Malacañang is still waiting for explanation why the 133,000 sacks of rice imported from Thailand have been infested with rice weevils, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.
“At sa ngayon po ay naghihintay po tayo ng mga kasagutan kung bakit nangyari ito (As of now, we’re waiting for answer why it happened,” Roque said in a radio interview.
Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte knew already what happened to the imported rice which arrived in Subic Bay on August 2.
He said the rice could have been delivered to the market if not of the pests that affected the thousands of sacks of rice inside the ships.
“Hindi po talaga dapat mangyari ito dahil taumbayan po ang nagbayad sa mga inangkat nating bigas na ito na hindi nakakarating sa atin (This should not have really happened because the people paid for this imported rice that did not reach us),” he said.
Roque assured that the Palace will look into the matter since the National Food Authority (NFA) remains under the Office of the President (OP) supervision.
The rice weevil is a stored product pest which attacks several crops, including wheat, rice, and corn.
Meanwhile, Roque said the government will continue to push for the rice tariffication measure to eliminate monopoly in the rice importation.
“Inaasahan natin na kapag mas marami na ang supply (We expect that when there are many supplies, pursuant to the law of supply and demand, ay bababa ang mga halaga (the prices will lower),” Roque said in Palace press briefing on Thursday.
Duterte recently certified as urgent the rice tariffication bill which aims to liberalize the rice imports.