The National Food Authority will meet with rice retailers in Negros Occidental Friday to explain the new guidelines set by the Department of Agriculture on how to display and label rice varieties sold in the market.
NFA Provincial Manager Frisco Canoy said yesterday that they already received a copy of the memorandum from the DA central office on the guidelines on displaying and labeling rice varieties sold in retail stores in the province, to help pull down prices.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in his recent visit to Bacolod and Bago that the DA will set a policy of categorizing rice varieties into regular-milled, well-milled, and special rice.
He said that the labeling will help consumers so that they will not be confused on the perceived quality of rice just because of fancy names.
Canoy said they will disseminate the information to Neg. Occ. rice retailers in a meeting Friday and they expect that stores will implement the guidelines immediately.
Canoy said that NFA-Neg. Occ. is still waiting for the guidelines on suggested retail prices (SRPs) for rice, and assured that they will implement it as soon as possible.
He also reported that the imported rice for Negros Occidental might arrive third to last week of November as the vessel carrying the supply is still in Davao, since the unloading of stocks for the region had been hampered by inclement weather.
The NFA has already distributed all the imported rice stocks to Negrense consumers since the third week of October.
Canoy said they are getting imported rice stocks from Iloilo. Initially, 10,000 bags arrived and had been distributed in the province, while another 5,000 bags are expected this week.
Apart from the continuous distribution of imported rice, Canoy said they also monitored a decrease in the prices of commercial rice.
The supply of commercial rice in Neg. Occ. is still good for 42 days, based on the average rice consumption of Negrenses at 20,600 bags.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways in Western Visayas is reminding farmers not to dry palay and other farm produce on national roads, especially during this harvest season.
Vivian Tan of DPWH-6 said they have reiterated the order to various district engineering offices in the region for strict enforcement and monitoring.
The banning of drying palay and other farm produce on national roads is pursuant to Section 23 of Presidential Decree 17, to safeguard motorists from any accident.
Under the PD, it is unlawful for any person to usurp any portion of a right-of-way or to convert any part of the public highway, bridge, wharf or trail to his own private use.
“Drying of palay and other farm produce causes obstruction on the road and in other areas. There are already recorded accidents because of that. So, we want to ensure the safety of our motorists in our region,” she said.
Tan said they have designated personnel under the maintenance section to focus on the implementation of the order.
“If we receive reports from concerned citizens, we immediately alert our engineers to inspect the area and encourage the persons responsible to remove their palay on the national road,” she said.
A notice of obstruction to the persons responsible for drying palay on roads will be served if they are caught.
Tan added they will impose a fine of not more than P1,000, or an imprisonment not exceeding six months, to those who have committed the offense for the third time.
She also encouraged local government units in the region to take part in the enforcement of the order.
“They have the power to oversee the provincial and municipal roads because we only have jurisdiction on national roads,” she said.
She urged the public, especially farmers, to cooperate to prevent accidents.*MLG with PNA
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