600 metric tons of imported rice arrive in Legazpi

Legazpi City
Legazpi City
LEGAZPI CITY--Some 120,000 bags or 6,000 metric tons of imported rice from Vietnam arrived at the Port of Legazpi on Saturday and are now being unloaded by port workers, the National Food Authority (NFA) regional office here said today.

Nelsie Alcantara, NFA spokesperson, said the rice shipment consigned to the NFA in Bicol was brought in by the MV Vinh An, a Vietnamese cargo vessel that docked at the Legazpi Port on Saturday.

Alcantara said the unloading of the 120,000 bags of 50-kilogram white Vietnam rice each started only Monday because the cargo officer of the vessel refused to unload the shipment due to the bad weather prevailing during the past two days.

She said she has no idea on how much the price of imported rice is.

The NFA official, however, said NFA Bicol sells the commodity to accredited retailers at P1,250 per bag for regular milled rice while the well milled rice is sold at P1,800 per bag.

Alcantara said the shipment will go straight to the NFA warehouse here upon unloading, after which the 120,000 bags will be allocated to the provinces.

She said the provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate will get 24,000 bags each; Albay, 22,000 bags; Camarines Sur, 20,000; Sorsogon and Camarines Norte, 15,000 bags each.

She said the 120,000 bags of imported rice is part of the government's rice imports from Vietnam in 2013.

Bicol had been allocated 600,000 bags last year.

Salvador Ruivivar, Bureau of Customs operation chief, said in an interview that after a thorough examination of the import documents presented by the shipper, customs examiners found the documents “perfectly in order.”

For this reason, the BOC has issued the corresponding permit to discharge and special permit to transport.

Ruivivar said unloading of the shipment would take five to six days depending on the weather, as rice cargo will not be unloaded when it is raining.

In the 2013 rice importation, the NFA limited the bid participants to only two countries, Vietnam and Thailand, both of which had earlier entered into rice supply agreements with the Philippines.

On September 23, 2012, the BOC in Legazpi seized 94,000 bags of imported rice from Vietnam worth P154.5 million on board cargo ship Ming Tuan 68, which is now docked at the Legazpi Port.

The shipment was consigned to the NFA in the absence of import documents.

For this, the BOC was forced to impound the rice merchandise and ground the Ming Tuan, which is still impounded until now because of environmental violations.

The cargo was consigned to the NFA for the account of at least five private importation consignees and several multi-purpose cooperatives.

In August last year, BOC auctioned the 94,000 bags of imported rice wherein a rice trader from Cebu City won the bidding, paying the government P154.5 million for the merchandise.

The Dragon Grains Trading (DGT) owned by Jaime Ang from Cebu City won the bidding by offering the highest bid of P154,566,800.00 over three other qualified bidders that participatedin the auction. (PNA) FGS/MSA/CBD/UTB