ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 29 March) — A Vietnamese vessel loaded with rice docked at the Philippine Ports Authority in Iligan City at 6:55 a.m. Sunday carrying 4,722.63 metric tons of rice, but it may be the last while the COVID-19 crisis is ongoing as the Vietnamese government last Tuesday announced it wsa temporarily stopping issuing clearance for rice shipments to ensure food security for its own people.
Vietnam is the country’s biggest supplier of rice, accounting for about 85 percent of the total imports last year.
Medardo Sosobrado, Jr. Acting manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and concurrent station command of the Port Police said the vessel contained some 268,000 sacks of rice from Vietnam with assorted packings to include 100,000 sacks at five kilos each and 168,000 sacks at 25 kilos per sack or a total estimated 4,722.63 metric tons.
The supply of rice will be delivered to a private rice trader in Iligan City, he said.
Earlier, Iligan City Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz said the City Council approved and authorized Mayor Celso Regencia to use 30 million pesos out of its104- million peso calamity funds to purchase the rice that arrived Sunday from Vietnam, for the food subsidy of the city’s indigents.
Vera Cruz said the city has an estimated 60,000 households out of its 350,000 population. The barangay chairs were directed to submit the list to the City Social Welfare Office as reference for the distribution of food packs.
He said they ordered “20,000 sacks of Vietnamesse rice from the trader” for the food packs of the need while the city is under enhanced community quarantine. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)