• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The P25 per kilo rice is now available at the Bigas ng Bayan outlet located at the Capitol managed Food Terminal Market of Occidental Negros in Bacolod City, courtesy of a farmer’s association helped by the provincial government.
In order to accommodate more Negrense families, Pedro Limpangog, president of the Federation of Irrigators’ Associations Central Negros – Bago River Irrigation System (FIACN-BRIS), disclosed Thursday that they are allocating five kilos of rice to be sold per individual.
Limpangog said what they did was also in recognition of the efforts of the provincial government, who hired job order workers to assist them in the production of rice, in consonance with its rice sufficiency program.
The launching of the Bigas ng Bayan outlet established at the FTMON in Bacolod City, was flooded yesterday with customers, also attended by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “ Albee” Benitez, among others.
Despite the low yield in rice production, Limpangog said they decided to allocate a certain percentage of their produced rice to help their fellow Negrenses who are enduring high prices of rice.
This is our way of repaying the help of the provincial government, he stressed.
FIACN-BRIS, which has northern and southern districts in areas of Bacolod, Murcia, Bago City, Valladolid, Pulupandan, San Enrique and La Carlota, is composed of 44 irrigators’ associations.
Citing their good track record, Lacson said, the provincial government of Negros Occidental, hired job order workers (JOs) who are also farmers, to help the rice farmers in central Negros which were badly affected by flashfloods, in several occasions, without any expectations.
Lacson said the JOs were paid P12,000 a month to plant rice and operate equipment and machinery to assist rice farmers badly affected by natural calamities, especially flooding.
To his surprise, Lacson said he was recently informed by the FIACN-BRIS that they are allocating 10 percent of their rice production to sell to the public at P25 per kilo.
FIACN-BRIS initially sold rice at P25 per kilo to 455 individuals in Bacolod City on Thursday.
Lacson said the selling of rice at P25 per kilo is subject to availability of supply.
He also said that the provincial government is willing to assist other farmer’s associations who have good track records, duplicating similar endeavors.
If it can be sustainable, the program will be continued, and other farmers groups will be tapped, the governor said.
Benitez, who also thanked the rice farmers for their generosity, said he had a discussion with the regional office of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas on how to continue the program at the farmer’s level.*