With the continuing relief operations for the victims of Typhoon Urduja, the National Food Authority (NFA) has released additional rice to local government units (LGUs) and other relief agencies.

According to NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino, around 25,488 bags of rice were given to various agencies and organizations as of today.

After suffering the most damage from flood and landslides during the typhoon, the LGUs of region VIII have already withdrawn 14,776 bags of rice since the start of the typhoon for their relief operations. LGUs from the Bicol region meanwhile have withdrawn 3,436 bags of rice for relief. An additional 7,000 bags was released to DSWD in Region VIII.

Administrator Aquino said that NFA will continue to provide the rice requirements for calamity victims. “In spite of our limited rice inventory, we assure the public that we are doing our best to provide the rice needed for relief operations,” Aquino said.

All NFA managers were also instructed by the Administrator to require LGUs who withdraw rice for their relief operations to submit a list of beneficiaries to make sure that NFA rice releases reach the intended beneficiaries, the victims of the typhoon.

“Whatever stocks we have, we are ready to distribute all of it for calamity victims if necessary. That’s why we want to ensure that these are duly accounted for,” Aquino said.

The administrator also said the NFA offices in areas affected by the typhoon, and those threatened by other upcoming storms will be operational even during the holidays.

"We will make sure that our offices and warehouses in calamity-stricken areas are open to address any requests from LGUs for NFA rice for their affected constituents, even during the holidays. We must make sure that NFA will continue to provide the necessary services even as some of their own employees are victims themselves,” Aquino said.

NFA is currently monitoring the ongoing relief operations through its Operations Center (OPCEN). During calamities, NFA OPCEN is operational, 24 hours a day, to provide quick response to queries and accommodate rice purchases from LGUs and relief institutions who may want to buy NFA rice in cash or credit basis for those with Rice Loan Memorandum of Agreement with NFA

The NFA has standing memorandum of agreements with various relief agencies like Department of Social Welfare and Development, Office of Civil Defense, and local government units (LGUs) which allow them to withdraw rice on credit from the food agency for their relief operation anytime during calamities and emergencies.

"NFA will also continue to monitor the situation and coordinate with PDRRMC, DSWD, LGUs, and other agencies to continue our relief efforts until the situation in the regions affected is back to normal,” Aquino said. (chad)

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