Nipal-Mendoza explains to them the result of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) validation. La Union PO got a final numerical rating of 88.54 Provincial Manager Ramon B.Cuaresma led employees of percent. Eastern Pangasinan Provincial Office in a tree planting activity. Also in photo is the provinceâ€™s PFAC Chairperson Bilmario Cordero. (Mil Joy Melendez).
Employees of Ilocos Sur Provincial Office strategizes (left photo) then tried to outdo each other during one of their group games as part of their Team Building activity held at Santiago Cove, Santiago, Ilocos Sur. (Elizabeth T. Kai).
ACROSS THE REGION
Pangasinan SP approves Rice Loan MOA with NFA by: Chona DG Maramba
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Pangasinan unanimously approved, on motion of Board Member Danilo C. Uy, during its 1st Regular Session on July 8, 2013, Resolution No. 291-2013 which authorizes Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. to enter into a Rice Loan Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the National Food Authority (NFA). Representing the NFA were Provincial Manager Rolando S. Rufo of Western Pangasinan and Asst. Provincial Manager Ligaya M. Apolinario of Eastern Pangasinan. Rufo, upon the request of Board Member Alfonso C. Bince, Jr. stood on the podium and apprise the Board on the terms and conditions of the MOA. He also assured that the province has sufficient rice
Western Pangasinan Provincial Manager Rolando S. Rufo takes the podium as he answers questions from Board Member Alfonso C. Bince, Jr. regarding the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Local Government Units (LGUs) during the 1st Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Pangasinan. (Chona DG Maramba).
stocks to meet the needs of the province and is ready to respond when calamity occurs. Both PM Rufo and APM Apoli-
NFA ready to respond to all needs during calamities by Mil Joy Melendez Binalonan, Pangasinan – The National Food Authority (NFA) led by its Manager Ramon B. Cuaresma has given instructions to its personnel to make necessary preparations in view of the onset of the rainy season when natural calamities are expected. All warehouse supervisors were instructed to be on their post during occurrence of calamities for emergency relief operations and rice withdrawals. NFA warehouses are located in Binalonan, Rosales and Manaoag for rice withdrawals. According to PM Cuaresma, NFA East Pangasinan has sufficient supply of rice stocks these lean months especially for emergency relief operations . NFA East Pangasinan alone has a total of 121,700 bags of rice stocks and 237,600 bags of palay stocks. Based on daily rice consump-
tion requirement of 8,580 bags, NFA rice stocks will last up to 14 days period. Moreover, if the branch’s palay stocks will be milled, this will give an equivalent of 154,440 bags of rice ensuring a buffer stock that will last up to 32 days. This is enough to serve the needs of the people of Eastern Pangasinan this lean month and during times of calamities, Cuaresma further informed. In the meantime, Administrator Orlan A. Calayag thru Manager Cuaresma extends his gratitude to all stakeholders especially the farmers, LGUs and the media for their continuous support in all advocacies and rice campaign programs of the agency. Without them, Calayag said that NFA cannot attain its goal to build up its buffer stock.
nario assured that the province has enough rice and said that the agency have stepped up its milling operations to augment food security rice reserves. NFA all set for… from page 4 For the 2nd cropping season, Mgr. Cuaresma said that the food agency expects to procure around 180,000 bags of palay from individual farmers/farmers cooperatives with an estimated production of 3,963,540 bags for Eastern Pangasinan. He added that the procurement target of NFA Binalonan for the year 2013 is 430,000 bags of palay which will serve as buffer stock in the area. The agency’s procurement program not only helps in boosting the buffer stock of the agency but also serves as a ready market for the harvest of the farmers offering them a competitive buying price resulting in higher return of investment for their produce. (Mil Joy Melendez)