BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) here received two notices to vacate its office and warehouse in Marcoville to give way to Victory Liner, one of the country’s biggest bus companies.
NFA Benguet Provincial Manager Cecilia Concubierta, however, said on Thursday, January 21, that they were not informed ahead of time that the lot they are renting from the Philippine National Railway (PNR) had been sold to the bus company.
The contract of lease between NFA central and the PNR for the 600-square-meter property ended on December 31, 2015, Concubierta said. The property is located next to the bus terminal of Victory Liner.
Concubierta said they received notices to vacate from a Victory Liner representative and another from PNR last week. The representatives, however, didn't show official documents, such as Deed of Sale, as proof that the lot was indeed sold.
She also pointed out that the NFA central office in Manila had not been shown any document about the sale of the property.
“You must understand that moving a warehouse full of rice sacks is not easy,” Concubierta said. “Even the documents, we need ample time to move those out.”
More importantly, she said, NFA-Benguet has no place to relocate to. “We need a space as wide as the present office and warehouse is. We also need a parking space for trailers and 10-wheeler trucks to maneuver.”
The Marcoville warehouse has a maximum capacity of 30,000 sacks of rice weighing 50 kilograms each. This is being complimented by its Loakan warehouse with a maximum capacity of 80,000 sacks of rice.
Concubierta explained that the province is considered a critical area when it comes to rice sufficiency during calamities.
“We are even lagging on the required stock of 141,000 sacks of rice at any given time, what more if we lose this warehouse,” Concubierta lamented.
She said the NFA-Benguet had been renting the PNR property for almost 37 years and never lagged in its payments.
“All we ask is for the PNR and the Victory Liner to give us enough time to locate for possible sites and allow us to fulfill our mandate on rice sufficiency,” she said.
A representative of Victory Liner in Baguio, who sought anonymity, said the purchase of the land went through the government's regular process of bidding. – Rappler.com