Senator seeks probe into alleged NICA report on looming food crisis

April 14, 2011 12:55 am 

MANILA, April 13 – Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan called on Wednesday for the investigation of the controversial report purportedly released by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) about an alleged looming food shortage in the country.

”This issue is not a joke and too sensitive to be used by the unscrupulous group or individual for their personal interest,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, is filing a resolution calling for an inquiry into the report which was already disowned by the NICA itself.

”If it's true that this issue is being manipulated to drive prices high, then it's a matter that needs our serious attention,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan is working closely with the Department of Agriculture to monitor the situation of the nation's food supply.

Together with the Congressional Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization and the private sector, Pangilinan’s committee and the DA have created a task force whose mandate is to ensure food security.

The task force, named Agriculture and Fisheries 2025 (AF2025), includes all the major players in the food supply chain in the country and aims to provide long-term, sustainable solutions to the various problems that continue to plague the agricultural sector.

"Speculation is one of the problems we've identified and this needs to be addressed. In this particular case, if we find out that it is manufactured and that unscrupulous traders are behind this, then they should be punished,” Pangilinan said.

For his part, Senator Ralph Recto doubted that the report about the looming food crisis would occur this year, citing DA report that could surpass its production goal this year of 17.64 metric tons.

”It’s a good thing we’re talking about it now. Next year, we don’t know if it will happen. Perhaps there will be La Nina or a strong typhoon may hit us,” Recto said.

Recto still feels that the government should prepare to ensure the food security by making necessary investments not necessarily through rice importation.

”That security issues are not only about internal or external threats, it’s also about the stomach (issues). I’m not a fan of importation, you do that only if necessary,” Recto explained. (PNA)

DCT/jfm

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