Saturday, January 11, 2014
The National Food Authority in Central Luzon made assurance of a sufficient supply of rice for 2014 with the arrival earlier this month of the region's imported rice allocation at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) port.
Around 500,000 bags (25,000 MT) of Vietnam rice arrived last week via the vessel MV Voge Fiesta. Another vessel, MV Vinh Phuoc shall arrive later this month carrying some 225,000 bags (11,250 MT) of Vietnam rice. Of the total volume of 725,000 bags, region 2 shall be allocated 200,000 bags while the provinces of Central Luzon shall receive 525,000 bags.
ZUBIC, Zambales-According to NFA-Region 3 Director Amadeo De Guzman, the imported rice from Vietnam is part of the 500,000 metric tons additional imported rice sought by the agency through the government-to-government import scheme.
The Vietnam rice is meant to augment the current rice stocks which was badly affected due to the successive calamities that hit the country in 2013. "It will augment the NFA's food security buffer stocks which was depleted due to the abnormally huge requirement for relief operations after the devastation caused by typhoon Santi and super typhoon Yolanda last year," Dir. De Guzman said.
Dir. De Guzman also said that the rice importation along with the planned aggressive palay procurement of the agency will build enough rice stocks to address the region's rice consumption for this year.
De Guzman further stressed that the agency's rice stocks are all of highest quality because they regularly conduct monitoring of their stocks based on the required regulations and standards.
"Our current policy is that we do not store rice for more than (6) months, therefore I am assuring the consuming public that our present inventory of local rice stocks, which were recently milled using our newly-procured palay, are all of good quality. The same goes for the imported rice, since the stocks need to pass NFA's quality standards," De Guzman added.
BONGABON, Nueva Ecija – Military and local officials have pressed for the return of an Army brigade in this town amid the clamor by concerned citizens and peace advocates who expressed fears its continued absence could trigger the resurgence of the New People’s Army in the province and two adjoining provinces.
Mayor Allan Xystus Gamilla said negotiations to relocate the headquarters of the 702nd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Calaanan here are on-going.
Gamilla said Gen. Vic Castro, 702nd IB commander, has been talking with other military officials to effect the transfer of the brigade headquarters from Binmaley, Pangasinan back to Calaanan, where it was based for 25 years.
“Talks are on-going and on our end, we are also negotiating with the owner of the land where the former brigade headquarters used to stand to have him donate a parcel of his land for this purpose,” he said.
The brigade headquarters were set up in 1987 in Calaanan – some eight kilometers from the town proper - through a donation made by Navy Captain Rosendo Herrera. But the brigade relocated in Binmaley in 2012 after Herrera bared plans to sell the land housing the brigade to prospective buyers.
The brigade was replaced by a 74-man 56th Infantry Battalion formerly stationed in Baler, Aurora and a reconnaissance company from the 7th Infantry Division based in
Gamilla said the municipal government is also negotiating with Herrera to donate two hectares of the four-hectare area for the planned return of the brigade headquarters. He said the much smaller 56th IB does not have enough manpower to cope with internal security threats.
“Besides, their lean force of only 74 men are even farmed out to different areas,” he said.
Gamilla said that since the 702nd brigade pulled out its forces, this created a big impact in the community, particularly as it used to control the tri-boundaries of Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya and this province, which used to be known strongholds.
He recalled that when Armed Forces of the
Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista was still its brigade commander, the
three provinces were cleared of NPA presence. But when the brigade pulled out
its troops and moved its base to Pangasinan, they have noticed an increase in
rebel activities in these areas.
In 2012, Gamilla’s mother, former three-term mayor Amelia Gamilla, objected to the transfer of the Army camp and appealed to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Bautista to order it returned.
She said the return of the 702nd IB has been the popular clamor not only of the people of her town but also in nearby areas, particularly with the spate of incidents involving rebels, including the burning of heavy equipment in Barangay Villa, which also led to the death of an employee of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The elder Gamilla said Gazmin assured her he would talk to Herrera and try to convince him not to sell the land.
She said that when Maj. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. became commanding general of the 7th ID, the brigade was suddenly transferred and its forces pulled out of the town.
Catapang has since been named commanding general of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) based in
in Tarlac. Camp Aquino
The Gamillas said the brigade has helped the municipality and nearby towns and provinces not only to become successful in the counter-insurgency operations and in the maintenance of peace and order but also in forest protection and community service. - Manny Galvez
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