PH to import 300,000 metric tons of rice for 'contingency' during coronavirus outbreak

MANILA, Philippines – The  Philippine government is planning to import 300,000 metric tons of rice to ensure efficient supply as millions of residents hunker down to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced the development on Tuesday, March 31, saying the government’s coronavirus task force has sought the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte to go through government-to-government arrangements. 

Nograles said the Department of Agriculture (DA) was also reaching out to Southeast Asian countries for a possible deal. Rice, he added, would be purchased by the Philippine International Trading Corporation. 

The Cabinet Secretary likewise gave assurances once more that the movement of cargo, especially those carrying agriculture and food products, would go unhampered during the duration of the Luzon lockdown which lasts from March 17 until April 12. 

Nograles earlier said various agencies had been tasked to address the delays encountered by cargo trucks transporting goods and raw materials after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors warned of “severe” shortage of meat by April due to deliveries stuck at checkpoints. 

Aside from the DA, the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of the Interior and Local Government also issued circulars stating the movement of cargo should continue unimpeded.  – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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