KORONDAL CITY (MindaNews / 24 Aug) – The National Food Authority (NFA) has suspended five of its accredited rice retailers in South Cotabato province for alleged diverting and hoarding their allocated rice stocks.
Agerico Baquiran, NFA-South Cotabato provincial manager, said Friday he suspended the allocation and accreditation of the erring rice retailers pending an ongoing investigation of their violations.
He did not name the concerned retailers but said they were mainly sanctioned for violating the provisions of the amended Presidential Decree (PD) No. 4 or the NFA Act.
These retailers are based in Koronadal City and in the municipalities of Banga, Surallah and Tantangan, he said.
“The common violation was diversion of allocated stocks that resulted to the unreasonable depletion of supplies,” he said in a media forum.
Baquiran said they documented cases wherein the NFA rice stocks of the concerned accredited retailers suddenly disappeared from the stores.
He said some retailers have also lent or sold their rice allocations to other rice traders and outlets.
The official said they have imposed fines on the five suspended retailers but noted that they could face more sanctions once they complete the investigation.
As of this month, he said the agency has 98 active rice retailers within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
Baquiran said their regulatory and enforcement personnel are regularly monitoring these retailers to prevent possible abuses of their allocated stocks.
Aside from the diversion of supplies, he said they are monitoring the possible adulteration, re-bagging and conversion of NFA rice into commercial stocks.
He said they have tapped the market supervisors of local government units as deputized enforcers for violations of PD No. 4. (MindaNews)