PSWD runs out of rice for disaster operations

Tolentino added the number of rice stocks is based on the carrying capacity of the vessels they commission to bring the supply to the Calamianes. (File photo)

Palawan Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) on Tuesday said they are hoping no disaster will come to the province while the National Food Authority (NFA) still has no rice to set aside for relief operations.

PSWD special operations officer Jessica Bacaltos told Palawan News Tuesday they have now run out of rice intended to sustain the victims of possible calamities that may arise.

“We’re praying na wala munang disaster na umatake muli sa Palawan kasi katulad niyan wala tayong supply ng rice, mahihirapan tayo. Ang ating storage ngayon ay talagang empty, wala talaga as in walang lamang bigas. Ngayon lang talaga [ito nangyari] since itong dito ako sa PSWD way back 1998 pa ako dito.” said Bacaltos.

Bacaltos said the PSWD has three program branches that require sufficient rice stocks. She said they need a constant supply of rice for those intended for calamities, for their two centers which are the Bahay Pag-asa Youth Center and Luwalhati Women’s Center, and for their Public Welfare Program which supports with at least five kilos of rice those citizens hit by misfortune such as hospitalization, fire, or sudden death of a breadwinner.

Bacaltos added there are less than 25 remaining sacks of rice intended for calamities were already borrowed by their Public Welfare Program to support those people coming to their office asking for help.

She said it is the PSWD’s priority to provide food for the people once a calamity such as a typhoon, flash flood or fire hit the province.

“Ang office namin, kami kasi ang frontliner pagdating sa relief. Ang Provincial Social Welfare ang talagang magbibigay ng mga food packs sa mga affected na families ng kung anong calamity ang meron sa province.”

She added both their two centers, the Bahay Pag-asa Youth Center which presently houses 30 male children in conflict with the law, and Luwalhati Women’s Center housing 11 Women in Especially Difficult Circumstances (WEDC), are now buying commercial rice because the NFA has nothing to sell them.

“Actually mayroon na kaming nakaantabay na tseke diyan sa Treasurer’s Office. One time dinala ko na sa NFA, ang rice namin na dapat bilhin doon ay nasa 300 sacks, kaya lang wala silang rice pa sa NFA,” Bacaltos told Palawan News Tuesday.

In a recent interview, NFA Palawan told Palawan News they are due to receive 40,000 sacks of rice this coming June as its share from the government’s 250 metric tons of rice import from Vietnam.

Bacaltos said they are now waiting for the month of June when NFA will receive the rice supply.

“At ngayon mayroon kaming tumatakbong mas malaking P.R. (purchase request) nasa worth four million, at ang equivalent noon ay 2,500 sacks of rice,” said Bacaltos.

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