NFA Palawan says the arrival of imported bags of rice may be considered as the "last batch" for the mainland area as long as there is no order yet for a new shipment. (Photo courtesy of NFA-Palawan)

The last shipment of 20,000 imported rice bags has arrived for mainland Palawan, the provincial office of the National Food Authority (NFA) said.

NFA provincial manager Engr. Alwin Uy said Friday they arrived on March 6.

“Naandyan na ngayon, ina-unload na ‘yong 20,000 bags sa pier. Noong March 6 dumating, pang-second day na ng unloading ngayon,” Uy said.

He said the arrival of imported bags of rice may be considered as the “last batch” for the mainland area as long as there is no order yet for a new shipment.

“So far, ‘yan pa lang ang parating namin na pinakahuli. Wala pang panibagong order ng shipment,” he added. The rice bags were imported from Thailand.

In 2018, the NFA had three shipments as supply for the mainland area. The first batch of 20,000 bags of rice arrived on July 22, 2018, followed on September 23 and the third on December 24.

Uy said as of the moment, they have no stocks to send to the island municipalities because they are saving on expenses and there is still no warehouse where they could be stored.

“Sa ngayon ang island municipalities natin, doon sa parte ng Calamianes, wala na tayong mapadalang stocks doon. Una syempre ang pagtitipid ng NFA kasi ‘yong expenses natin ng shipment… actually, ‘yong una ay ‘yong security ng stocks natin kasi wala tayong warehouse na makuha,” he added.

Coron had received its rice bags on August 28, 2018, for the towns of Busuanga, Culion, and Linapacan.

Uy said the agency will not send supplies for the meantime unless a warehouse in Coron is found.

He added that this is also the situation in other island towns nationwide due to the cost-cutting of the agency.

“Hindi na muna magpapadala until such time na makakuha tayo ng warehouse na pwedeng upahan pero sa ngayon, nationwide, halos ‘yong mga island na ganoon hindi na muna namin mapadadalhan ng bigas dahil una sa cost-cutting namin,” he pointed out.

Uy said the construction of the planned warehouse in Coron has not yet started.

He said that according to his understanding, the construction might start this March or in April because the first contractor did not pursue the project anymore.

NFA said the private individual who owns the land where the warehouse will be constructed has already pledged to let the agency rent the warehouse. Its construction will run for five to seven months.

“Actually, noong pumunta ako doon, hindi pa nauumpisahan. Ang pagkakaintindi ko March or April pa siya makaka-start dahil yong nakuha na contractor ay nag-backout dahil wala ngang project na iba so lugi siya kung gagawin nya yong warehouse,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.