The Department of Agriculture will provide an additional supply of rice and basic food items for Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Basilan to satisfy the increased demand due to the influx of returning Filipinos and refugees from Sabah.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has instructed concerned DA officials to ensure a steady supply of rice of other basic food items in the three provinces to prevent a shortage and undue increase in prices.
He instructed Administrator Orlan Calayag of the DA’s National Food Authority to sustain the delivery of rice, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and respective local governments units (LGUs).
Sec. Alcala also instructed the DA regional directors in Mindanao to send additional supply of cassava, which also serves as a major staple, to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.
In a report to Sec. Alcala, Calayag said the NFA as of March 9, has delivered an initial 2,200 bags (50 kilos each) to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu (at 1,000 bags each), and 200 bags in Zamboanga City. The DSWD has allotted the rice for Filipino returnees from Sabah.
The NFA is shipping 180 to 250 bags of rice, two to three times a week, to Suu, and the NFA regional office in Davao is ready to ship 50,000 bags to Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Calayag said.
Other NFAl regional offices, particularly in Metro Manila or NCR and Region 6 (Western Visayas), are also set to send additional rice stocks to Zamboanga for delivery to the country’s three southernmost provinces, and cater to the needs of Filipinos returning from Sabah.