EDITORIAL

The soul of our nation is now restless due to the weevil [bokbok] infestation of the imported rice that we bought from importing Southeast Asian countries. The public is agitated by the fiasco because of a government reckless statement that a rice infested with weevil is a normal occurring thing in the rice purchase.

From the point of view of the local officials of the National Food Authority in Bicol and in some parts of the country that is normal. Instead of making a prudent and cautious public statement, they became reckless in making their judgement.

The mere trace of weevil infestation on our national staple particularly those imported grains, ts normal to create a national outrage because of its compromises international quarantine standards.
The 186,000 bags of rice from Thailand who is still on board a cargo ship in Tabaco City are currently undergoing fumigation procedure after weevil bugs called “bukbok” were discovered is the latest example of this alarm.

The discovery of rice infested from Thailand in the Port of Tabaco last week is a legitimate national issue as weevils are classified as the pest on foods, particularly on the rice. This discovery calls for a resolute action to address on the infestation as it will create an undue advantage on the government procurement program from an international supplier.

When a grain is infested, the quality of that grain will be jeopardized as the grains will be a substandard food as it is infested.

A national concern must focus on the pest control and management to save our purchased rice from the ravages of infestations and deterioration. The Department of Agriculture, National Food Authority including the Bureau of Customs should have a common stand and aligned moves in safeguarding the safety of our food supply in imposing a high standards of sanitation  on every wharehouse that is being used in storing the staple grains that is free from all forms of infestation before it reaches the markets.

The probability of the infestation of weevils is high because of the unison statement coming out from certain officials from the NFA that its normal is a poisonous statement and illogical as far as food quality and food hygiene are concerns. This is tantamount to abandoning the strict adherence to the food sanitation standard set by our government.

As these statement from the NFA officials using the word “NORMAL” are being carried by media outfits – the state agencies concerns are lacking assertiveness in rallying behind the safety standards of our staple grains.

Assertiveness is a national duty as other food-exporting countries are too restrictive and protective on imported products-particularly agriculture products, why can’t we?

The rice importation was a government program in order to ensure the market supply that would assuage national concern on the demand and supply in the market. But if we cannot make our definite stand on this fiasco, we will lose our imported rice to the weevils as we will continue drifting to the vast sea of inflation as the price of rice per kilo in the local market will sour as the local market is supplied with an inferior imported rice from Thailand.